I Just Wish He Would Take A Shower


Well-Known Member
Our D C has been staying with us for the last few days, because of the flooding in his area. His apartment didn't get flooded, as far as we can tell, but the area is under evacuation orders because of the possibility.
Hopefully, he will be back in within a few days!

Anyway, he has been staying with us for five days now and has showered only once! And that was because I strongly suggested it, after he mowed the lawn. I had hope, but he came down wearing the same clothes he had been wearing to mow. In fact, they are the same clothes he has worn since he got here, despite bringing all his stuff with him (not that he has that much)!

The smell lingers in the room after him, and the whole house is beginning to smell like a boys high school locker room.

I put fresh toiletries out, and he didn't use any, as far as I can tell, including the tooth brush (he claimed to have forgotten his toiletries when he packed up his stuff).

He looked, and smelled, like it had been a while since he had been near soapy water when he came to our house, so who knows how long it has been.

Why, why, why? This can't be normal!


Well-Known Member
My son has to be forced to take a shower. He gets points taken away at his 'home'. He must have x points to be able to go on an outing. He"s 20 and still has to be rewarded for doing basic things. Just sad.


Crazy Cat Lady
I see where your Difficult Child has NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD), which is considered by some to be part of the autistic spectrum. I'm autistic and have Sensory Integration Disorder (SID).

I also don't like to shower. I prefer to bathe, but unfortunately, my knees are so bad that I can no longer get up and down in the tub, so have to shower.

Why don't I like to shower? Well, it's an enclosed box. I can't wear my glasses, so all I can see is dim, colored blurs. The water hitting my skin stings. The non-skid mat under my feet feels weird and squeaky and I'm scared of accidentally stepping off of it and falling. I can't balance on one leg to do my lower legs and feet one at a time, so I have to bend over to do them, which causes me BAD back pain. Then, I have to take down the showerhead and rinse off with that stinging water and hang the showerhead back up.

Then, there's getting out of the shower. Remember what I said about standing on one leg? Now I have to do that AND step over the side of the tub without falling.

The whole thing is just a very unpleasant experience. I shower twice a week. It's as often as I can force myself to do it. I wash my hair in the kitchen sink every couple of days, and I wash the "smelly bits" at least once per day and change underthings daily.

I have never been told I smell bad. My skin is healthy. My hair is falling out and no one can tell me why beyond it being "female pattern baldness". So far I have such thick hair that there's plenty left. My teeth are shot, but not due to lack of hygiene, rather due to my being born with defective enamel. I have an upper plate and am shortly going to have my remaining few bottom teeth pulled and a lower denture placed. This after a full restoration failed for the 3rd time about 2 years ago.


Well-Known Member
I was told also that a NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) that is similar to the spectrum. I don't like showers either, but I'm very clean because I love a bath. To this day I take a fragrant bath every day. I don't like the feeling of a shower's water stream pelting on my skin or soap in my eyes.


Crazy Cat Lady
I love a bath, too, especially with a bit of lavender and spruce oil in it. I really wish I could still take a bath. I drool over those walk-in tubs, but even if I could afford one, it wouldn't be feasible in an apartment. I do my best to keep clean with what I've got to work with.

The funny thing is that I enjoy swimming and at one time was a very good swimmer. Once I get some financial stuff squared away and can afford it, I'm going to look into joining the Y or a health club, whatever has a pool, and try to get started on water exercises and swimming.


Roll With It
Sometimes you must be direct with this issue. My brother spent years choosing his friends based on how bad they smelled. The more they smelled, the more he liked them. It was truly awful when both my father and I get severe migraines from odors and unwashed people, esp with artificial scents over that, are a big problem for us. Bro KNEW this and still brought people home when he knew it would make one or both of us sick. We even had to get all new bedding after one guy that bro let spend the night with-o my folks knowing. The odor was so bad that it couldn't be washed out.

Just tell you son that staying with you comes with the requirement of bathing and putting on clean clothing, that you will happily put his clothes in the washer and when they are done, he will have to bathe with soap. Thank him for complying and leave it alone unless he flat out refuses.

Often a person doesn't realize how their smell is impacting others. As this is a problem for you, speak up and let him know and tell him what you expect him to do about it. In our society, regular bathing is important, but someone with NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) likely needs to be told about this. Even if you have said so before, it is enough of an issue that you need to say something again.


Well-Known Member
Our son's been with us since 6 months and I doubt he's showered 12 times. But for some reason, he actually doesn't usually smell too bad. But I HAVE absolutely forced the issue and told him to take a shower or move out. Might come to that.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
My son has anxiety and once told me that he felt very vulnerable when he was in the shower. Naked etc. He said he knew it doesn't make sense because he knew he was safe, house was locked, bathroom door locked etc. but still hated to take a shower because of that.

I have also heard that NOT showering can be a form of control. Sometimes that is ALL these Difficult Child do have control over.

I remember when my father in law stayed with us for a bit, he smelled to high heaven. Since it was my husband's father, HE gave him towel, washcloth, fresh bar of soap and told him to get in there! We later found out he was afraid he'd fall. Oh and he had no sense of smell.

Since you're the stepmother (I'm one also), I'd let your husband tell him that if he wants to live in your home he must shower daily. Period.


Well-Known Member
Lucky for me, it got really cool this morning!

D C put on a sweatshirt that he had left from the last time he was here. I had washed it so he is wearing clean clothes. He doesn't smell much now. If only I can wash the shirt he took off!


It sounds like quite a challenge. With two teens and a man child sharing the same bath, it's a crap shoot how it will smell!

I would insist on a swim if you have access to a pool or have your husband deal with it.

I personally hate baths an perfer a shower...as for swimming, vacation only.

Our in-laws visited and oh took sponge bathes...it was odd and yes, we were glad they left. They said that's what they do when they travel...ok then.


Crazy Cat Lady
I did 6 weeks of spongebaths while staying with friends in Milwaukee while waiting for this apt to be ready. They had no shower and a very high-sided tub. I tried climbing into it and bathing by pouring pitchers of water over myself.

After nearly breaking my neck trying to get out of the tub, I resorted to daily sink baths while I was staying there, combined with driving down to my mother's once a week or so to my mother's (60 miles) to visit and take a proper shower.


Well-Known Member
Hi AppleCori

I don't write on this board much any more as I am coping quite well with my son now, but this thread struck a chord with me. The lack of hygiene and the smell was the most difficult thing for me to deal with concerning my son. I wrote about this issue several times and had some great responses. My son is now living in a van with his girlfriend and their dog. It's not the most hygienic scenario as you can imagine, but it's a lot better than some of his previous 'homes'. The grubbiness and the smell were the things that I never really came to terms with, and still haven't.

Here's one of my old threads:


It was one thing to meet up with my son and try and cope with the smell, but to have him in my home was a whole other matter and extremely difficult. It was like walking a tightrope between being glad to see him and wanting to keep the peace and on the other hand thinking that, if he was in my home, then he needed to have some respect for my home and maintain a basic level of hygiene.

Maybe your son needs to be told straight. Often they don't pick up on subtle hints. If he's in your home then he needs to have some respect and get clean. It's not like you're asking him to do some dreadful thing - I mean - how hard can it be to use some hot water and soap. It's so ridiculous when you think about it isn't it?

p.s. I'm a step-mum too. This applies to step-kids too :)