What can I do if my 13-year-old refuses to shower?

I am at my wits end with this boy! He is 13, and "forgets" to shower, brush his teeth, use deoderant. He forgets to put his stuff away and gets mad when his brother gets into it. He can't remember to shower, but he can remember how to put together a web page. He is getting disrespectful and defiant, rude and snotty. I know that it is a "teenager thing", but when I was 13, I could get myself cleaned up and ready for school with no problems.
He gets B's and C's in school, so he is fully capable of doing the work. Is it sheer lazyiness? Or is this a normal thing teen boys go through? Any tips or advice would be appreciated!
And if it is laziness, any ideas on how to snap him out of it?


Asked by jenniferoakes at 10:09 AM on Dec. 17, 2008 in Tweens (9-12)

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Answers (45)
  • i went through the same thing i told my son if he didn't start bathing on a regular basis i was going to start bathing him myself. that worked for a while but now he gets a shower like once a week unless he has a dance or something to go to . it is disgusting and i don't know what to do either

    Answer by jodi205 at 10:13 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

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  • If he can remember to get on the computer.Do the things he likes to do. I say take the things he likes to do away from him. Sit him down and lay out some rules about good hygiene. Say, when he starts acting more maturely he can have his toys back.


    Answer by louise2 at 10:14 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

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  • Have his dad push him on this.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:15 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

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  • louise2: we just did that. he is stripped down to a bed and alarm clock in his room. no tv, no ipod, nothing. We will see where that takes us...Thanks!
    jodi205: We are going to try what you said, once a week. It's gross when I have to brush his teeth for him and remind him of basic hygene.
    Thanks ladies for the advice...we are definaltey going there.

    Answer by jenniferoakes at 10:17 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

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  • Good hygiene and good grades are necessitys of life. Building webpages and other "fun" stuff are earned and not necessary. I would revert back to the 5 year old stars and check marks for your son. IN a 13 year old manner of course. He should be doing chores, doing his homework and taking a shower period. Put a lock on the computer and only unlock it when his stuff is done. He wants to hang out with friends on the weekend.....this, this and this need to be done. Showers at least every other day period.

    I would respect his room. If he wants to sleep in a pigstye then so be it. But, no dishes are left in there and laundry must be brought out. Period or, no playtime.

    Your hardest thing is to stick to it. Everyone in the house has to do there part. Its part of life. Son must do his part too.

    Answer by mistynights234 at 10:21 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

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  • Take him out back and spray him with the hose:) JK. I would start throwing away the things that he conveniently forgets to pick up. If they are expensive items that you don't feel comfortable doing this with then stash the items in your room. I bet after losing his i-pod he'll think twice about leaving his junk all over. As for the showering, make him. I bet after you sniff his hair after his "shower" to make sure he's actually washed, the way you would a child who is just old enough to start showering alone, he'll want you off of his back enough to do it on his own. Good luck.

    Answer by micrespo at 10:31 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

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  • I think its a normal, if a little gross, phase they go through.

    What I would do is tell your son that you are going to give him a bath like a baby if he doesn't get in the shower and clean himself up. Most 13 yr old boys do not want their mother to see them naked so that might convince him to start doing basic hygiene.

    Answer by JustAMom2008 at 10:38 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

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  • Wait until he discovers girls.

    You won't be able to pay the hot water bill with all the showers he'll be taking!

    Answer by Wimsey at 10:41 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

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  • It's laziness and the fact that he's a teenage boy. Let him go to school smelly. The kids will tease him so bad that he'll never "forget" again.

    Answer by feesharose at 10:55 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

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  • I would make him shower and brush his teeth with me!!!... that might make him want to do it himself.. and dont let him on the computer until he has done all this stuff.

    Answer by LeXisMoMMi04 at 11:13 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

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