How do I get my 12 year old to exercise better personal hygiene?

Crystal - posted on 01/08/2009 ( 45 moms have responded )

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I'm out of reasons here and could use some fresh ideas on this one. I have a 12 year old son who is well into puberty. We have always, always practiced good personal hygiene as a family in general and he has always had to follow the routine of washing face and hands before and after meals, brushing teeth in the mornings and at bedtime, bathing regularly ect. Even before puberty I took him to the store and let him pick his own deodorants, body soaps etc to make it fun for him, we never had a problem until just this year. I have a fantastic relationship with him and this is the only hurdle we are having together right now, He would rather sleep longer than get up and shower, IF I make him get up and do it he often times is not using soap or shampoo, he's not taking the time to use mouthwash, he will wear the same pair of socks for a week, ect. He does care about his appearance especially this year as he is very interested in girls, but I dont think he is hearing me when I am telling him that he stinks! He get's frustrated with me and I am frustrated with him. I have been over the importance of making sure he smells as nice as he looks and he just rolls his eyes and says "ok mom!" I just want my handsome man to smell good!! Any ideas for me? Thanks

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Liz - posted on 01/19/2009

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Jody and Michelle, that is so funny that you mention that, my son does the same thing.  Showers and goes to all the trouble to cover that he is not really soaping!  These kids are a riot.  I would laugh more if it weren't so maddening...

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Denise - posted on 01/26/2009

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I am new to this circle of friends and boy is it nice to know I'm not the only one going through this smelly pre-teen stuff..my son jsut seems to ignore everything I say about bathing and brushing his teeth..He's a great looking young man and I hope soon he'll care about how he smells..Lol



 



 



 



 

Karen - posted on 01/25/2009

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Have you purchased him a nice cologne? Nothing to overpowering! It may be just the thing to help him know what smells nice :-)
And how about breath mints and gum to take to school if he doesn't want to take the time to brush his teeth...again, at least his breath wont' be bad. You could just hand it to him and gently say...."here, since you didn't have time to brush your teeth, hunny".
Building his self-esteem is so important instead of putting him down and keeping the great relationship you have built is the most important part. Hopefully he'll come around!
K.

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I learned that the hard way with my eldest son, who would actually after the fact, say, Mom, you were right, but I had to find out the hard way.  And he did, quite a few times, but you know, he is an amazing 23 year old man, who made very good judgements.  We can only hope that what we taught them early on, will, stay with them in the choices they make.

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I just watched a show on TV and they were discussing pre teens and teens and this subject came up.  The doctor basically said that no matter how much we talk they will not do it.  They will get it fast enough when their peers tell them they smell, it will quickly change!  I know we as parents want to protect them from that but sometimes they have to learn the hard way!

Amber - posted on 01/24/2009

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I am so glad I'm not alone. My boy just doesn't want to shower, I have to fight with him to do it, and again, when he goes in I remind him, soap and shampoo, and when he comes out I nag him until he actually goes back in and uses soap and shampoo. Short of forcing him in there, I don't know what else to do. I want him to WANT to be clean, but he just doesn't seem to care.

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ok...i just think boys are dirty!!! i find that most of the moms that i know that have boys are having the same issue.....my 12 yr old DETESTS taking showers!!! he smells like warmed over crap on a regular basis and his mouth is just a HOT MESS!!!! i swear you can see the GREEN STEAM coming off of his body!!! i cant STRESS more to him the necessity to have proper hygiene!! that SOMEDAY....girls are going to notice how GOD AWFUL he smells.....THIS doesnt phase him!!!!



there are times when i walk into the bathroom and he will have the shower running...... and he will be standing OUTSIDE of the shower.....i force him to brush his teeth (giving him the benefit of the doubt to do it with the bathroom door shut) to find him with the water running, the NO toothbrush on the wet toothbrush....and STILL with the most RANCID breath EVER!!! ( i want to CHOKE HIM!!!) he has the NERVE to tell me he BRUSHED HIS TEETH!!! i swear he thinks i was born yesterday!!!



no matter what i do, no matter how hard i am on him, he LOVES being a sweaty, smelly hot mess!!!

Megg - posted on 01/23/2009

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I really enjoyed reading your post as you had the best and most obvious reason for these reactions , your words were graceful and will help alot of us, thnk u

Megg - posted on 01/23/2009

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MY HUSBAND AND i ENJOYED THIS I APPOLOGIZE AS WE TOO HAVE A 12 YEAR OLD STINKN BOY, LOL



I feel your pain I really do, it was just this year thatI actually had to embarrass him over it, he thinks I am mean but he jumped i and dolls himself up now, without us having to nag as he'd rather do it than hear it from us, GIRLS did help, actually, I cant believe I said that lol), the fact that *******(hename voided out for privacy lol) but the act that she may say something to him about it or gossip with her friends about it.. that pretty much did it, now i am not speaking of emotionally damaging him by ebarrasment but jut put it out there like that maybe... hopefully a lil' helpful. Good Luck, be well

Debbie - posted on 01/23/2009

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I talked to the doc before going to see him with my son for a check up and his doc had a video for him to watch. HEs the cleaniest child i know now. AT least give it a try, you could even try to rent a video .. something along that line.. Oh yeah it helped when i bought my son a new robe , and bed time stuff he would need.

Amy - posted on 01/23/2009

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I am relieved too!  I'm not sure that it's so great to have so much company in having a hard time getting your tween/teen to shower, but it's nice to be able to possibly put our heads together for solutions!  My daughter has a dance tonight, so you can be sure who'll be in the shower tonight before she goes - but the thing is that she'll need it after worse!  There is little else in the world that smells worse than a middle school gym after a 7th grade dance.  God bless the volunteer chaperones.  How do they do it?  Maybe they put Vicks under their noses?!

Natilee - posted on 01/23/2009

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Wow, so happy to know I am not the only one going through this. My son is only 10 but we will go back and fort about showering, brushing his teeth. He will shower and then put on the same dirty clothes......or just will go into the bathroom and runs the shower and come out bone dry. Not sure why kids tend to do this, some boys more than girls. But it really annoys the heck out of me. I know that my post doesn't help to solve your problem, but just know that other moms are feeling your pain.

Michele - posted on 01/19/2009

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LOL yeah....and I am truly thankful at this point that I only have 1 to contend with. GL...

Jennifer - posted on 01/19/2009

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I've had this same problem with my 14 year old daughter. Over the last year she has gotten better and is now showing a little more concern for how she looks/smells...I figure if I just give it a little more time this phase will pass. The problem is my 11 year old daughter is just coming into this stage. Then I have another daughter just 18 months behind her. So I've got to find a way to cope with this stage in their lives until it all passes. Oh and yes they like to get their nails done too. I also find that a little strange. Gotta love those little devils huh...LOL

Priscilla - posted on 01/18/2009

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when you find the answer let me know. I have an 11 yr old daughter who JUST started the puberty process.  No menstral cycle yet, but I DREAD IT!!! its not that i dont want her to grow up but I have to nag her to wash her face to take a shower and so forth.  teens!!!

Michele - posted on 01/18/2009

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Oh my goodness, Jodi...that is too funny. Frustrating too I know.  My son will be in the shower and try to convince me he has used shampoo and I can still smell the sweat...LOL.  once I told him he was busted and that I didin't appreciate his lying...(he tried to tell me he was joking)..now I tell him...wet -everything, shampoo hair completely, soap the body from top to bottom....LOL....."Do I have to?  Can't I just let the water run over me and wash me?"

Jodi - posted on 01/18/2009

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My son is the same way -- he's almost 12 and we have fought this battle for years now.  He will even stand in the bathroom and get his hair wet just to try to prove he has showered!  When I started smelling for shampoo, he would put a little on the top of his head just to fool me.  With all this effort, wouldn't it just be easier to take the shower?  It's good to know he's normal, though.  Hopefully, this all changes when they become interested in girls, right?  I hope so.

June - posted on 01/17/2009

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I think to be honest its when they finally start to realise that there is an opposite sex. Then its  a fight to the bathroom

Cathy - posted on 01/17/2009

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forget it till hes 16 then time will take care of it all of a sudden he will discover the shower and youll never get him out of it in fact youll be the one stinking cos you will never get in the bathroom lol

Renae - posted on 01/17/2009

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I forgot about our daughter when we were talking about this but if she doens't think she "has" to go anywhere for a few days---she won't shower, change her clothes or anything...She sleeps in the same clothes (our son does that too, he sleeps in his clothes).  She's almost 17!  However, if we say we are going to town and she's coming---she has to get everything just right and all her clothes are on the floor in her room because she's been going through them all to find just the "right" outfit.  However, our son doesn't care, he will go out and hop in the car.  I've even had to crack the window because of his smell.  YUK!  We just went to the dentist and he has had such poor dental hygeine for years it is finally catching up to him.  He has many "almost" cavities in between all of his teeth that if he doesn't change his ways will be cavities in 6 months when he goes back.  We shall see!

Liz - posted on 01/16/2009

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O gosh, I completely forgot about that stage! My 17 yo daughter went through that around the age of 10 and it lasted until she was 12.  Since 12, she has gone through a growing obsession.  Currently, she spends over an hour each day on hygiene and primping.  Now we have the opposite problem, how to get her out of the bathroom in time for school!

Liz - posted on 01/16/2009

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HI Crystal,



Boy am I glad you posted this.  I have a 15 yo who is still crawling towards puberty and has had terrible hygiene for a couple of years.  It is just awful.  And his teeth that used to be beautiful are now yellow and getting cavities because he refuses to brush long enough.  Then he wants the dentist to make his teeth white again.  We go to the dentist twice a year and the dentist has really been coming down on him.  I can't believe the way I have to fight with a 15 yo to get him to take care of his hair (no shampoo), use soap and really clean his teeth.  We have more conversations about this and I am a constant task master-which gets very tiresome.  People keep saying that after puberty he will care.  I just hope.  If anyone else has something to share I am open to it and I really sympathize with you Crystal.  Thanks

Laura - posted on 01/15/2009

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I am soooo happy that my son ( almost 11) is the opposite, you gotta pull him out of the shower, he would take 3 a day if we let him! I wouldnt tolerate that anyway even if he tried to not take one or wear the same socks or underwear for more then the day! I showed him this post, and even he said HOW GROSS! Then he reminded me that he needs more Axe Shampoo and hair gel!

Michele - posted on 01/15/2009

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I like your suggestion  Karen  about  tying his video games to brushing his teeth.  I will try that. Thank you.!!  And Rachel you have a great idea....if she showers/ brushes her hair then her nails finish the whole deal.  Maybe treat her to a manicure to  get the whole thing started then  when she does her shower/hair you can spend time together while you do her nails...maybe put on a great video and have a girls time.  My niece is 13 and it is a hassle to get her to shower/ do her hair/ or to keep herself  tidy.  Even though the kids at school have made fun of her...for not doing her hair or wearing make up or smelling nice...it hasn't  made any difference with her...hopefully it will work for others....but who wants to see their daughters or sons humiliated?  So we keep trying...and trying....

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Hee hee! I have 3 girls, ages 17, 15 and 12. Let me say first that this is a normal phase of life. My older girls started becoming aware of their appearances and "odors" around the age of 13 when they magically started taking showers and using deodorant of their own accord. Now, to just get the 12 yo past that point.....



One thing that is sure to bring on the hygiene jump-start is when a peer humiliates them by pointing out their smelliness/greasiness in front of others! Yikes!

Rachel - posted on 01/15/2009

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Ok, most post are about your sons.  I need help with my daughter!



She wont shower or wash her hair.....(GROSS) but wants her nails done????



Only thing I cna come up with is to bribe her to shower & brush her hair then we can talk nails!!  Any ideas???

Karen - posted on 01/14/2009

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Actually one way to fix all this is hook their personal hygiene to use of the computer and video games!

Karen - posted on 01/14/2009

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One big thing in this house and with all my children is the importance of brushing their teeth. They may not want to shower, but they brush their teeth morning and night. good think too cause the girl has braces. They have no fillings! There's a routine in this house and it works well. They shower when we tell them, but wont if we don't!



Boys get really smelly stinky feet about 15, probably cause they don't change their socks! Yuk!

Michele - posted on 01/14/2009

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Wow..no one prepared me for hormones and puberty  with boys...I grew up with 1 brother who was out of the house shortly after I was born....and 5 sisters.  I have never heard of this with any of my nephews....I will ask my sisters...LOL.  Sometimes my son will use deoderant...and he did tell me the other day that he thought he would need to use it every day now...HURRAGH!!  WHOOOPEEEE!  Now if I could just get him to brush his teeth...at least once a day and change his socks/underware.

Bekki - posted on 01/14/2009

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How comforting to know that it's not just my son that smells like a rancid pair of gym socks!  Mine just turned 12 in Sept and it went downhill from there.  It is like pulling teeth to get him to shower, brush his teeth, change his clothes, etc.  I bought the whole mens AXE body line (deoderant, wash, spray) thinking that would help.  And it has a little.  At least when he does shower he comes out of the bathroom smelling pleasant.  And I bought him a Spin-Brush toothbrush.  So even if he does only brush for 30 seconds, it is a more thorough brush than he would have done alone!  And I know that he hasn't used soap or shampoo in months.  I've always made him shower every evening, but the rule was 10 minutes your out!  But now he gets in and plays with his 2 year old brothers tub toys.  And sometimes fights me for one more round of bath-ket-ball :0)

Michele - posted on 01/14/2009

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LOL. .....  just the thought  of the germs was enough to scare him into using deoderant. WTG!  I tried the germ thing with my sons icky teeth... it didn't work...  how sad is that?  I am tempted to find a way of getting the stuff on his teeth analysed so he knows exactly what germs are there and what they can do to him...LOL.

Melissa - posted on 01/14/2009

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My 11year old has started to have a smell to his armpits and refuses to wear deordorant. It must be some sort of admission of something wrong to him, I can't figure it out, Anyway this past weekend it was really stinky and I talked to him about germs and bacteria and that they were making the smell. He has worn deodorant for 4 days in a row so far!

[deleted account]

LOL! I seriously am comforted by these posts! My 11-year old has to be told to shower and he'll wear the same clothes two days in a row after he slept in them even! I was hoping that when he finally became interested in girls that he would realize that he has to clean up - literally!

Karen - posted on 01/14/2009

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This is obviously normal as I have three adult children who were the same, boys and girl and now my stepchildren who are 13 yr old twins, the same stuff. The worst for me is my stepdaughter who doesn't shower even when she has her period, that is really gross. However, she always seems to smell nice because she uses a body cologne. She will even let her hair get greasy rather than voluntary jump in the shower.



We have stepped up to every day showering for both, but neither voluntarily gets into it.

Michele - posted on 01/14/2009

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Wow, sounds like my sons double.  My son is 12 and I also have to nag him or threaten him to change his socks/ underware everyday.   I have told him he needs to brush his teeth more but he only does a half baked job of it.  I tell him his mouth is scummy looking and stinks but  he doesn't seem to care.  He isn't interested in girls yet and I tell him the day is coming when he will and they won't want anything to do with him b/c he smells and looks  icky.  Trying to get him to shower is another battle....



Have you thought of getting your son  to shower the night before?



GL

Sarah - posted on 01/12/2009

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I'm somewhat comforted to know that my son isn't just gross, it's all preteen, teenage boys lol

Renae - posted on 01/12/2009

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Our son is 14, will be 15 in March.  He still struggles in this area...He will wear the same socks, underwear for days.  He does shower every night now but we do still have to remind him.  However, at least now he voluntarily uses shampoo and soap.  He doesn't seem to smell the bad clothes--he plays sports and gives it his all and when he's home from practice you can smell him across the room.  He just doesn't get it.  The Dr. said that because he's been immersed in his own scent that he doesn't smell it.  We cleaned out his whole room (he helped).  Changed the sheets and bedding, deodorized the carpet, etc.  This has seemed to help.  We use febreze in his room daily.  When his olefactory senses get used to the fresh smell--he should begin to smell "himself." 

Rebecca - posted on 01/09/2009

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My son's turning point was when he started getting pimples. He knew all the proper guidelines for good hygiene, but for whatever reason (prob laziness) he just blew it off. Then came the pimples!!! Now he takes it VERY seriously!! LOL!!

Mellissa - posted on 01/09/2009

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I think that a child will naturally begin to handle this him/herself. I have a 12 year old son who also was a piggy and did not want to shower. Here in the past 3 months he has suddenly started to comb his hair, shower, wear cologne, etc. He gets up and voluntarily showers nearly every morning now! I can remember not wanting to bathe or shower....I think it's normal and will work itself out. Obviously, you have to continue to encourage good habits--they'll rub off!

Sarah - posted on 01/09/2009

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I wish I had ideas for you. My son just turned 11, and for the past year it's been a fight about personal hygiene. He comes home and he stinks. His breath is rancid, yet it's a fight. So we have designated nights when he has to shower. Tues, Thurs and Sun. Also, he would wear the same underwear for a week. We made him aware that we knew he wasn't changing his undies, and that unless he started he would be grounded, because that was beyond gross. He is to change his undies everyday. the threat of grounding seemed to work. I think he has started using his deodorant, but, I'm just happy that he has been sticking to the changing his undies and the designated shower days. good luck

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