“In adolescence, our children undergo major physical, hormonal, and emotional changes. They modify their needs, interests, and priorities, and for some, grooming is simply not important; they prefer to have more time to play, talk with their friends, or go out. They even begin to lose interest in things they used to like,” says Mary Castro, a psychologist at our clinic, who provides us with valuable recommendations on this subject:
- Keep calm, this way you will avoid major conflicts when trying, by all means, to get your child to take a bath. It will be better to talk to them about the importance of showering and explain that hygiene can prevent the development of various infections and that during adolescence the body goes through a series of changes. Therefore, “putting on cologne to hide body odor” does not work and you must take a bath.
- Avoid labels. Do not use adjectives to qualify their lack of hygiene, as this can damage their self-esteem and confidence. Remember that they are in a stage of their life that we have all gone through, and it is not good to label them by the temporary changes they are experiencing.
- Establish a routine of activities. This way, bath time will only be one of the things your child has to do throughout the day, and won’t feel like it’s the only thing you want her/him to do. You can ask him/her if he/she prefers to bathe in the morning to go to school fresh, in the afternoon after school to recharge his batteries, or at night to relax and sleep soundly.
- Propose gradual changes. The goal is to gradually increase the number of times your child should bathe per week. Establish agreements, explaining the measures to be taken in case of non-compliance, as well as the importance of respecting them and keeping your word.
- Follow up and monitor your child. Since he/she is an adolescent, it is normal for him/her to be unstable or not to have enough perseverance. Support him/her at all times, encouraging him/her in the process of change.
There may be several reasons why a pubescent decides not to shower daily. From laziness and rebelliousness to depression. Therefore, it will be important to observe their mood, since neglect in their hygiene and grooming habits may be symptoms of low self-esteem. In these cases, it is recommended to seek professional help to provide the emotional support and guidance required.
Psychologist at Clínica Ricard Palma