Talking with teens about hygiene is always a trial but I have something to help you out!
Living with teens is always fun, and never boring. But sometimes it’s smelly too!
From smelly footwear to sweaty gym clothes! Ew!
Today I am sharing my personal experience with trying to address this situation and how I finally caved, used a cure I said I would NEVER do!
“Did you wash your hands?”
“Did you brush your teeth?”
“Please comb your hair today.”
“When’s the last time you had a shower?”
Does this type of conversation happen in your home?
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It sounds like I might be talking to a younger child doesn’t it? Sorry to disappoint you but this is an ongoing conversation in my house, almost daily. I am talking to my 12 and 14-year-old. That’s right, I still have to remind them to do basic self-care.
I am going to admit it gets more than frustrating. I feel by this age, they should have this covered. We have tried to teach them routines. When they were little it stuck, but as they got older it seems to have flown out the window.
And trying to get them to talk about these things…well, it is hard on both them and me.
On the one hand, it needs to be discussed, I refuse to have smelly gross children walking around, bad enough they want to dress like little homeless children half the time.
On the other, I need to respect the fact that they are hormonal, emotionally fragile and I really don’t want to put them on the spot or embarrass them.
However there are things I wanted them to learn, and things they needed to know! Preferably before they happen. (think periods people-you need to be warned!)
“I will never ____ with my kids!”
Every parent has heard a non-parent say those words above, inserting whatever it is you are currently doing “wrong”. As a new parent, I hated hearing those.
Now I just laugh and think, “Yeah, we’ll see.”
I remember hearing stories how parents gave their children a book instead of talking about puberty. I was determined that wouldn’t be my kids! I will never just give my kids a book on hygiene and walk away!
Failing at Teens and Hygiene:
So to avoid throwing the book at them, I’ve always been one of those parents that used the correct names for all body parts, and never made a big deal out of it. Much to the dismay of family members.
Oh no worries, we taught them safety too. They learned what “privates” were and how to come tell us if anyone tried to touch them inappropriately. The basic things every small child should be taught for their safety.
To not get naked in public-thankfully I didn’t have streakers! You know those kids that strip and run through the yard?
We covered, and reinforced the basics on a regular basis.
So I figured talking one on one about puberty and body changes would be no big deal. There is a saying in my house.
“As soon as you think you have the kids figured out, they change!”
I would go to talk about something simple such as eating healthy, and they would go red-faced and stare at the floor. When asked about it, I was informed I was being embarrassing. Someone explain to me how green leafy veggies are embarrassing??
I tried everything.
One on one time.
Telling my story.
I kept the lines of communication open, “If you have any questions, let me know.”
Nothing. They shut down and shut up. Despite all my sincere efforts to reach out, and open up their little hearts, nothing was getting through. There was no close bonding, and no heart to hearts.
Solution for Pre-teen Daughter:
Then I remembered I have two bookworms!
So finally, I resorted to searching for a book. You know, doing that thing that I was never going to do…
For my daughter, I found the best book for her possible!
It’s by American Girl called The Care & Keeping of You. I got the younger girls version from the library. She devoured the book! It is colorful, easy to read, clean and informative. What I love about it is it talks about everything!
It starts off by telling them they aren’t alone in having questions. Then it covers topics like bad breath, bra types, looking after your hair, pimples, and periods.
After reading this book, she started brushing her hair on her own! No nagging! She asked for a certain type of brush. I was amazed!
I ended up buying the second one for her, called The Care and Keeping of You 2
This one continues on talking about the changes in your body, what to expect of your emotional side, how to handle stress and make friends.
It also covers eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercise. The need to look after your body in a healthy way-promoting good body image!
It also covers things like pads, tampons, and pimples. I love that it has the glossary at the back for word definitions (sorry that’s the homeschooler in me, I love words!) So they don’t have to wonder what words such as UTI are or TSS.
Let’s just say I am so thankful for this book. It really opened my daughter up to having conversations with me.
Solution for a Teenage Son:
Do you have more than one child? Are they similar or completely different?
My two are like night and day.
So after finding the perfect book for her, I began the search for the perfect book for him. I wanted one like her’s.
After several borrowed books from the library that were not at all what I wanted-I should say many, many, many books that I did not want. I almost gave up but then I found one through Amazon.ca Reviews.
It is called: The Boy’s Body Book: Everything You Need To Know For Growing Up YOU
This book is chock full of helpful information, it has 8 chapters and covers many topics. It presents them in a colorful, fact-filled and fun away. The writing is in a way boys can understand easily.
Some topics covered are how you need to feed and care for your body, how to get better sleep, how to handle stress, along with things such as moving, and divorce.
It also covers body changes and how to care for them. It even covers your first shave and looking after your teeth. It covers pimples, hormones, and emotional changes.
What this book has that her’s didn’t is a chapter on how to take care of parents. The chapter covers what to do if you feel like arguing, how to ask for help if you are in trouble, and what parents want from their children.
Another chapter is how to build a relationship with your siblings, how to get along, and how to help each other out.
I’d tell you more but I just got informed, “Mom, you know that book is JUST for boys only?” Apparently it says that, so I had to shut it and give it back.
Before I did, I noticed it too has a Q&A and more resources at the back for additional information on things such as bullying and getting good grades.
I would love to say that this book opened my son up to heart warming conversations, but I’d be lying.
Nope, still nothing. Completely opposite from his sister.
But when a discussion came up on if you should bust a pimple or not, he was very informative with facts on the pro’s and con’s of such actions. 😉 So I know he’s reading it.Smelly teens? No problem-I got you covered! Click To Tweet
Remember at the outset I shared with you our daily conversations. I created this chart to help them remember the morning and evening routines. I even had them hang it on the wall by the door…it does help. Some days.
Sometimes we have great plans and visions of how things will go when we are raising children. Then we end up doing exactly what we said we’d never do.
I never thought I would hand my children a book about hygiene and walk away, and yet…that’s what I ended up doing.
I also ended up just leaving deodorant on their dresser with a sticky note that said, “Use me daily and after showers!” But that was probably more than you needed to know…
OK readers confession time: Are you saying or doing anything you swore you would never do as a parent? Share below if you dare 🙂