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Ask Dr. SchwartzAsk Dr. Schwartz:
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

Personal Hygiene

Thu, Dec 10th 2009

Hi, Dr. Schwartz,

We have two children, our oldest is a girl, she just turned 19. Our son is 16 yrs. old. Our daughter moved in with her boyfriend 3 months ago. We didn't want her to move in with him because he has no job and no car. He has a house in a terrible neighborhood where there are violent crimes. Her boyfriend is 23. They have no heat and no hot water. Recently, one of his friends moved in.

Our daughter continues to go to college. She has a scholarship and pays for her books. She is a wonderful girl and we love her to death. She recently came by, we invited her, and she had cat hair all over her coat. We couldn't tell what color her coat was, it was so bad. I tried to tell her how hairy her coat was. We have noticed her personal hygiene has changed tremendously since she has been involved with him. We got into a heated argument about her coat. I told her I could clean the hair off. I told her I was only trying to point out to her that she should take care of herself on the outside as well as the inside. I told her she is a beautiful girl and if she would like to clean up at our house before she left she was welcome. She cried and said they have no heat or hot water. She wears her coat in the house and that is how it gets so furry. She said she can't stand cats.

I asked her if she would wear my robe in his house and that way she could take better care of her coat. She said she would wear the robe. Her shoes had no soles left because they came apart. She wears them hanging hanging by her  toes.

I have tried to buy her shoes but she said she didn't want them. I snuck out and bought her two pairs of tennis shoes while I was picking our son up. When I got back, I showed her the shoes and told her I would save her old beat up shoes in her room. She only agreed after I begged her. I assured her I would keep them safe and not throw them away. I told her she was welcome home anytime. She never came home from a night out and moved in with him.

This guy has had two other girlfriends where similiar situation occured. I spoke to one of the girl's parent. What should I do to get her to realize she needs to take care of her personal hygiene? How can we get her or us to get along with each other? I can't keep my trap shut when I see her looking so used.

Please help. Thanks

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