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I am having terrible trouble managing my 16yo SD's hygiene issues. My partner is very keen on the softly softly approach, talking to her etc. but this hasn't worked and the issues have been going on since she was around 8 or 9. he won't let me deal with it as he thinks i will be too mean but honestly I am at the end of my tether. I just might yell at her if I tried to talk to her about it as she is being revolting. SHe is a perfectly intelligent 16 yo so I have no idea why this is such an issue and why she behaves like a 5 year old just in relation to this issue.

We have finally got her to shower nearly every day but it doesn't do any good since she never puts her clothes out to be washed. She smells so bad of BO that I can hardly stand to be in the same room as her. When she opens the door to her room (which is so untidy you can hardly open the door) the smell of BO and fish fills our home. I find this really offensive in my own home. I have told my partner he needs to get her to put her clothes in the wash each day - even if he has to go to her room and ask her for them every mornign but he won't do it. He won't let me do it either so she just continues to never have clean clothes. 

Now to her periods, which she has been having for a couple of years now. SHe is constantly bleeding through her clothes and yet refuses to wash out her undies etc. So now she just steals all of mine and destroys them. She has stolen all my bather bottoms and helps herself to my undies when she wants to. Last time I found this out I was so angry - my friend invited me to the pool and I couldn't go as when I went to get bathers I found only bather tops in my drawer. In SD's room i found my bather bums all bloody and foul stashed under the bed along with heaps of pairs of undies and used pads etc... I made my hubby talk to her and pay for new bathers for me. I thought that would make her learn her lesson A while later I spoke to her about it when I thought my undies were going missing again but she lied to my face and told me she didn't do that and she promised she wasn't stashing undies and pads. When I found more of my undies in her room I confronted hubby and he spoke to her about it. She told him they were hers and he believed her. That was over a year ago and it is still happening!

The final straw was last week I bought myself yet another lot of new undies - I'm not much into shopping so this is a big occasion for me. Lo and behold within a week two pairs were missing. I went into her room and found them ruined, along with of course loads of stashed other undies and used pads. Kids are at their mothers right now and returning here on Friday. Please help me with what to do. I have lost patience.

Please, no bleeding heart stories about poor girl, she hasn't been told properly how to manage her periods etc as that is all bull. We have done all that and more. Now she is just being disgusting and she knows better.

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I Think she might be doing this to gain attention !! your partner is right talking to her calmly is the best way to solve it, other ideas would be to maybe buy her girly goodies such as bubble baths set or even a deodorant .. lush has some great smelling soaps too .. hope that helps
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I'd suggest you have her see a therapist.

There is a chance she is depressed.  It can manifest itself in many ways.  Being unkempt is but one.  It may also be a way to attract attention or to show that she's mad about something, perhaps her relationship with her parents and you.

Your partner needs to put his foot down.  It's one thing to have a messy room.  It's another to have blood stained and soiled clothing around.  HE needs to see a therapist as well, and I suggest you go with him.

Something is going on here and you all need some help dealing with it as a family.

Good luck.

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Hey Rmuir,

This may not be something your keen to try considering given all the undies you have already lost to her, but as a final attempt before your pot boils over I'd try buying her a fresh load of underwear a cheap 7 pack from ebay or something, a small bin for her room and some nappy bags and a laundry pop up thing.  Go speak to her saying you thought she may be low on pants as yours keep going missing and if she needs anymore to let you know before helping herself.  Ask her to put her laundry in the basket saying it will help her to keep track of things and suggest she can either bring it to your laundry area once a week, leave it outside her room for you or you'll come and empty it for her.  Ask her to put her pads in the nappy sacks and then into the bin saying it would be helpful if she could empty the contents daily on her way out the house to school on days she is putting the nappy sacks in, but if she forgets you can do this for her, if she has no problem with you invading her privacy and noticing other areas of mess in her room.  I don't mean that badly that your in the wrong I would be saying it in a tone to indicate she is going to have problems and you will be overstepping boundaries and poking in her stuff to keep it tidy.  You may want to get her some nice shower gel and deodorant too saying you saw this while you were getting the other items and thought she may like it. and again if she needs more to let you know

If this does not work after the next month when she has been asked to put the nappy sacks in the bin I'd change tactic and just outright tell her.  My daughter is an untidy little squirt and at times it has got to the point it's not got through so I've returned the favor by leaving all her items on her pillow, she used to leave everything on the bathroom floor, dropped on the stairs for the world to see as you opened the front door, and not through wanting attention pure and simple she is friggin lazy.  I told her it was disgusting and if she continued I'd start tucking them inside her school books so she had the embarrassment of them falling out in school.  I would never have done this, but if you say it with conviction they believe you will.  There is only so long you can tiptoe around an issue.  Yes it will cause tensions if it gets to this point but if it gets an improvement it will be worth it in the long run.

 

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Thank you all for your time to post your responses and ideas. Some of them I've tried but perhaps it's time to revist them....Re the nice shower gels etc. i have tried this and they sit in the kids shower unused along with the shampoo and bar of soap that have lasted for well over a year, despite my constant reminders that they are not in there for show, they actually need to be used to do any good! Have also tried buying her new underwear on a few occasions but it ends up the same as all the rest in a very short space of time. I think the bin/nappy bags idea is a good one and I will definitely give this a go. I also think the therapy is a good idea but unfortunately I will have no hope there. Even if I was to suggest it i would be the worst in the world to my hubby which apparently I already am for complaining about my undies being pinched - how dare I !

I did laugh out loud at the idea of tellling her I'd put the used items in her schoolbooks, I can just imagine her horror at being told that so I will keep that one up my sleeve. Hubby has promised to talk to her again when she comes home this Friday but I hold out zero hope of that doing anything since it hasn't worked so many times already. This kid has not put her clothes including underwear in the wash since I have met her (8 years now), despite being constantly told she must do it. I am 'not allowed' to be a part of the conversations with her so lord knows what he says and how she manages to pull the wool over his eyes....wish me luck!

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Hi rmuir,

What a difficult problem to deal with.  It's interesting I find that this behaviour of hers started (if I am correct) when you entered the family.  Could this be an issue?  How is your relationship with her in general? I don't know the details of how she came to be your step daughter but maybe this has been upsetting for her in some way?  This could point the finger at why she is in the state she is and why your husband supports her perhaps more than her should.  Also, what is the impact of her unhygienic state at school, with her peers, boyfriends?

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Thanks Tinglebell.
I think the behaviour was going on before i came along but was not noticed. My hubby had the 3 kids on his own for 2 years - 2yo, 5yo and 8yo. I think he was so busy working and trying to make ends meet and take care of the kids and being a bloke he just didn't really notice things like hygiene or teach them that they need to change their clothes. It was only when I started doing the washing when we moved in together that I said to him - do your kids ever change their underwear? and he said he didn't know, hadn't noticed. He spoke to them all and told them they needed to do it every day and the other 2 did it religiously ever since. So, the rule of changing clothes started when I came along but the not changing was going on before that....

Generally we get along fine. I haven't got particularly close to the kids as I'm not really a kid person. Their mother was an alcoholic for some years but for the last 5 years or so has been pretty good and she has them 1/2 time. Hubby has spoken with her about the issue and she says she has the same issue at her house - she and SD have a very volatile relationship. THey seem to scream at each other a lot and SD generally gets her own way by doing this. She apparently doesn't shower at all at her mothers and can't be made to but we can at least get her to do it at our house (under sufferance).

Anyway, let's see what happens when hubby talks to her tomorrow about this issue (for the millionth time!)
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Well I guess all things considered, your SD has had a turbulent childhood and broken homes often mess kids up. I think you're doing a fantastic job at trying to handle this difficult situation. Adolescents can be challenging at the best of times! Have you ever sat down with her and very gently,in a non-accusatory fashion just asked her why she doesn't feel the need to care for herself. Again, I'm wondering, have her friends and classmates not picked up on any if this? Does it not embarrass her? Well, let's hope maybe the hubby-talk might help!
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Well here's an update on how it all went....just as i imagined it would! Surprise, surprise. My stepdaughter denied doing it, my hubby stuck up for her and now none of us are talking to one another. Somehow, in the midst of all of this I have become the bad guy. I am the one who has been violated and yet I am the one who has been made out to be the bad one. And because hubby isn't talking to me, the whole lot of them aren't as of course the kids follow his lead (plus SD is very angry with me for 'dobbing' and saying she did something that she vehemently denies!). So, once again I am on the outer and feeling like an outcast in my own home. Yay.

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I'm not sure how long you've been with hubby but now it's ultimatum time.

You and your husband need counseling for a start. SD does as well but I don't see how he'll agree to that if she's not doing anything.

Will the school back you up? If he won't go with you then call Child Protective Services. If she's not showering and has poor hygiene it could be used as a way for him to lose custody, and likely the mother too. I'm sure the SD will thrive in a foster home.

Cruel? Yes it is and it would be a shame if it came to this. Sometimes you have to just do what's best for the child - real parents be damned.
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Thanks medic-dan.

Hubby and i have been together 9 years. We fight a lot about the kids but really not much about anything else as he is a good and loving partner in every aspect except when it comes to the kids.

His constant 'disney dad' attitude drives me mental. He fails to see any faults in his children or their behaviour, and he allows them to do whatever they want because that means they are not complaining and they are not doing what his oldest daughter did, which is go and live full time with the mother. That broke his heart so that's the reason he always sticks up for the kids and sides against me.

But, as i keep constantly reminding him we are a couple. He chose me and he needs to support me. Being a disney dad isn't setting his kids up as future productive adults. They will end up losers like their mother. BUt he doesn't see anything wrong with his behaviour and we just end up arguing when i bring it up. Then I'm the bad guy again.

Counselling...well we tried it. We have actually tried a few counsellors. One sided with him so I didn't like her, and one sided with me so he didn't like her. I wish we could find someone who didn't side with any of us, but just helped us to work through the issues, but it's too expensive to keep on trying them out until we find one that works. We live in a regional area so we don't have a lot of choice, and with his crappy income, it means it's me that has to pay for it.

I wish he would lose custody. He would be upset, but I would be happy....sounds mean doesn't it? However, realistically he hasn't really done enough to warrant that. And he would see it as my fault anyway so that would be the end of our relationship.

I've invested 9 years in the relationship, as has he, and i don't want it to end. But i do want him to support me. Unfortunately i know after 9 years that I just have to put up with the way he is, as I can't change him. I just have to ride it out until the kids leave home.
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I don't want you to end your relationship either but I do want you to support yourself. I know I sound cruel saying this but your SD needs help, bad, and fast! I can't imagine why she'd change when she moves out.

Are you part of the custody chain? I'm serious when I say get CPS involved. Honestly, I'm surprised the school isn't with her hygiene issues. It should be a completely anonymous report and while I don't envy what it involves, it will get his attention and it should get her some help.

Talk to the school. At a minimum she should be evaluated for possible depression.
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I really don't have anything to do with the custody arrangements so all of that isn't really my call.
I can see your point, medic-dan but I would have to say getting CPS involved seems like a step too far to me. I don't know why she is doing what she's doing but I don't really think it's an issue for CPS - I think both her parents and both step parents do the best they can, and this is a girl who is taking advantage of a lack of rules and regulations. To me it seems like pure laziness and a good foot up the bum is what's needed but unfortunately not what she's getting from hubby.

I don't always agree with his parenting methods - I think he's far too soft - but I don't think CPS is the answer for our family. Maybe she has depression, maybe she doesn't. But honestly she knows the difference between right and wrong and she's deliberately choosing the wrong path, which I see as beign the lazy path. She shows no other signs of being depressed but she does show a lot of other signs of being sneaky and lazy which is why I think this is the reason for her behaviour.
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Did your SD ever stop this disgusting behaviour? My SD does this as well and frankly I've had enough. We have been so good to her, chatting and trying to get to the bottom of it but honestly there doesn't seem to be a reason. At least not one that she has any insight about
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I'm so glad you asked for advice on this because I needed some too. It's really awkward to have a conversation about something that is so obvious and common sense to me. Who leaves used tampons and pads in their room. It's disgusting and frustrating. I can't believe I even have to explain this to her!!!
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