Help with Body Odor and Hygiene

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by AnnMarieTN, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. AnnMarieTN

    AnnMarieTN New Member

    So has anyone come up with some tips for helping with difficult child's body odor and hygiene?

    If he was 4, I would put him in the bathtub and scrub him myself. Can't really do that with a 14 year old.

    What's the old saying - can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink? I can get him in the bathroom and I hear water running, but he is NOT cleaning himself.

    I even got down one day and looked under the door. I could hear water running, but could see his feet right there near the door. Since I mentioned it to him, he now puts a towel at the door so I can't see in.

    If he would just put half the effort into hygiene that he puts into NOT doing hygiene, we would all be better off.
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I think we need to wait for peer pressure to kick in. With Eeyore, husband and I have both spoken with him. We have all 12 steps to taking a shower taped to the shower wall. I have taken to cleaning his room myself so there are only clean clothes available for wearing. The school nurse has met with him, the social worker, two teachers and still no progress.

    My mother in law said that husband was the same until he noticed girls ;)
  3. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    My 15 year old easy child has troubles with Hygiene. Not only do I need to tell him to take a shower I have to tell him to use sope and shampo. I don't fight it too much. I keep hoping the other kids will tell him how bad he smells.
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Same troubles here...

    My difficult child will wash "sort of", when forced. She will still manage to get out of the shower will much of her hair still dry after being "shampooed".

    Right now, she does not believe anyone's complaints of body odor...

    Like the rest of you--I am hoping that peer pressure will help to get the message across.

  5. AnnMarieTN

    AnnMarieTN New Member

    I'm waiting on the peer pressure thing too, but so far nothing.
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Peer Pressure.

    And - shower crayons.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    One day boys discover the shower and you cant pry them out! They arent always showering but the water does eventually run over them in large quantities.

    Girls played a major part in getting mine to become hygienic. One day they were little boys with all the mud and crud on them and the next, they were vying for time in the bathroom to get all gussied up.
  8. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    This is a Basket C (a la Ross Greene) item in our house, for sure.

    Every week, we are able to entice our son into the shower with a "carrot." We tell him, "As soon as you shower, we'll be able to go to (fun place)." So once a week, he's squeaky clean.

    At least it's better than never.
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    difficult child 1 came around when the girls became a factor, too. Until then, it was basket c.

    I did put some restrictions on it, tho. If you haven't showered in 3 days, you have to sit in the back of the car instead of the front...junk like that.
  10. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Isn't that the *truth*????

    Basket C here too. We tried to fight it when he was 9 and it just turned into an utter nightmare in terms of raging. So not worth it.

    When difficult child got a girlfriend, things did a 180 - he now takes 2-3 showers a day. Only exception is when he is majorly severely depressed - he can go weeks without showers. Because of his age and placement, we can only encourage that he (and staff) address the depression but... that's an iffy proposition at best.
  11. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Dealing with similar problem. difficult child 1 DOES shower... FOR.E.VER. And comes out with dry hair because he didn't shampoo. And still smells because he didn't use soap. I can surely guess what he did for 30 minutes...

    So I've been giving him the "sniff" test. If he doesn't pass, I send him back up to take care of it, and usually the hot water's gone by then so he gets it done quickly.

    I've tried the carrot, the stick, ignoring it, and he still doesn't get a clue. He's the same way about his school clothes (wears a uniform) -- doesn't notice that he's putting dirty stuff back on instead of clean stuff.

    I'm hoping, like others have said, that next year or so he'll get his act together when girls are more consistently on his radar. He's noticing them now, but not figuring he has any impact on them yet.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Why not? I would make the threat that I would come into the shower and wash him myself, if he didn't do it, and I was prepared to follow through. Or there was always the backyard under the hose, as if I was washing the dog. Again, gotta be prepared to follow through.

    Of course for modesty's sake he is permitted to wear his swimsuit (budgie smugglers, aka speedos).

    The other point - if you listen at the door while the shower is running (or the bathtub is occupied) the sound of the water should be different. A shower running sounds uniform, no variation. But someone in the shower - you hear splashes, differences in intensity, etc.

    And you can ALWAYS do the sniff test afterwards. If he still smells of BO, then he didn't wash well enough and has to go back and do it again, only this time under supervision.

    The bath crayons are also a good idea - scribble on the kid and then make him go wash it all off.

    Another important point we've made to difficult child 1 (and now difficult child 3) - based on an old Aussie deodorant ad, "Nobody wastes a wash". This means you need to make sure your underarms don't stink. So you wash, you scrub in fact (I use a facial scouring pad or loofah or something similar). With soap. Then once dry, the kid puts on the strongest antiperspirant I can find on the shelves. Then you put on CLEAN shirt - if the kid puts a smelly shirt back on, it transfers the BO smell back onto the skin. A wasted wash.

    Each morning/evening - fresh application of deodorant, whether or not there has been a shower. Also, never put a clean shirt onto a BO body, or you waste the wash (of the clothing). If you remember to take off your shirt, go scrub armpits - never put the BO'd shirt back on, even if it was clean on five minutes before. You've done the damage.

    Going to the beach for a swim - come hoome, wash off the sand and salt. Then put on deordorant.

    An alternative to showering is the bath. Never use soap in the bath, use detergent instead. Soap is fat-based and will make the bathtub look dirty with a ring around the tub. Bubble bath or shower gel is detergent-based and leaves a clean bath and a clean kid. Put a couple of drops of shower gel onto the loofah or scrub cloth and you will get all the lather you need to get clean. Bath bombs are also good for difficult kids, but avoid te ones with "bits" in them or strong dyes, they can make a mess of the bathtub. You can also make your own bath bombs (I have recipes if you want). I used to use bath bombs as bribes to get difficult child 3 to have a bath when he was younger. He LOVED playing with a bath bomb, I used to use it to scrub him down, he loved the feel of it as it bubbled off his skin.

    THis can work.

    Mind you, we did go years with difficult child 1 not allowing his hair to be washed. There is an Aussie invention coming out that makes it really easy to wash a kid's hair in the bath without them getting any risk of water in their eyes. It was on a recent episode of "The Inventors" (Aussie ABC TV).

    You do whatever you can. But wasting water purely to deceive a parent - that is environmentally reprehensible.

    Tell him.

  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I will bribe my difficult child mercilessly. "No TV until you've had a shower."
    And then I check. "Okay, lift up your arm so I can smell."
    "Back into the bathroom!!!"
  14. gwenny

    gwenny New Member

    Our difficult child was horrible with this too!! When he lived with his mom she would call husband and say its been 2 weeks since any bathing. Now when he came here he new it was not tolerated but we know he was clearly letting the water run and forget to brush his teeth.

    We just make him go back and do it again and again until odor is gone.
  15. cadydid

    cadydid New Member

    Oh how this is all too familiar to me.... Another thing that you might try is getting him his own body wash.. we tried Old Spice and a few others.. He has gotten better.. we are up to every other night.. It's still not where I want it to be.. but I count my blessings that he has gotten this far.
  16. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Yeah! I don't get boys. difficult child 1 is a REAL HUNK, but he smells terrible. He hasn't changed his sheets in 3 months. He stinks, his room stinks, I wish it kept the girls away. Peer pressure isn't working here. He just pours on the cologne, just like in the days of Louis XIV!
  17. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    You know, when I was a kid....we all had to tiptoe around my alcoholic father--and so there were so many times that I went without showering. Running the risk of "bothering" him by using the shower just was not worth it. And of course, I smelled and was teased mercilessly at school. It was really horrible.

    And so I have taken great pains to ensure that my kids have plenty of "free time" to shower. Any time from the moment they get off the school bus up until a few minutes before want to shower? The bathroom is all yours.

    So this problem makes me particularly crazy....

    I want to say to difficult child "Do you know what it's like to try and have to SNEAK a shower sometime when your Dad is not around? Do you know how bad it is to have to wait and wait and wait for the opportunity to bathe?"

    But of course, she would have no real appreciation for my experience....and is quite content to sit in her own filth.

    Makes me crazy!!!!

  18. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I take my kids shopping for their own bathroom items. They get to choose the shampoo, the deordorant, the soap, toothpaste, tooth brush, ect. Seems to help that they have their own stuff that they choose for showering and other bathroom activities. I thought it very interesting that difficult child knew what he wanted for a deordorant at age 12. Commercials do work once in awhile but then again, this is a kid who thought we had to purchase everything when he was about 4 yrs old because the t.v. told you you should.
  19. Stella

    Stella New Member

    Hygiene is a BIG problem with my difficult child. The only wash she gets is at her weekly swimming lessons, seriously! Under her nails are black and she is starting to sweat, therefore smell but she just point blank refuses to wash.. I actually went into the bathroom before and tried washing under her arms myself but the rage that ensued was SO not worth it. She basically destroyed my house after I did that so it is now most defintely a "basket C" for me too. Like most of you, I am just hoping that she will become more conscious about it as she gets older and becomes interested in boys OR her friends start noticing and say it to her! I did buy her a bottle of Sure For Girls deodrant but she went beserk when she saw it. It just seems to be a huge control issue with her - same as her not eating and only wearing what she wants. She can control what she puts into her body, what she puts on her body and how clean she keeps her body.I just wish i knew she has such a huge need for control in the first place!!
  20. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    been there done that, it is just time. My 17yo difficult child is now showering almost every day. Guess what? She does have a boyfriend now. Maybe that helped? ya think?!

    Don't stress over it. I wasted many minutes of my life trying to coax difficult child into the shower. And arguing about showering and dealing with the meltdown that always ensued.

    Burn candles.