Newest struggle: Personal Hygiene

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2008
Newest struggle: Personal Hygiene
Mon, 03-15-2010 - 12:44pm

I pop in here from time to time because some of you are "veterans" at this thing, so I'm back for some new advice.

My oldest step-daughter has ADHD and will turn 12 soon. We're starting to struggle with the issue of personal hygiene. We've made some progress with her but we're still not getting through to her on some issues. We question occasionally if she uses soap and shampoo when she showers. We asked her and she says she does but without monitoring her while in the shower, we aren't 100% sure and we aren't about to violate her privacy while she's using the shower. The other issue is with hair brushing. She would rather have her hair tangled and look an absolute mess rather than brushing it. She gets snippy about it when we tell her to brush it but reluctantly does so.

She's reached the stage where she cares (almost too much) about kids liking her. We've explained to her frequently about the necessity of personal hygiene and the importance of keeping clean but it often feels like we're beating our heads against a brick wall. I work in public education and so I've seen first-hand how kids can ostracize fellow classmates who don't practice good personal hygiene.

Can anyone help us out?

  "Aut dosce, aut disce, aut discede"
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 03-18-2010 - 1:35pm

Hair: the obvious solution would seem to be a different haircut. I know when I was around that age, mine couldn't be the extremely long it was before because I had to take so many more showers (puberty) & it was so awful to brush out all the tangles. There's plenty of short girl cuts that look good, and generally eliminating the length helps tons with tangles.

Showering: could always figure out how fast she goes through shampoo, check if the bar of soap is wet, that kind of thing. I mean, does she smell after the shower? If so, another shower would seem necessary. Or deodorant, she's that age.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Mon, 03-15-2010 - 7:24pm

Ugh, showering and toothbrushing. I feel your pain, LOL. My DS is 12 and I'm going through what both you and the PP are going or have gone through.

My remedy is to occasionally (once or twice a week) wash his hair for him while he leans over the laundry sink (or kneels at the side of the tub). The rest of the time he showers on his own with reminders to wash hair really well, rinse really well, and to use the soap.

With the toothbrushing, I've made a rule that there is no screen time until his teeth are cleaned. He loves his screen time so this usually motivates him to get the job done.

Avatar for kathyjoenathan
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Mon, 03-15-2010 - 7:17pm

I thought it was a boy thing LOL.


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2007
Mon, 03-15-2010 - 1:05pm


IS it possible she has a Sensory problem? My DD had problems with the way soap "feels", same with shampoo. She also has allergies , so some soaps and shampoos are out of the question. We finally found one she likes, it's actually a body wash.

The hair brushing might be the same problem, but I solved it by getting DD a haircut that didn't require a lot of care, just brush and go. Cutting hair when she absolutely does not want it cut could work too, Take care of it, or cut it off...that's my rule.

Toothbrushing was our biggest problem, DD cannot stand the taste of toothpaste, so I found

A child may HAVE ADHD, but it is not what they ARE. Never tell a child they ARE ADHD.