13 Year Old Son has bad hygiene habits!!! At WITS END

Gena - posted on 04/17/2010 ( 19 moms have responded )

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My 13 year old son refuses to practice good hygiene. He has been taught all his short life how important it is to keep your body, teeth, etc. CLEAN. He has matured early...He is 6'2" 250 lbs and got body hair last year. His older brother is 17 and has just now gotten the hairy arm pits & legs. My sons face has blackheads & beginning of acne I think. Have gotten it almost cleared up & then he stops his daily regimine. He also does not wash his hair or body as good as I think he should. He has even had to start shaving. He plays football so I realize that sweating contributes to the face problem..He drinks lots of water. Want to take him to dermatologist, but hate to waste money if he won't use products or do as doctor asks..Told him I would start bathing him like I did when he was a baby if he did not start showering better and washing his face better. That seems to have worked for the moment. My father had acne and so did my husband (slightly) when younger. Should I take him to dermotologist or does anyone have any remedies or advice that might help the situation? Would love any feedback

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I suggest trying to have your 17yr old talk to him about taking care of himself. My 12yr old didn't care either, but once his older brother started talking to him about good hygiene and mentioned about the girls, he started doing it. I buy them axe or mens shampoo and soap, they seem to really like that. The most trouble I have with him is brushing well, but he started paying for his cavities and so that has started to work as well.

Thea - posted on 04/17/2010

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I really understand your problem. I have a 14 yr. old young man. We just continually tell him that people judge you on how you look, and if you do not want people to say something about you, you need to take a bath. I work in a middle school. This is a problem that all teen boys go through. Do not fear they do out grow this odd phase in their life. Girls like clean boys!!LOL!

Michele - posted on 06/27/2010

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Don't worry - completely normal. As soon as he starts thinking about girls ALL of that will change and you will be writing a note about how the rest of the family can;t ever use the shower and you are asphixiating from all the AXE sprayed in his room. My son was EXACTLY the same and also played sports. We made an agreement that he should always shower after a game and at least 3 times a week. I told him his room smelled, but also noticed that all of his 13-14 year old friends were oily, sweaty smelly human beings! About the acne - I think you should talk to your pediatrician for advice. Keep his hair short. I promise the cleanliness thing will change - this is not unusual

Kristina - posted on 04/17/2010

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I agree with Thea. I have a 14 y/o boy. He is the sweetest boy you would ever want to meet but just is not interested in showering, shaving, or washing his face. He does it...sometimes. He did it regularly, when he was interested in a girl for awhile. I believe at his age, he has to decide to take care of himself. He is required to shower and be clean for certain occasions. I remind him when it is time tell him often but I am not going to make myself crazy about it. Also I personally would not spend the money on a Dr until I was sure he was certain he was going to follow the regime.

Stacy - posted on 09/21/2010

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I agree with everyone else here...I have 3 boys, and none of them are into hygiene! As a parent, of course you are extremely concerned, but the only thing you can do is provide the materials, and it's up to them to use it. Now, showering is not an option in my house...and it's frustrating, but I have to practically yell at my boys to do it daily. My oldest is getting acne now, and we've had several conversations about face care and what it will look like if he doesn't follow a good regimen. If your son is having more than normal acne, it might be a good idea to see a dermatologist...not only will it help the acne problem, but having a doctor tell him the consequences and showing photos of what will happen if he doesn't use good hygiene for his face might be a better convincer than just you saying it!

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Jacqueline - posted on 08/27/2012

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PLEASE HELP!!!! I am the grandmother of an almost 14 year old girl. I have custody of her. She says she's gay. I have to fight with her every day to take a bath and brush her teeth. Forget about using deodorant unless I put it on her!!!! I can't tell you how many days I ask her if she brushed her teeth and she didn't. She also has curly hair and it never looks combed. That's because she never combs it. It doesn't bother her to go out in public looking like the biggest slob that ever lived. I am so frustrated, you can't imagine. I think this is some type of mental illness.

Candi - posted on 02/28/2011

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My kids are 12, 10, and 5. I make them bathe every night. My son is the 12 year old and he had a problem with his hair always looking oily and had blackeads on his nose despite bathing. We bought ProActive and once he started seeing results, he was more interested in using it like he should. As far as the oily hair, I thought it was hormones until I chaperoned a field trip. Every single girl in his class would walk by him and run their oily little fingers through his hair. I quickly figured out why he likes the long hair. One thing that encouraged him to keep himself clean and his teeth and hair clean was include it in his chore chart. I think personal cleanliness is a chore just like keeping the house in order. If it means rewarding them with money (or bribing) I will do it. lol

Karen - posted on 11/13/2010

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We use ProActive and that seem to really help my son. But you have to stick to at least twice per day, morning and at night right before bed. Ethan swears that it is working for him and I can tell he has gotten some of his confidence back with this, which is what was most important to me.

Nelly - posted on 11/03/2010

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I have 4 kids ages 16,14,12, and 10 I still bathe them daily, its really important to have them all cleaned, so far they haven't complained about me bathing them

Dina - posted on 09/26/2010

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After reading all the comments, I have to say "Thank You!" You took one thing off this already cluttered mind. Again,

"Thank YOU All!"

Jennifer - posted on 09/24/2010

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Ok first of all acne is a part of growing up so stop making him self conscious about it. I found with my daughter that when she stopped with all the "product" for acne it cleared itself up anyways, the "product" was causing the problem to worsen.

It will either be his peers or a girl that gets him to start taking care of himself. those boys in the locker room are ruthless and will tease him about BO. If a girl shows up you will see a whole new kid.

Let him sort through this. By hounding and naggin him you will make him feel self-conscious and his safe place will no longer be safe. If the BO is really bad tease him and send him to the shower.

I raised 1 boy and all his friends went through this in Jr. high. they go through it and some are now the best groomed I've seen.

Yulia - posted on 09/18/2010

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Hello, I am new here, but want to add my 2 cents :). I have now 25 yo step son, 21 yo son and 16 yo son. They all went thought don't care about hygiene phase. It will pass! As long as he knows how it done (seen example in his family), he will be fine.
I also think that may be somehow you worry about his achenes more than he does? Don't make a big deal out of it, you might make he more conscious about it than needed. My 16 yo has the same issue with face, but he doesn't care. So he does use some acne wash, but I can see he is not really concern.
I wouldn't not worry about I wouldn't tell him about it. Once in week? "Does it bother you"?

Jackie - posted on 09/18/2010

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This is all great to hear. I have a 15 year old son who will say he has taken a shower; but all he has done stand and let the water run. He sometimes smells worse coming out then he did going in (lol). He will wash his body (sometimes); but his hair - the only time this gets washed is when I take his head over the sink with shampoo and wash it for him. Honestly, not to make fun of my son; but, he really thinks that deoterant takes the place of showers. I had the same problem with my daughter when they were that age. Thank GOD they outgrew it (LOL)! I suppose there is hope.

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Well, it's good to know I'm not alone! My 13 yo son thinks I'm torturing him with my expectations around cleanliness!! It really is the root of most of our disagreements - this too shall pass, right?!

Maria - posted on 07/10/2010

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The hygiene problem will solve itself - don't spend too much energy worrying about that. The acne can be treated with oral meds(antibiotics) if it is bad enough and it will be easy to remind him daily to take his pill with a meal and you will get good results without all the topical regimen which is harder to keep up. I know because we had same issue with 14 yr old son. His acne is under good control now after 8 weeks of antibiotic but he still does not wash his face or use anything topical.

Leslie - posted on 07/08/2010

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Ann . . Great story! When my daughter was about eleven twelve she had the habit of not bathing, etc. I always told her "you stink, go take a bath." Never did. One day she came home from school and said, "Trisha said I smell". I said, "Well, do you?" That was the last of the stinky armpits.

Eileen - posted on 07/08/2010

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I have a 12yo girl with this problem. She will not wash her hair properly. It is greasy all the time, and she is in puberty. I have threatened to take her into the shower and clean her myself. After reading Ann R.'s response, I think I shall!

Ann - posted on 07/08/2010

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LOL Leslie i love it!!! i had this problem with one of my daughters believe it or not she'd wash her hair 1/2 butt but she would. She did so leaning over the tub..why i have no idea...she wasn't taking a shower...needless to say u can smell a girl when she has that time etc...well i HAD IT!! i took her butt into the bathroom made her strip get in the shower and wash like she normally would...nope wasn't good enough, made her do it again with step by step instructions...note she was crying and screaming all the way..i didn't care i wasn't having it!!!! i gave her chances to improve before i did this...i told her this was it, if she ever didn't take a shower properly again when we told her to i would wash her myself the next time and i would use one of the plastic scratcher pads for dishes.!!! That was the last fight over taking showers the right way let me tell ya...lol

Leslie - posted on 07/08/2010

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This reminds me of my brothers when we were teens. One day my mom was complaining to Dad about how bad the boys stunk. Dear old Dad rolled up his sleeves, grabbed the stinkiest one by the collar, drug him to the bathroom and threw him in the shower, clothes and all. Stood there with the shower door opened until the boy had stripped, showered, and shaved. He followed suit with all the others. After that. No problems with the showering.

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