J.G. asks from Columbus, OH on May 21, 2008
Helping Teen with Beauty and Hygiene
I currently work with teenagers at my church. One teen in particular is a precious girl, who does wonderfully academically, and is just a great kid in general. However, due to her situation at home, she often wears clothing from the thrift store that would either better suit an old lady, or is completely mismatched. It is often not clean. Her personal hygiene is not too good either. I don't think she showers daily, her fingernails are dirty, hair often uncombed, etc. Unfortunately, she is also frequently bullied at school. While I understand that looks aren't everything, I can't help but think that some of the hygiene and clothing issues are contributing. I want to help her understand the importance of keeping onself well-groomed, and things about health and beauty in general, without making her feel ashamed in the process. I am looking for some creative ideas and possibly a book we could read together that might help address some of these issues. Anyone have any ideas/suggestions?
So What Happened?™
Thanks everyone for your creative ideas and generous offers to help! What I am going to start doing is covering various topics in our Sunday School class. Last Sunday I talked to the girls about our hands...what you can tell about a person by their hands, clean vs. dirty appearance, etc., importance of clean fingernails, etc. They all washed and exfoliated their hands, and then I painted their nails for them. I of course then raved over how great everyone's hands looked, etc. Each week I am going to focus on something different...feet, face, hair, etc. I am even going to have a hairdresser and a female physician from our church talk to the girls and allow them to ask questions, etc. I am also planning on having a friend help me offer her a "makevover" so she can get her hair done, learn to style it, and maybe go to Plato's closet for some stylish outfits. Thanks again...what a great resource of moms out there!
R.N. answers from Columbus on May 22, 2008
I loved hte ideas that were hsared here and the spa day complete with "starter" gift packages is wonderful. Give each girl their own package and have hers include the american girl book. ( require them all to NOT open the packages until home) and like many others give me a size and I will donate, If my daiughters are not the same size, Ihave no problem going toplatos closet and pickung out anice outfit. You can give these to her personally or secret santa-ish you know her better.
My cousins were raised to think they were poor in a filthy disgustingly dirty home with no way to the working bathroom bacause of all the clutter. I rememebr for Christmas my parents took each kid out shopping for a new outfit and lunch. The kids wore those outfits almost every day since it was the only thing they had that was nice. HTey also started taking baths and washing there clothes despite there mothers inability to do so. THis could change her life.
M.O. answers from Cincinnati on May 22, 2008
Try having a Spa Day with her. A lady I work with runs a Cinderella project and she did that with her girls. My sister and I sell spa products and she did this for the girls. The Cinderella girls loved loved loved it. It may even help her appreciate how she feels afterwards and if someone else is telling her about the importance of these things then you don't have to feel guilty for saying anything. If you would like some help with this let me know. There is no cost or obligation.
P.R. answers from Indianapolis on May 22, 2008
You have left out a lot regarding her home life, which you may not know about.
For instance, does she have two parents? How many siblings? If they are a poor family on food stamps remember that soap, etc. are not available with food stamps. Food pantries seldom if ever have soap, toothpaste etc. Few people realize you can brush your teeth with baking soda.
Is there a washing machine available in her home or do they have to pay to use a laundrymat? Few people realize you can "wash" your clothing without soap and adding a little vinegar or lemon juice to the rinse cycle can help remove the musty, sweat, scent from clothing.
I am surprised the school she is attending has not addressed hygeine with her. Even our grade schools here in Danville will address this issue with the children.
If many of her clothes come from "thrift shops" it may be difficult for her to dress in clothing that is up to date and stylish. It may be her clothing comes from donations and people seldom donate such items.
Have a makeup party for the girls in your church group and make part of the party a lesson on good hygiene. Demonstrate how you can clean your nails, etc. without the use of nail files etc., make it a type of game so all of the girls will enjoy it without making her feel singled out. One of the games could be a select an item from a tray that can be used in place of toothpaste, soap, etc.
If you know any Avon, Mary Kay, etc. representatives talk to them about donating products that have been discontinued for your party/this family. Believe me, they have products like shampoo, shower gels, etc. that have been discontinued in stock and will get a tax credit for donating them. It will give them a good home for the no longer saleable items and lessen the clutter in their stock areas. In this way she will be able to get makeup, face creams, shower gels and colognes, shampoos, deordorant etc. and you can give them to her at a special time when gift giving will not look insulting to her, like making them prizes for the most improved look, etc. at your party.
You can always invite her to your home with the request she could help you do some work and talk to her privately about the issue having her help plant a garden, clean out the attic or basement, etc. Her payment could be personnel products and or clothing. Good Will has some nice things very reasonably price. Dollar Tree, $.99, etc. have makeup, soap, shampoo, manicure items, etc. and all are $1.00 each. You could even take her to the store after the work is completed and let her pick out the items she really likes in leiu of paying her cash.
Take up a donation at your church circle for hygiene items, soap, tooth paste, shampoo, detergents etc. and donate them to her and her family.
The public library has a section of books on hygeine you may want to look into.
1 mom found this helpful
B.K. answers from Indianapolis on May 22, 2008
I worked with teenage girls for several years in the criminal justice system and faced this same issue. Many were just never taught about personal hygiene at home. If you work in a group setting it would be a perfect opportunity to have a session on hygiene (separate the boys and girls). There are many organizations that will donate packets of toiletry products if you tell them what you are doing that you could give to everyone in the group. This way she won't feel singled out. I don't know if you know the circumstance of her home life, but there were some kids that I found didn't have running water in their home because they couldn't pay for it. In that case, you should contact your local social services and they will help the family with their "necessary" expenses.
1 mom found this helpful
T.B. answers from Canton on May 22, 2008
A friend of mine is a youth director and was having a similar situation. She decided to have a "spa day". She had a Dr.(friend of hers) Come in to talk to the kids about how important hygene was and brought in soaps and such to "pamper the kids" This way no one was pointed out and they all had fun and learned some essentials at the same time. Hope this helps!
M.B. answers from Cincinnati on May 22, 2008
J....I sell Mary Kay Cosmetics and I would be happy to come and give the group or a few girls a facial and some tips.
Also, you can pick up some books at the library on hygiene and color choices to match your complexion. We could use both at the same time if you would like.
Let me know if that would help you and we could set up a time and date. M. B.
D.S. answers from Cincinnati on May 22, 2008
The best advise I can give you is that you and your church start praying for this girl from the inside out!!!!!!!!! The clothes are not the issue with this girl it's her emotions so PLEASE pray for her emotions, this will help her little by little change her appeareance. Prayer is more powerful than anthing else in this world. If you have a worship team in your church have them interceed in worship for her, worship is the healing power of God!!!!!!!!. I will pray also. God please you and this child and my god give YOU wisdom and disernment on what to say and do or pray for this child in JESUS NAME WE PRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
A.P. answers from Cleveland on May 22, 2008
Dear J., this poor girl. At this age ( whatever teenage year she is in), looks are important. From what you have written, it sounds as if her family cant afford to give her any more. As anouther reader offered, if you can find our her size, I recently cleaned out my closet, and would be happy to give you all I need to get rid of, however, I have one request, not for selfish reasons, but because of my husbands health, he was off work for 9 months, our car was repo'd, and I dont have money to ship them. I would also try to build a special friendship, maybe she will open up a bit to you. Ask her to help you clean up after youth group,just once, then let her know she can do it each week if she wants ( this way you are not singling her out each week.) Also my Church has a program called Josephs Warehouse, where the kids give each week, and they help as many parties as possible, it is completely seperate from the regular fund. They helped us twice while DH was off work. Maybe your Church could offer a few dollars for personal Hygiene items. If you are any where close to me, Middlefield OH, I would be happy to cut and style her hair, as long as it isnt too complicated or too high maintance( I havent done hair proffessionly for MANY years!). My heart goes out to this girl. Let me know if I can help. God Bless You for your work, and for caring about this girl. My personal email is ____@____.com. Please let me know. A.
S.S. answers from South Bend on May 22, 2008
American Girl has a book titled "All About You". You can get it at Bath and body and it covers everything! The cost is $10.
R.B. answers from Toledo on May 22, 2008
If you do approach the subject to her, do it in private. Maybe ask her if she would like to go shopping with you sometime. If her family can't afford clothing, Saver's has very nice clothing (used) that is very reasonably priced and not outdated. Big Lots and Dollar General has reasonably priced makeup as well. She may be very accepting of the help you are willing to offer and not feel ashamed at all. I wish someone would have helped me when I was growing up. I grew up in a poor family and I was screaming inside for someone to help me, I eventually learned on my own, but it would have been nice for someone to come forward and show me the way.
After I posted my response, I was thinking more about this and I wanted to add more to what I already said. What about having her babysit for you to make some extra money? (thats how I bought my own clothes and makeup) Also, have you tried complimenting her on certain qualities that she may have? (you have such pretty hair, have you tried wearing it up/down?) Something to that effect.