teenage daughter refuses to take a shower
My Daughter is 15 years old and refuses to take a shower. When she is told she needs to take a shower after 3 or 4 days without taking one she yells and fights with her dad and I and says I am tired I'll take it in the morning. When the morning comes she has another excuse why she can't take it. Please do you have any advice I can use to help her want to care about herself?
I'd be curious about the reason why she has so little self-esteem that she's willing to neglect her basic hygiene this way. If you're locked into a power struggle with her about showering, you may very well lose that fight. You could try to use some sort of coercion if you have leverage (something she wants) to get her to shower at least every other day or something. But it's not likely to achieve the most important purpose - her caring about herself. It may be that she is depressed. Sometimes kids and teens show more irritability, agitation and oppositional type behavior as signs of depression.
Not showering may also be a way for her to repel people and avoid attention by boys. It may be that she's been hurt in some way, and is trying to not be attractive.
It might be a good idea for her to talk to a therapist. When kids make a positive connection with a therapist, things often change for the better very quickly.
Any activity that can raise her self-esteem would be great to try, but if she's given up on everything, therapy is probably the place to start. You can always tell her you feel she could benefit from talking to a neutral, caring adult, besides her parents, who will hold things in confidence and help her get things off her chest.
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherpist