My daughter has always paid attention to her looks, and I suppose that is (hopefully) because of my teaching her to bath daily and make sure she has on some clean underwear! Lately, though, as she has enteredupon entering her teen years, she has become quite slack about her hair and– perhaps the most aggravating to me– are her nails. She seems to keeps them it seems with a continuousconsistently “polished” with polish of cracked and chipped colors. This lack of grooming drives me crazy, and it has become a point of contention between us. How can I get her to go back to her clean and well- presented self?
My dear, all children, at some time, go through a stage where they consciously decide not to bathe or brush teeth. These times usually pass fairly quickly. I completely agree with you about the nails and hair. Cleanliness, as my grandmothers both taught me, is right next to Godliness, therefore keeping yourself clean—at the bare minimum–is a must! As for the polished perfect nail, I agree that a person should either be polished perfectly or not at all. Nothing really makes a person look more unkept than chewed off, hangnail-ridden or mis-manicured nails. The reason that this issue has become so monstrous for you and your daughter (and I suspect that you already know this) is because she knows her habits get on your nerves! It is best to keep a tight lip during these stages of defiance. You can offer to take your daughter with you to the nail salon and see if this approach fixes the problem. It would be a nice outing for you to spend some mother/daughter time together. I would not worry too much over it, though, or make a fuss. Chances are very high that once she realizes how tacky this lack of grooming looks and, more importantly, discovers the opposite sex, she will want to return to her prissy self.
Alisa Murray, aka “Auntie A,” is an a-winning columnist and fine-art photographer.
She holds a BS in Psychology.