Teen hygiene and how to talk about keeping clean

Older teenager wrinkling his nose in disgust.

How Do I Talk to My Teenager About Cleanliness?

You have a teenager and want to know exactly how to teach personal hygiene to teenagers. Discussing this issue can be a bit like walking on eggshells, but sometimes circumstances may demand that something be done about your teen’s general cleanliness and personal hygiene.

Some effective methods to help bring this topic out into the open and solve this problem could include the following suggestions:

Set an Example

As a parent, it is important that you are a good role model for your teen. Washing your hands, wearing deodorant, changing your clothes when they are wrinkled or soiled, and manicuring your fingernails and toenails are all tasks that you can do so your teen will emulate you. Taking showers and/or bathing once or twice a day will also demonstrate the importance of good personal hygiene for boys and for girls.

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Be Tactful

Nothing will shut a teen down faster than abrupt criticism or judgments. When speaking to our teen, keep a friendly, even tone of voice. Don’t criticize or make fun of your child, but rather be conversational and approachable on this subject. Portray a caring and loving attitude so your teen will not instantly tune you out. Never carry on a personal conversation with this teen in front of siblings or friends. Embarrassing them into following your hints and suggestions will just not have a lasting effect.

Purchase Motivating Supplies

One of the most effective methods of teaching good hygiene to girls and boys is to keep supplies on hand that you know that they will enjoy using. Peruse teen magazines for the latest in deodorants, body sprays, bubble bath, bath gel, and soap. If your budget allows it, stock an array of it in the teen’s bathroom where he or she will have easy access to it. Put up a grocery list on your refrigerator and encourage them to request and write down their favorite hygiene items. If unsure of what to purchase, select small samples so they can try the product. Instruct them on how to exactly use these items so the end result can be productive and satisfying.

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Appeal to Their Vanity

When discussing cleanliness and personal hygiene for girls and boys, be sure to reassure them that they are beautiful and perfect. Express how proud you are of them and what treasures they are. Let them know that you want them to always be clean and presentable so their individuality and confidence can shine through.

Don’t Make Comparisons

Don’t point out a sibling, cousin, or even a friend who has strong personal habits and hygiene. You will only drive a wall up between you and your teen and possibly even your teen and the individual being discussed. Comparing your youngster to others is not a good move because it will not motivate them to improve themselves. It will only make them resentful and even more distant and uncommunicative.

Dispense Praise and Compliments

Whenever your teen smells or looks particularly good, be sure to take the time to notice and compliment them.

“What are you wearing? It smells so good!”

“Your hair looks so thick and healthy!” and

“What is that scent you are wearing? It smells so good!”

Often it is more effective to highlight the positives than to point out the negatives.

Teaching a teenager hygiene and healthy habits during their high school years will give them the basics they need for the rest of their lives. The habits they acquire and engage in now are what will make them the engaging and appealing successes they will be in the future. They will feel even more confident and sure of themselves during these tumultuous years.

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Nena loves to cook and has healthy ideas for all the family. A Teacher of English for 5 years, Nena balances her life at school with her two teenage kids.