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When does hygiene / cleanliness issues become unfit parenting?

InstamomInstawhat's picture

I am a new step-parent and have noticed some hygiene issues with my step daughter when she comes home from her mothers. Smelling very poorly, wearing dirty clothes, knitted hair, hasnt showered and hasn't brushed teeth etc. My question is at what point do hygiene issues become neglect or unfit parenting issues?

CLove's picture

That sounds like it should be, but its definitely not. Munchkin Sd11 always "forgets" when she has last showered, still needs to be told to brush her teeth and change her clothes. TBM (Toxic BM) has sent her to our house with no shoes or socks...

I dont think its considered neglectful in court per se.

What are your concerns? As the non-parent you really have no say on her cleanliness at BM's house, only in your own house.

InstamomInstawhat's picture

Oh she definitely forgets at our house also, but we don't allow her to go to school or to her friends or back to her moms without having showered or brushed her teeth or put new clothes on. Custody is 50/50 with one week on and one week off, a few weeks ago I picked her up and had to roll all the windows down in the car she smelled so bad. I asked when she'd last showered and it had been at our house. That's not healthy and I don't want to see her developing any health issues from poor hygiene. I understand that I don't have control over what happens, but my husband certainly does, and he is just as concerned.

CLove's picture

Then it is your DH's responsibility. Unequivocally his. All his. My So's eldest was horrible with hygiene as well. She never brushed her teeth, she left a trail of dirty dishes everywhere and in her room. She smelled bad. Her face was covered in acne and the bathroom was always dirty and messy. She doesnt live with us anymore (turned 18 and graduated). When I cleaned out her old room, I gagged, and tossed my cookies it was so knarley. SO, he didnt have it in him to do it, so I dealt with the nausea, rolled up my sleeves and dived in, with Munchkin SD11 helping.

I was merciless. It is now a pleasant room we all enjoy.

Dirty little kids become feral little kids. It seems very common that broken homes always have what I call "the great divide", where one household has structure, is clean, has rules, and repercussions and the other doesnt have any of these things. What happened to Winona SD18, I came into her life when she was 15 ishy, and her father would provide the structure, have her clean the bathroom, do her dishes, help with dog, clean her room. Her mother, not at all. She is now a dirty adult. Oh well.

How old is SD?

Curious Georgetta's picture

so dad needs to have a talk with his daughter and explain necessary and routine hygiene protocols. He should send basic toiletries back with her to her mom's home for her use

You cannot control what the mom does,but if dad explains the need for hygiene and cleanliness to be a part of her basic routine  maybe she will understand.

Dad should speak to the mom about these issues. The problem cannot be half solved. She needs to be clean all the time, and dad should feel comfortable speaking to the mom about this kind of issue


Evil3's picture

Horrendous hygiene practices seem to be common for poor coddled children of divorce that are Disney parented. What does your SO say about your SD smelling and having knitted hair, etc.?

InstamomInstawhat's picture

He's very concerned. He frequently has age appropriate conversations with her about how important it is to wash up and take care of her teeth and anything else.

Rags's picture

When these issues are repeatedly tolerated then it is a parenting issue. When they are not effectively addressed then it becomes a situation of unfit parenting.

IMHO of course.

sunshinex's picture

This.. I'd have no problem taking my child outside and hosing them down if they refused to shower so I don't see any excuse for a dirty smelly kid lol

InstamomInstawhat's picture

Yeah this is how I feel. No excuse. She's a kid, remembering to shower or not, her mom shouldn't let her out of the house smelling like a zoo.

Rags's picture

If Dawn dishwashing liquid is gentle enough to de-grease baby ducks... it is gentle enough for a kid to bath and wash their clothes with outside dancing under high-ish pressure jet of water. }:)

Multitasking at its finest. Bathing, laundry and watering the lawn all at the same time!!!!!

Veronikat's picture

I'm right there with you. My two step kids ( 6 and 8 ) are still learning about good hygene habits. At our house (we have them 6 days out of 7) I have to constantly remind them and encourage them to brush their teeth, brush their hair, shower because they would much rather play. Thats ok, they are kids. But when they go to bio mom house, she lets them do WHATEVER they like. They return to our house stinky, dirty (paint, flour, slime whatever you can imagine in their hair and even ears!), with tanggled hair and terrible clothes. I feel powerless, my husband tries to remind bio mom over and over again that she must encourage and enforce minimal hygene but she seems too limited to get it done or if she does for a week after countless reminder, she forgets the next week.

I have yet to figure out how to make it work....

Rags's picture

When he was a toddler and young child SS-26 would return from SpermClan visitation stinking like a cess pool, with half inch long finger and toe nails, in a soaking wet pull up, with diaper rash so bad his anus was raw and bleeding when we cleaned him up, and with butt rash so bad he had puss filled welts covering his butt cheeks. He had black goo around his waist, in his arm pits, on the inside of his elbows, behind his knees, and  around his neck.  It was disgusting and I would shake with fury over his condition when he would return home from visitation.  If they had been local I would have seriously considered torching the entire SpermClan in a house fire barbecue for their neglectful torture of my son.

He would leave a healthy clean, well groomed mostly potty trained little boy and come home from SpermLand visitation a nasty, dirty, sickly mess in a pull up that had not been changed in days.

It broke my heart. It also absolutely locked in my commitment to drowning the shallow and polluted end of his gene poll in the toxic cesspool of their existence. We kept there asses bared in court and I made their social, financial, and legal destruction my committed hobby for the duration of the time we lived under the Custody/Visitation/Support CO.

When the pics had no impact with the courts we started taking him to his Pediatrician straight from the airport when we picked him up and we engaged Texas DPS in an attempt to get the Oregon CPS and courts to pull their heads out of their asses and nail those POS peoples asses to the wall.

Start taking your SD to the doctor to get her condition documented and I would suggest that you call the police and CPS to get involved.  Ruin BM's life for her neglectful nasty parenting crap.

I would if I were you.

Good luck.