Body Odors and Your Preteen: It’s Time for Some Real Talk

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There is nothing like the “aroma” of corn chips, onions, and musk. If it were bottled, it might be called “Eau de preteen”. Anyone who has a growing child has likely had more than a whiff of this combo, no doubt, much to your own dismay. That’s probably about the time that you realized that you would need to educate your child about the importance and value of proper personal hygiene.

Due to hormones and natural body changes,preteens have a lot going on in their bodies and minds. They may not be aware yet of how their personal scent has changed and may need to consider wearing deodorant. Despite how things look (and smell) now, helping your preteen to develop into a wonderful, great smelling teenager can become reality. Try these tips for tackling the down and dirty and yes, awkward side of preteen hygiene.

Discuss, don’t scold: It can be difficult to “reach” a preteen, with their emotional ups and downs. You’ll want to approach the conversation around hygiene in a more constructive, conversational manner. This will allow for a mature and open exchange between the two of you. Of course, it’s always easier to just yell out something like, “You stink!”, but that’s likely to make your preteen defensive and hurt if you do that.

 

Provide solutions: During the discussion, talk about scents and how awesome it is to find one that agrees with a person’s individual body chemistry. Research deodorant brands for young adults. Go shopping for or offer an assortment of perfumes or colognes. Consider allowing your preteen to choose their own laundry detergent. Try to make sure that they have multiple pairs of socks and shoes. This will ensure that there can be variety in their wardrobe, which will also minimize the excessive use of any one pair, and the accompanying smells that can occur from overuse.

In addition to respect for yourself is the fact that you should respect others. Having an offensive body odor is off putting, and can cause stress and tension in social settings. Put this in terms that your preteen can  understand, such as explaining that noone wants to sit next to someone who smells badly on the school bus. Be honest with your preteen about developing positive personal hygiene habits and how hygiene can impact their future. Tell them how difficult it could be to get a job if they are perceived as dirty. It doesn’t sound very nice, but it is reality nonetheless.

Give them a “fresh start” with their room and clothing. Yes, you may have been telling your child to clean up, for what seems like forever. Now is an opportunity to help them to create the ideal environment for your family and their care. Get in there and clean, showing your preteen exactly how their room should look. Then, your he or she will understand the expectation and will, hopefully, follow suit.

Help create positive personal habits. When our children are young, they’re used to being bathed and clean, and pressed clothing is made available to them on a daily basis. Having to do this on their own may be something new for your preteen. Work with him or her to create a daily process for taking care of their hygiene. Once they make it a part of who they are, soon enough, that “eau de preteen” odor could turn into the sweet smell of personal success!

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