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4 Bumps

when your child refuses to bathe

What the hell are your supposed to do?
My oldest is 10 and she absolutely refuses to bathe. I only really make them take 2 baths/showers a week unless they get really dirty or sweaty. Then once a week I wash their hair in the sink to make sure it gets really clean. They have school pictures tomorrow so I waited to do their hair tonight. I got the other 3 kids' hair in less than 20 minutes and then they all jumped in the shower to wash their bodies.
But the 10yo threw a tantrum, ran away, refused to lean over the sink, screamed and kicked at me. Then instead of jumping in the shower she filled the dirty tub up and thinks that will get her clean and out of washing her hair. She is always dirty and gross and short of physically forcing her with brute strength to stand over the sink I don't know what to do. She's now grounded all weekend for throwing a fit. She doesn't care if she is dirty or smells.

Answer Question

Asked by justanotherjen at 10:59 PM on Sep. 30, 2010 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 26 (28,174 Credits)
Answers (17)
  • Wow I thought my 13yr old was bad...I wouldnt put up with that my sd has just started with the no bathing thing in the last week and I put a stop to it last night...if talking wasnt enough she knows the next step and it doesnt include me washing her either...or taking things from her or grounding her..I would refuse to speak to her until she bathed or let her sit on the furniture or ride in the car..I would constantly remind her of how fowl she smelled if it took embarassing her in public I would do so..

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:05 PM on Sep. 30, 2010

  • At 10, she needs to bath every day. Tell her that is she is not going to do it herself then you will bathe her like a toddler. She is going to be hitting puberty - if she hasn't already - and BO is going to be a huge issue. I am betting that the embarrasment of Mom physically stripping her and washing her like she is a toddler will only happen 1x and she will get on board with doing it herself.

    Answer by Maureen-MD at 11:06 PM on Sep. 30, 2010

  • Trying making a bath time fun and calm for everyone including yourself. Put in toys or activities that they can do in a bath tub and spend some time with them. I personally think that grounding her for a whole weekend is too long. Did you try giving her a timeout for 10 minutes? She may also need some time to calm down before hand, too. I think that a bath time should be a calm down activity. She may not care about being clean until she is a teenager.

    Answer by Svetlana98usa at 11:08 PM on Sep. 30, 2010

  • Well, i don't know about not speaking to her or embarrassing her in public, but I like the idea of not letting her sit on the furniture or in the car.

    Answer by Adelicious at 11:10 PM on Sep. 30, 2010

  • I told her I would strip her and bathe her like a baby and she said she would rather that then have a shower or get her hair washed in the sink.  She also refuses to use anything but tepid water.

    She really doesn't care.  She doesn't brush her teeth, doesn't brush her hair, never cleans her nails.  They are always black under them.  It's disgusting.  She goes to school with her hair in giant knots sticking up all over, dirty clothes.  She doesn't care at all and never has.  When I instituted the 2 baths a week thing she threw a fit and demanded to know why.


    Comment by justanotherjen (original poster) at 11:10 PM on Sep. 30, 2010

  • The temp of the water makes no difference. As long as she uses soap, let her shower in freezing cold water.

    @Svetlana - really? We are talking about a 10yr old. Time outs and toys in the tub work for 2-4yr olds, but not a 10yr old.

    This is a power struggle and kids can not be allowed to win. MOM has the power and kids are to obey and do as we say. This is an important health and hygeine issue. Plus, she will start losing friends and getting bullied/teased at school for stinking. On top of that, it is a poor reflection on MOM when her teachers and school principal see that Mom is sending the kids to school dirty, smelling and is nasty clothes, then you can bet a call to CPS is coming your way

    Answer by Maureen-MD at 11:14 PM on Sep. 30, 2010

  • Tell her that she can get lice. If she doesn't understand that tell her about how long it takes to get rid of lice .
    Tell her that you niece got lice (make up someone, lol!!) and how it took like 2 months to get rid of those bugs.
    let her know that you were "going to buy"... a care pkg of awesome body shower gels, and after body sprays, and powders, if she would have just shown you she could do 1 bath, just 1.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:17 PM on Sep. 30, 2010

  • If these ultimatums don't seem to be '',doing the trick,''....

    pick out some body washes, a great tasting toothpaste, and some really cool deodorant. Wrap them and put them into a little basket. Make it nice and girly . She should be able to understand ...what nice stuff is like to receive. I'd love that !

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:21 PM on Sep. 30, 2010

  • Is she perhaps feeling inferior in school? Get her a couple of hip outfits, or girly -girl new styles, that everyone wears. she could be seeing things as behind a closed door, comparing herself to better off, or more fortunate girls. It's cruel out there, my mom wouldn't ever get me new things, sometimes I'd just wear the t-shirt and jean style for the norm, (back in the 70's) no uniform.

    by the way , she can get worms from black dirt under nails. Get her a pedicure, and some nice colors to put on her nails.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:25 PM on Sep. 30, 2010

  • A 10yo should shower on their own. My 10yo girl fights to GET IN the shower, but once there we have to tell her to get out or would stay an hour. My 14yo son fights to shower and has gone so far as to go into the bathroom turned on the water and came out, but never got IN the shower. He is lazy and dirty. Honestly we have resorted to embarassing him. If he smells or has bad breath (bc brushing teeth is an arm wrestle)...

    He has finally started doing a better job with hygine bc "If I didn't you would make me do it again... " whatever if I have to send him to shower or brush his teeth over and over until he does it right.. I do.

    Answer by Niki_sd at 11:52 PM on Sep. 30, 2010

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