Step Daughter's and Their Hygene

Updated on October 13, 2010
S.G. asks from Tecumseh, OK
11 answers

omg! it's nasty!!! my younger step daughter takes pride that her hair is too dirty for head lice (she was the only one that DIDNT' get headlice when he had our last out break, neither one of them use deoderant regularly (13 and 14) teeth are not brushed regularly, and neither one of them shave because 'it's just to attract men'. I went with them (just them and me) on a girls night out just mommies and daughter's (they invited me along with their mom---THANK GOD she did not show up) and we gave eachother pedi's for the night (not all we did) well, my oldest struggles socially, so i pulled her aside after she did mine, and did her's and OMG i wanted to throw up...not only did her feet STINK (normal when wearing tennies), her toe nails were so long they were CURLING up around her toes, AND she hadn't shaved in probably a month (seriously velcroe-and hairs on her toes were AT LEAST 1' long!
i didn't say anything in front of her, for i didn't want to embarass her for she struggles at it is, but i asked her why she doesn't groom regularly, she said in the winter i don't because no one see's my legs (undertandable, some women don't shave in winter-me personally, every other day) she wore a no sleeve shirt and armpit hairs were just as bad. neither one of them takes pride in how they look, i try to take the "cheerleader" approach to help them with self esteem...

any suggestion's seeing as i'm only step mom i'm OBVIOUSLY limited...but that was just GROSS!

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answers from Orlando on

Is their Mom this way too?

And I just wanted to add that I think the fact that they invited you along shows that you have at least a decent relationship (if not better) with them. I would be glad that someone cared about my personal health & well being. I would be glad to have you as a step Mom.

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answers from Spokane on

WOW! All I can say is that I'm glad you're not my "step" mom. How do you expect your children to grow up learning anything, when you are so judgemental? If these girls were your biological children, would you take such a harsh approach?

There is definitely nothing wrong with being clean and keeping up your appearance. You need to understand that they are still young, and as they grow and mature, they will naturally take an interest in keeping themselves groomed. Oh, and one more thing....You should try to get along with their mother. You will likely be dealing with her for a very long time. It''s much easier to be friendly. Trust me, I know :D


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answers from Erie on

Hygiene does not equal shaved legs and armpits. If I were you, in order to win this battle, I'd let that argument go entirely. Focus on the basic cleanliness they should maintain in order to stay healthy. Ideally, this should be their mother's job, not yours, but if they respect you even a little, it can't hurt to keep insisting they wash regularly while they stay with you. Insist on regular showers, and continually check their nails, just like you would a small child. They are getting these ideas from somewhere, and if you think you can influence them otherwise, keep trying.

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answers from Philadelphia on

There's never an argument when it comes to not smelling and taking a shower. Human beings should be clean! Cleanliness = healthiness. Shaving is a personal choice (I do it every day) but soap and water isn't a choice. Maybe if you went shopping with them to pick out shampoos/soaps they like?

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answers from Baton Rouge on

Trimming toenails, washing hair, brushing teeth, and bathing on a regular basis are health issues. I would insist on those when they are with me.

After puberty sets in, wearing deodorant, while not a health issue, IS a courtesy to other people, especially those with whom you come in close contact.

As far as shaving legs and armpits, I would NOT push that one. It's entirely a personal choice, there is no health issue involved. Some women prefer to be hairy, and they should not be made to feel bad about it. If you're worried about her not getting dates, you should know that some men actually prefer hairy women.

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answers from Detroit on

Can you say something to their dad, and then he can talk to their mom?

I would think that eventually their own friends and other peers will start to say something to them if they don't figure it out on their own - and they may not be so kind about it.

I know where you are coming from, I am a stepmom to teenage boys and I don't agree with a lot of the choices they have made and what their mom has allowed, but I finally decided that it was not my problem - I let their dad handle all of them.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

How often are they with you? Try guiding them to better hygiene. Without criticism or embarrassment. Think you can do that?
That's generally a nasty age for girls and it will pass, then there will be the BOYS to deal with--so be specific with your dreams and prayers! :-)



answers from Chicago on

First- have they had a regular doctor's checkup lately? A word in the doc's ear ahead of time about the problem ( preferably a female doctor so they don't get too embarrassed) could give you some backup in dealing with this issue.

It sounds like their mom must not care, or she would be on top of this! I agree with other posters- you can approach it from a health standpoint, a popularity standpoint, a self-pride standpoint, ... but I think you have to speak up and stay on it, if their mom is not going to help them!

I know you want to be a cheerleader, and bless- but sometimes the 'mom' (or stepmom!) has to come down on the side of 'ok, this is just not acceptable- in our family we are proud of ourselves and take care of ourselves!"

Maybe you can make it fun with regular 'spa' nights- not just mani-pedi stuff, but hair-washing, ear-cleaning, etc. Or do a skin care/facial evening? I sell Mary Kay and if you have a Mary Kay lady near you, you could have her come over and do a special 'teen skin care' class.

Anything to make it seem fun and not like a chore- but seriously, you are a good stepmom for trying to give these girls some guidance!



answers from Los Angeles on

Wow, how are you responding when they say its to attract men? You need to get an idea of their own self image and build on that. If they dont want to shave, trust me their peers will have plenty to say once they take notice. Don't they have to shower at least every other day when they are home or with you? Don't they have periods yet? (ew, that just grossed me out sorry) But they need a lesson on hygeine, talk to them about why its important to keep clean and groomed. I know a family that doesn't shave or wear deodorant but that is their personal belief...keep in mind deodorant has been linked to cancer so if they are ready to pose that to you be prepared. But if they at least bathed daily the other things would be so noticed.



answers from Mobile on

Can antiperspirants or deodorants cause breast cancer?

Articles in the press and on the Internet have warned that underarm antiperspirants (a preparation that reduces underarm sweat) or deodorants (a preparation that destroys or masks unpleasant odors) cause breast cancer (1). The reports have suggested that these products contain harmful substances, which can be absorbed through the skin or enter the body through nicks caused by shaving. Some scientists have also proposed that certain ingredients in underarm antiperspirants or deodorants may be related to breast cancer because they are applied frequently to an area next to the breast (2, 3).

However, researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a part of the National Institutes of Health, are not aware of any conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the subsequent development of breast cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates food, cosmetics, medicines, and medical devices, also does not have any evidence or research data that ingredients in underarm antiperspirants or deodorants cause cancer.


answers from New York on

seems like a delicate situation, but maybe them inviting you was a step in the right direction. Tell them how much fun you had! invite them on other girlie trips shopping, manicures etc. Invite them to a dressy dinner just the 3 of you and make a fuss over how it's fun to get all dolled up once in a while. Maybe they'll be inspired once they see they can dress up for fun and each other NOT to attract men. I assume their mother is like that(no hygeine) Is she?

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