Dear Annie: My adult daughter recently visited from out of state, and she has developed some odd and off-putting habits. I really don’t mean to judge her, but I’d also like to help her. At the same time, if I said anything, she might run a hundred miles in the opposite direction.
She has stopped showering every day. I’m not sure whether it’s a “save the water” thing or what, but frankly, she smells like the zoo. No deodorant, either. Her clothes are dirty, as well. She has also dropped table manners. She frequently eats with her hands – says it’s what they do in other countries. Her open mouth chews away as she talks, with bits of food spraying all over. She burps freely, and it’s not a health/indigestion issue. Her body language says “relax,” no matter what position she’s in – slumped at the table, reclined on the couch, etc. I think she’s trying to be as earthy as possible. Her husband is very similar, so at least they’re not offending each other. – Judgmental-ish Mom
Dear Judgmental-ish Mom: It sounds as if your flower child has taken on a whole new look and smell, and she wants you and everyone around her to notice it.
It is lovely that she has found a more relaxed state of living, but not at the expense of her own hygiene. The dirty clothing and lack of bathing will eventually catch up with her – perhaps in the form of a rash or sickness, and that would take away from her and her husband’s “relaxed” state. Have an honest and open conversation with her. When you sit down to talk, try not to be critical of every little change she has made.
A sudden lack of hygiene could be a sign of depression. Water your flower child with understanding and compassion and the conversation will go a lot better than it would if you put her down.
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