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Help!! My 12-year old son has horrible hygeine. :-P

He *insists* that he brushes his teeth, bathes, etc, but it is obvious that he is just goofing around in the bathroom/shower and not really getting anything done. It should be noted that he spends a good 30 mins in the shower and 25 getting "ready" for bed. We have shown him how to do these things countless times and assured that he understands. He is of normal intelligence. We are at our wits' end! I understand that hygeine isn't important to kids at this age and that he is also being defiant, but we draw the line at being gross and smelly. Our thought at this point is that we will be the "hygeine police" until he gets his act together. That means that he brushes teeth in front of us, bathes in front of dad (he can have swim trunks on), etc. Any thoughts or further/better/different suggestions?


Asked by Evansmomintexas at 9:29 PM on Nov. 15, 2009 in Tweens (9-12)

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Answers (11)
  • Will what I would do and this is why my kids have good hygiene. I would be with him when he has to take a shower and brush he's teeth. If he does not like the parent there than he better do it.

    When you start to teach a child how to do things you just do not give the tool but you stand there till he learns how to do it everyday till he get it right.

    Do not give up, everyday you will be on him. Tell him, that you are sorry, I should of done this long ago and that you love him very much and this is very important. No bitching just tell him you will be there till he learns.
    Also tell him the truth he is good looking and soon he will want to have a pretty GF But she will not be able to get close to him because his hair and body will smell.
    Be firm but kind. Good Luck

    Answer by gammie at 9:54 PM on Nov. 15, 2009

  • I actually agree with you! He sounds like he needs it. That is gross!

    Answer by justluvinmyson at 9:33 PM on Nov. 15, 2009

  • Oh man we had a neighbor boy like this. Weird thing was his brother and us would make fun of him knowing he was not showering etc. and he still would not change. Same thing he would fake the shower and other things. I never got it because that amount of effort you put into faking it, you might as well have taken the shower.

    I am going to send my mom over on this question...wonder what her thoughts are. She already raised two teens, obviously me being one. I did shower though....

    First thing that comes to mind is taking away things that are important. So if he wants to earn video games then he needs to actually shower. I just don't know if that is not an age appropriate thing. Maybe he is too old for that. I personally would not let it slide. You have to pick or choose your battles, but I think hygeine is too important to me.

    Answer by J9Mommy at 9:34 PM on Nov. 15, 2009

  • I agree with you as well. Honestly, I think 12 is a little old for the whole not wanting to brush your teeth thing. To me that's more of a younger stage. Hygiene is very important...especially oral hygiene. Cavaties, plaque, gingivitus, etc. are very unhealthy and can be costly problems to fix if they get bad enough. If he wants to act like a baby and not brush his teeth or wash himself, than treat him like one. Make Daddy stand there and make SURE he's doing it. Hopefully that will embarass him enough so that he'll get the point.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:37 PM on Nov. 15, 2009

  • Well it is pretty normal for kids this age. Their standards are pretty low. And if it matters to you that much then the hygine police it is. (I had to do this with my DD. Then as soon as she started puberty, it got a lot better). Or let him do it his way, then check and keep making him go back til he gets it right. Also, take peer pressure into consideration. If you know any of his friends well enough, enlist thier help. Have them tell him he stinks. Right now he cares alot more about what they think than what you think. Lastly, try offering him more "adult" products, like axe or something. Let him have some control over what he uses. And hang in there this phase usually passes. If not....ambushing him with the garden hose is always an option (JK)

    Answer by phantomphan at 9:38 PM on Nov. 15, 2009

  • Wow - thank you all for validating what we are/were planning to do. We've tried many of the routes you all mentioned & he doesn't seem to think that anyone but us notices (of course...sigh). We've told him that if he is tired of us being in his case about these issues, the ONLY way to get us to stop is to do these things!! I'm hjoping and thinking that the "hygeine police" method will throw him for a loop as we've never done that before. And I agree that these are issues thte he should have outgrown by now, but alas, here we are... :-/ Keep the feedback coming, I really appreciate it. :)

    Answer by Evansmomintexas at 9:57 PM on Nov. 15, 2009

  • And also offer to buy him things that he might use for his hygiene use. Cool clothing would be great too.
    When he is clean give him lots of hugs and kisses. Make him feel good.

    Answer by gammie at 9:59 PM on Nov. 15, 2009

  • ok here's what I did with my 10 yo son and I know there are some anon nazis that are going to hate on me for this, but IDC, It worked damn it!
    My son takes baths instead of showers(score points for me cuz I can check the bath water for "soap particles,ie:cloudy bath water.
    So I would tell him to "save the bath water for me". Low and behold if it was clear, I made his butt get back in there and washed him myself!
    I would stand over him and watch him brush his teeth(we're talking zero privacy here), I even bought him the listerine pink stuff so he could "see" the left over ick in his mouth in the sink.
    After doing this every morning and night for a week or so, I still "check on him" from time to time and also MAKE him use deodorant, Yes, I sniff his pits!
    I do like "gammie"s idea of buying him stuff for his hygiene, ie:Axe body wash, deodorant, etc

    Answer by Starfire73 at 10:46 PM on Nov. 15, 2009

  • We did decide to let him get "adult" bath products a few months back and so he no longer uses the same soap, shampoo, etc as his 4-year old brother. we took him to the store and let him pick out all of his own stuff, including shower gel, shampoo, deodorant, etc. He seemed somewhat excited at the time, but I think the excitement wore off when it came time to actually *use* the products, lol.

    Answer by Evansmomintexas at 11:25 PM on Nov. 15, 2009

  • Its a phase he will grow out of. You cant guilt them into caring because they dont. Boys are sometimes worse than girls but not always.

    Answer by Sandyr911 at 12:00 PM on Nov. 16, 2009