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Author Topic: The natural state of young kids is impossibly messy, but still  (Read 6577 times)

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Re: The natural state of young kids is impossibly messy, but still
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2013, 01:29:39 PM »
I think that your mom should make the social worker aware of the issue, and let her handle it. If there are issues with the water being off, laundry unavailable, or if the guy needs a couple more uniforms, the sw would be able to help out in that area.


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Re: The natural state of young kids is impossibly messy, but still
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2013, 02:38:55 PM »
This is a tricky one. I would have thought that this might be something more appropriately raised by the Social Worker, but if it's something which your mom needs to do, then my take on it, (Having been in the position of having to have this conversation with people more than once  in the past) my recommendation would be:

- if at all possible, have a private, face-to-face conversation, rather than sending a note. It's much harder to ignore or dismiss a direct conversation, plus you can convey tone, and make it clear that you are sympathetic and looking to help, so you are less likely to be perceived as 'picking on' her.

- She will probably need to be fairly blunt. If the child is dirty and stinky, that's NOT just '2-3 days without a change of clothes', it's more deep searted than that. If the problem has developed gradually the sister may genuinely not notice, so the conversation may need to include something like "I could smell [child] as soon as he walked into my office / I came within 6 feet of him"

- be clear that your are sympathetic to her difficult situation and concerned for her and her brother, and frame it as a concern for the impact on the brother - it's reasonable to raise the fact that her brother is likely to be at risk of  bullying if the issue isn't resolved, for example.

- if possible, speak to the social worker ahead of time about how social services may be able to help,  so your mom is able to give advice/information about what help may be available or where she can go for help. "If you're having problems paying your water bill, SW may be able to help you apply for financial aid / provide support with budgeting / provide access to washing /cleaning facilities" (or whatever they can do)

- on a practical level, does the school have any resources which might help on a practical level? I recall in a similar situation (albeit with an older child) the school my mum worked for was able to give a child some spare shirts and things which came from unclaimed lost property, and he was told that he could use the showers in the gym, so it became possible for him to come to school a bit early, shower and change. If the problem is that sister has limited resources for doing laundry etc then extra clothes would help.

- are there any support groups for young carers which sister could be referred to? Or support / counselling regarding the issues which led to her caring for her brother? If the issue is new, it may be that something has changed in her life, and the hygiene issue is a symptom of that.


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Re: The natural state of young kids is impossibly messy, but still
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2013, 04:50:35 PM »
Thank you so much, Margo!

I'll definitely show her your post and see what she has to say. She and the social worker are close, so I'm sure they've worked together like you've mentioned.

There is a closet filled with donations of uniforms and and hats and gloves, so he's been getting a fresh uniform every so often, but so many of the kids need changes of uniforms throughout the day it's not feasible to keep handing him a fresh one. Also, the retention rate is abysmal (she doesn't see over half of what she gives out again, even with reminders) so she doesn't like giving out clothes unless they're needed (accidents and the like)
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Re: The natural state of young kids is impossibly messy, but still
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2013, 05:52:32 PM »
Our school nurse had this chore fall under her area of responsibility. It's been a number of years, but if I remember correctly a teacher might send a child down to the school nurse to have a chat about personal hygeine. If an elementary age child, she'd do a "I know it's not fun to bath every day, but it's really important that you do. And not only bath with water but make sure you have a good soap handy."  Think of it like the discussion a dental hygenist has with kids and brushing teeth.

She'd then send home a note to the parents saying that she had a discussion with the child on personal hygeine today. She'd state they discussed the need for daily baths with soap and fresh clothing, especially fresh socks and underware daily. And she'd end it with something like "I know it's hard to get kids to be willing to take personal hygeine seriously and her goal was to try and support the parent or guardians current effort."  If the child was starting to get near puberty, she might even discuss that the family look into the child starting to use deodarants "because some kids mature quicker and their glands become operational at an earlier stage."  the hope was that the parent wouldn't take it as a criticism of them but a "I'm hear to support you".

I think your mom's suggested note is good.