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How do I get my 13 yo step-daughter to bathe?

Her hair is filthy! I think she just lets the water run and gets her head wet. I have let her pick out her own toiletries. Her mom takes her to a salon. Her grandma has tried being blunt. She is interested in boys already. What else is there?


Asked by Shanna84 at 10:05 AM on Oct. 4, 2010 in Teens (13-17)

Level 24 (18,695 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (11)
  • I too would sit down - politely - try not to put her ON GUARD and ask her why she does not bathe / wash hair daily... She may be developing and be uncomfortable with her body... OR It could be a more serious issue... That's why you need to sit down - maybe even go buy 2 latte's and then go for a walk at a park and really have a 1 on 1 talk.... It might be Nothing- or it could be something. The more Relaxed the Atmosphere is the more Relaxed she will be to let her guard down and talk to you and you talk to her... Most of the time as parents - and we rarely know it - We Talk At Our Kids And They Talk At Us.... Good Luck...

    Answer by emily1230 at 2:06 PM on Oct. 4, 2010

  • Have you talked to her about why she is doing that? I know disney channel and other things like that are pushing kids to take shorter showers to save the earth. I know a child who was doing that so they didn't have time to wash well.

    Answer by seturkey at 10:08 AM on Oct. 4, 2010

  • Tell her its disgusting and not an option. She should know better at that age. If she doesn't bathe then she doesn't go out with friends, or doesn't get tv or computer for so long. If she will be getting punished I bet she'll start cleaning herself better.

    Answer by jnd951999 at 10:09 AM on Oct. 4, 2010

  • You can take away privileges..........whatever is most important to her in the world. Tell her the rules for your home and make it a requirement. Talk it over with her father and sit down with her together. Tell her to bathe or shower with soap and shampoo and you will supervise if needed! Do all of this lovingly and calmly. Best wishes!!

    Answer by elizabr at 10:10 AM on Oct. 4, 2010

  • Okay this is going to sound strange and maybe wrong on some level. However, i have an 11 year old son who does or does not do the same thing. He would shower but not really wash anything. Then we noticed that he was having an issue with some white stuff in his hair and on his scalp...Come to find out it is due to his allergies. Well, i started telling him stories of people who did not wash their hair and how they had to end up going to the hospital to be treated. Well, that seemed to scare the crap out of him and now, he washes it all the time. Heck, he asks me if he can take a shower now....It works. Just gotta get creative without scaring them too bad.......GL

    Answer by gogogirl79 at 10:11 AM on Oct. 4, 2010

  • does her hair smell like the shampoo? is it possible that she is washing her hair, but isn't rinsing well enough? oooor, she could just have really oily hair..... i had that problem when i was in the midst of puberty. i would NOT recommend telling her it's disgusting. even if your don't say SHE is, it implies that. at 13, self esteem is so fragile.

    Answer by gracefulsky at 10:26 AM on Oct. 4, 2010

  • My 14 yo step-son is like this. We make him re-do anything he does badly.

    He will take a 2 min shower and come out... we send him right back in there with full instructions like you would give a 5 yo. "Wash your hair, rinse, wash your body, rinse" He gets irritated saying he knows... and we tell him that if he knows he will do it.

    Same for teeth. If he does a 15 sec teeth brush, not using enough toothpaste. Back he goes to do it again.

    He gets mad, but it seems to be working. He started to do a better job and he angerly says "because if I don't you will make me do it again!"

    Answer by Niki_sd at 10:44 AM on Oct. 4, 2010

  • It sounds like you and her dad and her mom all should sit down with her and talk to her and ask her why she does not want to shower or take baths! It would also be a great idea if you took her to the doctor and have the doctor explain why it is so important on taking a bath or shower!

    Answer by babyboomer1977 at 2:22 PM on Oct. 4, 2010

  • Thanks for all the good advice. Her mother has custody of her and we do not have a good relationship with her. We try talking to her step-father, he is much more receptive. Her dad is afraid to tell her anything because he thinks she won't want to come by us, so he will NOT discipline her at all. I don't feel like it is my responsibility, but it's my house and my rules. She is a pretty girl and she developed at a very young age. (She has dd's.) I'm nervous about having to tell her this!

    Comment by Shanna84 (original poster) at 2:36 PM on Oct. 4, 2010

  • If she's starting to get interested in boys, approach it from that angle. Ask her if she would be interested in a boy who didn't wash properly and how she expects the boys she likes to like her if she doesn't. Then offer to pick out some pretty shampoos and body sprays, shower gels, bath powder.

    Answer by ceallaigh at 10:13 PM on Oct. 4, 2010