Author Topic: Your daughter smells  (Read 11686 times)

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djinnidjream

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Your daughter smells
« on: February 17, 2014, 01:05:15 PM »
Hey everyone,

Is it ok to tell a parent when their child smells?    OK, smell may not be the best description- maybe "reeks to the point of eyes watering" is better.  This little girl "Mary" is part of a group I help run through DD's school and is one of her classmates- they are both age 6-7.  Last week we had a meeting, and you could tell that Mary hadn't bathed, or been bathed for quite a while.  One of the other parents mentioned this same issue at her DD's birthday party which had been a month prior. 

I know that one of the other co-leaders (CL) did say something to the dad when he came to pick her up, and his response was "Why, what did she get into tonight?"  CL told him that it wasn't what she got into, it was that she smelled and her hair is hanging in unwashed clumps.  I was glad she spoke up, I never did find out if she came to school bathed the next day or not.  But is it rude to point this out to someone?  He seemed really oblivious to it -even though he was pretty clean, and so were Mary's older sisters that were at the meeting too.
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esposita

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Re: Your daughter smells
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2014, 01:10:02 PM »
If it has been pointed out to him and it didn't do anything, I don't know that it would help to mention it again.

It might be something medical that they can't do anything about.

doodlemor

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Re: Your daughter smells
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2014, 01:15:52 PM »
That poor, poor little precious child. 

I don't think that this is any longer an etiquette issue, since the father has been informed.  It's hard to think what the home must be like.

I think that someone needs to call Child Protection ASAP, especially if the little girl is home schooled.  I can't imagine why the child's teacher hasn't already reported the situation, unless her parents keep her home.

esposita

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Re: Your daughter smells
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2014, 01:22:44 PM »
That poor, poor little precious child. 

I don't think that this is any longer an etiquette issue, since the father has been informed.  It's hard to think what the home must be like.

I think that someone needs to call Child Protection ASAP, especially if the little girl is home schooled.  I can't imagine why the child's teacher hasn't already reported the situation, unless her parents keep her home.

That is an incredible overreaction. What does homeschooling have to do with anything? The OP said this kid was a classmate of her daughter. You would call CPS before even sitting down and asking if this was because of a condition or a medication this girl was taking? Poor girl indeed if CPS is called in to interview her parents about something that might embarrass her horribly.

bonyk

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Re: Your daughter smells
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2014, 01:25:16 PM »
Does the school have a guidance counselor or nurse?  If not, I would speak to whomever authorized you to run your group at the school and ask for direction.

Lynn2000

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Re: Your daughter smells
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2014, 01:32:37 PM »
I think it's good the co-leader spoke up. It might have been awkward for her, but it seems like the kind of thing someone ought to point out, especially since the parent seemed oblivious at first. I think the co-leader was in a good position to say something, since she was the leader of a group the girl was in and thus her temporary carer for that time. It's a more difficult question if you're just an acquaintance and happen to notice it, but I think when your position involves supervising the child for a certain time, it's more appropriate to mention things like that, like you would mention to the parent if the child had been badly behaved or seemed to be getting ill or something.

As for the girl, it's possible it could be a "no bathing" phase she's going through. Maybe her parents are of the opinion that if they just let it play out, she'll experience negative consequences, like other kids telling her she smells, and thus change her mind on her own.
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ladyknight1

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Re: Your daughter smells
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2014, 01:35:06 PM »
Is there a social worker assigned to the school?

SamiHami

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Re: Your daughter smells
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2014, 01:36:06 PM »
The kid could be like a former friend's child who adamantly refused to bathe. I mean, it got reaaaally bad. Disgustingly bad. But, my FF was not one to put herself out to make her child do what she should. So if the kid refused, her response was "Oh, well, what can I do?"

My response, which may or may not be approved, would have been to take the kid kicking and screaming to the bathroom to clean her up if she did not want to do it herself.

Maybe it's good that I'm not a parent...

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bonyk

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Re: Your daughter smells
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2014, 01:41:11 PM »
That poor, poor little precious child. 

I don't think that this is any longer an etiquette issue, since the father has been informed.  It's hard to think what the home must be like.

I think that someone needs to call Child Protection ASAP, especially if the little girl is home schooled.  I can't imagine why the child's teacher hasn't already reported the situation, unless her parents keep her home.

That is an incredible overreaction. What does homeschooling have to do with anything? The OP said this kid was a classmate of her daughter. You would call CPS before even sitting down and asking if this was because of a condition or a medication this girl was taking? Poor girl indeed if CPS is called in to interview her parents about something that might embarrass her horribly.

I think homeschooling was brought up, because the poster was saying that if the child was in school, it would seem logical that her teacher had already noticed and dealt with the issue.  However, since the child is still dirty, perhaps there is no teacher, and therefore maybe student is homeschooled?

camlan

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Re: Your daughter smells
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2014, 01:53:34 PM »
This is something I would bring up with the teacher or the principal of the school. Most of the time, they won't be able to tell you anything, due to confidentiality rules. But they can usually indicate if they are aware of the issue and working on it. In most states, teacher are mandated reporters for things like child abuse or neglect, so it is possible that the school has already made a report and someone, somewhere, is working on the case.

I would not raise the issue with a parent unless I knew the parent very well. If it was an abuse situation, I'd be concerned about making things worse for the child. This is one instance where I think handing things off to the professionals is called for.
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Mikayla

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Re: Your daughter smells
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2014, 01:55:39 PM »
I think it's pretty clearcut the other child attends school with OP's DD.  Not only did she refer to her as a "classmate", but she also said:  "I never did find out if she came to school bathed the next day or not. "

I don't see how it could be assumed she's home-schooled.

Anyway, I agree with pp's suggesting someone at the school should be told.  If another mom noticed it a month ago, it's clearly not a one-off.

doodlemor

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Re: Your daughter smells
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2014, 02:06:46 PM »
That poor, poor little precious child. 

I don't think that this is any longer an etiquette issue, since the father has been informed.  It's hard to think what the home must be like.

I think that someone needs to call Child Protection ASAP, especially if the little girl is home schooled.  I can't imagine why the child's teacher hasn't already reported the situation, unless her parents keep her home.

That is an incredible overreaction. What does homeschooling have to do with anything? The OP said this kid was a classmate of her daughter. You would call CPS before even sitting down and asking if this was because of a condition or a medication this girl was taking? Poor girl indeed if CPS is called in to interview her parents about something that might embarrass her horribly.

I think homeschooling was brought up, because the poster was saying that if the child was in school, it would seem logical that her teacher had already noticed and dealt with the issue.  However, since the child is still dirty, perhaps there is no teacher, and therefore maybe student is homeschooled?

That was my reaction.  I didn't read the post closely enough to realize that the little girl does attend school. 

I certainly didn't mean to denigrate home schoolers, who work hard to educate their children.  There have been instances on the news, though, where abused children are kept home so that the parents won't be reported. 

Jones

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Re: Your daughter smells
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2014, 02:36:55 PM »
The kid could be like a former friend's child who adamantly refused to bathe. I mean, it got reaaaally bad. Disgustingly bad. But, my FF was not one to put herself out to make her child do what she should. So if the kid refused, her response was "Oh, well, what can I do?"

My response, which may or may not be approved, would have been to take the kid kicking and screaming to the bathroom to clean her up if she did not want to do it herself.

Maybe it's good that I'm not a parent...

My response involved cutting her hair off so  it was less obvious she wouldn't wash it. As she then decided to start washing so that she would be allowed to grow her hair out again, it worked.

Recently in the news there's been a trial for a man who actually did do some cruel things to his stepdaughter, but also was accused of waterboarding her in scrubbing her head in the kitchen sink. Could he have been overly cruel in his scrubbing? Very possible especially when taken in context with other things he did. But, going forward, I would avoid forcible scrubbing and the appearance thereof, as this did set a precedent.

I feel for the kid and her apparently oblivious parents. But, unless I knew the parents myself, or was responsible for her (as a teacher or school counselor), I wouldn't say anything. If I worked with her one on one I'd offer wet wipes for her hands, but I do that with kids anyway, especially in germ season.

sweetonsno

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Re: Your daughter smells
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2014, 02:53:26 PM »
Because both the father and the older siblings were clean, my guess is that this little girl is just refusing to bathe. However, if the hygiene problems continue, I might bring it up with a teacher. No, they probably can't offer you an explanation of the situation. However, they would know whether there was cause for alarm and probably be able to take some form of action, like referring the family to necessary services.

BeagleMommy

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Re: Your daughter smells
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2014, 02:57:08 PM »
See, my first thought would be to find out if the child had a medical issue.  If the answer was no I'd mention to the parents that the little girl smelled.  It may be that the girl is going through the "I don't want to take a bath" phase that some kids go through.

When DS was in preschool they had a class on cleanliness.  When the teacher told the kids that bathing and brushing their teeth was something to help them stay healthy one little boy asked incredulously "You mean EVERY day?!".