Is it that hard to teach boys to bathe?

I posted a link last week to an odd sports story about the Tennessee Volunteers coach having to show his team how to bathe because of an outbreak of staph infections. ESPN’s Game Day had a ball with the story on Saturday. (No pun intended!)

While watching games this weekend, Michael called my attention to a new ad from Axe featuring Jaime Pressly from “My Name Is Earl.” She explains using innuendo how men can better clean themselves. The ad above is a slightly longer version that what they were showing on TV.

The ad is funny but shocking to see on TV. And can it truly be necessary? Does Coach Dooley need to invest in some of these?

Mothers, does this fall on our shoulders? Have we not been showing our sons how to properly get themselves clean? Is this Dad’s responsibility? Who should be teaching little guys to make sure they get clean and what do we need to tell them to make sure they are doing the job right? Why don’t we ever hear about girls being gross and nasty?

Maybe it is because my son is still little but thus far he doesn’t stink. Does it really get as bad as the Febreze ads and Axe ads would have you believe? Ladies with teenage boys, are you having to Febreze down their bedrooms and all their stuff? What’s up with that? Why do they smell so bad?

(I have a second more serious topic posting later today so be sure to check back!)

77 comments Add your comment

Jeff

September 13th, 2010
6:49 am

I think it’s something the majority of teenage boys go through. Not always, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone when it happens at some point in the transition through puberty. I don’t know that it’s a dad’s responsibilty solely, but I think the father should take the lead because a boy going through puberty doesn’t really want to talk about it with a female, especially his mother.

As far as commercials, they’re trying to sell something. Exaggeration is to be expected. At least Axe made it funny. I thought it was hysterical.

deidre_NC

September 13th, 2010
6:52 am

girls can be just as bad as boys about wanting to take a shower..

That ad last week was all about...

September 13th, 2010
7:06 am

…”cleaning your balls”,, though they showed golf balls and soccer balls – we couldn’t believe that choice of words got passed the censors. This week they totally “cleaned” up the whole ad, just using inuendo as to what the product was designed to clean. I especially liked the part where the guy held up the tennis balls and asked if the product would clean these – the spokes girl said “send those fuzzy things down here and lets find out”…

catlady

September 13th, 2010
7:06 am

It isn’t just the boys, in my experience. How can parents not smell their 4th graders who have begun to mature? Some days I am nauseated by the smell of some of these maturing kids. They smell of sweat, body odors, ciggaret smoke, and dope when they come to school. Sometimes also pee–I think they sleep in pee-soaked beds. Ooaahh!

That ad last week was all about...

September 13th, 2010
7:07 am

…oops – “past” the censors – hey, it’s early…

That ad last week was all about...

September 13th, 2010
7:11 am

…or, on second thought, I guess I was originally correct if I had said “passed BY the censors”…can you tell I have no life…

catlady

September 13th, 2010
7:14 am

Maybe we should blog about telling your kids about the changes their bodies are going through. A lot of girls are shocked and horrified when they find blood on their panties, and it is up to the teacher to reassure them.

lakerat

September 13th, 2010
7:16 am

Speaking of clean – as some of you may know my oldest son is now in his third year of med school and is now doing his clinical “rotations” where he is really doing the “hands on” learing part of being a doctor – he just finished his first 6 weeks where he worked in pediatrics – his supervising MD (a female) asked what he will be doing in his next rotation; he replied OB/GYN, to which she replied “Ooh, I didn’t like that one, too much smell for me…”

lakerat

September 13th, 2010
7:17 am

well, he may be “leering”, but I meant to write “learning” not “learing”.

motherjanegoose

September 13th, 2010
7:27 am

I am with catlady on this one. I have smelled lots of kids and it is sad when you get whiff of a child with an obvious odor. Multiply those little bodies times 20 ( in one room) after PE or recess and you want to get ill. I have even had children ride, in the car with our family, that smell. Not to mention breath that will knock you over…where is their toothbrush?

Everyone has an odor, if they do not bath. We have insisted on bathing every day. I took grief about this a while back, on the blog. I have not changed my mind. If you have a routine, with children, it makes things easier ( as in, did you bathe yesterday or is it today…who can remember…let’s just do it tomorrow?) My kids have had good hygiene, as a result of me requiring them to bathe every day. Now, cleaning their rooms is another thing LOL.

I know some kids have sensitive skin but we did not have it here and so the rule was:
you bathe every day.

Each of my kids has had friends who did not or do not bathe every day and they are surprised.
Just as much as they are surprised that there are families who eat dinner, on the coffee table, in front of the TV or just grab something on the fly. We eat dinner, as a family, most nights.
Even our dog now comes to the table to see if she will get anything, as she is the only “kid” home now :).

So NO I did not have a problem with bathing, as this practice was started when they were little.

To me, boy’s dorm rooms smell the worst! Also shoes. My son went to camp ( he was about 12) and did not wear his socks all week. My sister picked him up and his shoes smelled to high heaven. She called me and I told her to pitch them in the trash and let him wear his flip flops. He was due for a new pair and it was summer, so he would survive.

EVERYONE STINKS WHEN THEY ARE NOT CLEAN.

Andrea

September 13th, 2010
7:55 am

I don’t think it is the mother’s total responsibility to teach the young ones how to bathe. Having a teenage son I can tell you that some days he comes home and I thought I was going to puke. We did invest in the “BO kit” for him. It is just basic toiletries he can use after Phys Ed to freshen himself up. We started this when he was in 5th grade and years later, it still works. He keeps his kit in his bookbag. We even made a class project out of it and between the parents we were able to provide kits for all of the kids. Kids mature at different rates so I don’t think there is a panacea for body odor. But, as parents, it is our responsibility to make sure the kids know the importance of proper hygiene.

You have to bathe daily! I don’t see any getting around that. I don’t have much tolerance (with my son) for body odor because as I tell him, IT PASSES HIS NOSE BEFORE IT GETS TO MINE! So, there is no way he would not know.

Young@heart

September 13th, 2010
7:56 am

I have 3 boys, my oldest 17 is very clean showers twice a day sometimes,he is very physically active, my two younger 12 and 9 have to be made to take a shower, I have asked their father why is this and he says they’ll grow out of it. I hope so, I have told them how they don’t want to be the stinky kid in class. To the teachers out there, if my child is stinkin at school can you please nicely tell me or him?…My boys probably need to hear it from someone other than me. Cause what does mom know?….

mom2alex&max

September 13th, 2010
8:15 am

How timely this topic is for me! Just yesterday, we “graduated” our oldest (10 years old) from kid shampoo to men shampoo and deodorant. He was so shyly proud! Although he did ask, how come I need deodorant? I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it was because he was starting to smell. Dad beat me to the punch by saying: “It’s all part of growing up; just use it every day after you shower”

I had asked around moms that have been through this at what age to introduce deodorant and most of them said “before they need it”. Every kid is different, but my 10 year old I think was just starting to need it. I think it’s weird that we still need to remind him every day to shower and brush his teeth. Ugh.

motherjanegoose

September 13th, 2010
8:48 am

@ young@ heart….I am not really able to tell children they stink….perhaps others, in the classroom can? catlady?

Mrs. G

September 13th, 2010
9:02 am

My little brother is 10; I was shocked last Christmas when I was putting together a toiletry kit to give to him as his Christmas gift (maybe not the most exciting gift, but I had done the same thing for my husband and my mom thought that it was the coolest and was sure that my bro would love it…I bought a nice travel toiletry bag and stocked it with travel size versions of all of the toiletries he uses) and I asked my mom what I should put in it and she mentioned, among other things, Axe deodorant, since that was the brand he liked – I couldn’t believe that my baby brother was already using deodorant! I asked her if he actually needed it and she said that he was starting to; apparently, though, Axe is what his friends use, so it’s “cool” and, even if he didn’t need it, I got the impression that he would have wanted to use it anyway. He also has the body wash and the shampoo.

Kudos to Axe on their marketing strategy – the advertisements may be a little inappropriate – especially for boys my brother’s age – but they seem to work (in that they encourage boys in that age range, as well as in other age ranges, to use their products). And, being realistic, although the ads are a little risque, they are probably tamer than some of the things that are discussed at recess or over Xbox.

TechMom

September 13th, 2010
9:03 am

The video was funny and I’m sure my 15 year old would get a kick out of it. Luckily he likes to take showers so it’s rarely a battle. He usually showers immediately when he wakes up (to wake up) and as soon as he gets home from practice. I started having conversations on how to bathe when he was a little guy in the tub (make sure you get every part, armpits, between the toes, and all those other fun places- he never thought twice about being embarrassed because I started that when he was like 2). He asked for deodorant & Axe when he was in 5th grade… I think just to be like the other guys b/c he really hadn’t started to develop yet. But by 6th grade, I was glad he was in the habit since he had PE 2nd period and regardless of puberty, BO happens!

The bad part is that the coaches aren’t helping – they tell the kids to leave their practice equipment in the locker rooms so a kid doesn’t show up to practice missing something but ewe! There was a rash of staph infections on the team the year before last and they pretty much closed the lockers so kids had to take stuff home but as soon as that was gone, the lockers were back. I make my son bring home his practice shorts & shirts every day, even if it means I do a small load of laundry almost nightly.It doesn’t matter how well you clean if you put damp, dirty clothes back on, they’re going to be a haven for germs.

Mrs. G

September 13th, 2010
9:06 am

TechMom – “It doesn’t matter how well you clean if you put damp, dirty clothes back on…” SO true! The thought of putting such things on seriously makes me shudder, LOL.

SJ

September 13th, 2010
9:07 am

My third grade daughter came home from school the first week and told me her teacher said they all need to wear deodorant, that they don’t smell very fresh after recess! That made a huge impression on her. She has worn deodorant every day since then. Not because of anything I said, but because Mrs. B says they need to

Mrs. G

September 13th, 2010
9:20 am

I’m curious as to what kids are being taught in “Sex Ed” in elementary school these days… I remember we had it in fourth or fifth grade (so, back in the early-mid 90’s) and it was an entire unit on health, not just sex, although it was called Sex Ed (but there was plenty related to sex and childbirth…a nurse brought in a placenta for us to see and I was absolutely horrified!), but about hygiene, too. Then we were required to take a Home Ec class in sixth grade and there was a unit on hygiene, where we learned about things like using deodorant and splashing cold water on our faces after we washed them (to close our pores). Do they still teach things like that in schools?

ladilovely

September 13th, 2010
9:33 am

Wow, I see that most of theboys are starting on deodorant at 10. My son is 6 and has been using deodorant for at least a year. If he forgets to put some on, I know because he comes home from school smelly. He loves showers and feelings like a big boy. He has his own personal bag. But like everyone else, you must start early with any child. My daughter is 13 and getting her to shower is a chore. But once she is in the shower, she uses up all the hot water.

Angela

September 13th, 2010
9:50 am

I fight to get my husband to change his underwear. Much less a kid.

Older & Wiser

September 13th, 2010
10:12 am

My son has always been very physically active, and his feet have been the worst battle! I found that washing all his clothes with the Febreze Laundry Odor Eliminator helped quite a bit. It’s expensive, but it has been worth it.

BLamar

September 13th, 2010
10:14 am

Angela, we learned a little trick in the Army that might help your hubby: After a month or so in the field, just turn your underwear inside out…good to go for a few more weeks!

atlmom

September 13th, 2010
10:21 am

Boys are just gross. I’ve spoken to other moms about this, and we all agreed. They don’t seem to like things as neat and clean as girls do. Even my OCD child.
Mrs. G: I’m not sure it’s up to the schools to teach all of this. *sigh* another things the schools are going to have to be doing, huh?

Devildog

September 13th, 2010
10:23 am

I still remember my special ed. teacher daughter telling me about a classroom incident.
Seems a kid got into class a bit late and another perked up and said–loudly–”Somebody’s got a Subway sandwich. Making me hongry!”
It wasn’t a Subway. The late kid had a major case of B.O.
My daughter really had to work to convince the hungry kid it wasn’t a sandwich while stifling the gag reflex.

Devildog

September 13th, 2010
10:24 am

Oh. And I DON’T do Subway anymore.

DB

September 13th, 2010
10:48 am

Teenage boys — euwwwwww! The worst was the car he and his sister shared — he’d have cross country or soccer practice, throw his gear into the car and drive home — FEBREEZE NEEDED HERE! My daughter loudly complained at how stinky the car would get and I had to agree with her — it wasn’t pleasant AT ALL.

A few times, I strongly suggested that more shampoo was needed because he smelled like a wet dog. Apparently, getting short hair wet was considered “washed”. Ugh. It wasn’t until he became interested in girls that the attention to detail increased exponentially. His sister was always happy to tell him when he had too much Axe or whatever on, so he learned quickly.

I’ve never tried the Febreeze laundry supplement, but white vinegar in the wash always seemed to do the trick for us.

catlady

September 13th, 2010
12:05 pm

Well, if I have a “stinker” in class, I will do a long lesson on cleanliness with the whole class, give them each deodorant and a toothbrush and paste, and get the school nurse involved. She has them “wash” their hands and then put them under the special light so they can see how well they did. I get those minisamples at Walmart, or sometimes we have them donated. Well worth it in my opinion!

I have talked to parents before: You know, little Johnny is growing up and some of his classmates are starting to notice his odor. I don’t want others to start making fun of him. He needs to bathe each night and wash REAL GOOD so he won’t be laughed at. etc.

Usually the parent is surprised, but they usually get over that at the thought of their child being laughed at.

What is more difficult is explaining to a little girl that she isn’t dying (in Spanish). 4 years of high school Spanish didn’t prepare me.

Another sensitive subject is talking with parents about their children masturbating in class–Whew! But I have had that talk a half dozen times before, at least. Had a 5th grade boy who came up to me and requested to go to the nurse. He confided that he was worried–that his privates were swollen. I sent him on to our 22 year old nurse. I figured she needed the experience of “handling” a problem like that!

When you think of what the teachers really have to handle that is not the 3 Rs, you might be grateful someone will do it for less and less each year.

DB

September 13th, 2010
12:25 pm

I just watched the video — ROFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JATL

September 13th, 2010
12:41 pm

I’ve known boys AND girls who were pre-pubescent (and afterward sadly) who didn’t bathe much or want to. If you’ve ever lived in a girl’s dorm, you KNOW there are some young women out there who don’t bathe -and it’s disgusting. I think it’s up to both parents to start teaching our kids while we’re still bathing them how you soap up a wash cloth and scrub yourself and wash your hair. When they hit 9 or 10, start on the deodorant. And, as gross as this is, if you have a daughter PLEASE teach her how to appropriately keep herself clean! Everyone stinks if they don’t wash and wear clean clothes, but let’s face it, some things stink worse than others when not washed regularly or carefully!

Today's topic, while needed...

September 13th, 2010
12:50 pm

…really stinks….

lwa

September 13th, 2010
1:11 pm

ROTFL!!!!!!!!!

JJ

September 13th, 2010
1:19 pm

Where’s the other topic? This one stinks….LOL…

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

September 13th, 2010
1:50 pm

When I was twelve and on a youth football team for 12-15 year olds at the base we were stationed at in Europe..one of the 15 year old players mentioned that if any of us guys ever wanted a girl’s mouth down there, we’d keep ourselves plenty clean. Lesson learned…any problem that any of us had solved.

Becky

September 13th, 2010
2:28 pm

@Mrs.G..Do they even teach sex ed in school anymore? I agree that when I was in school, this is what they taught us in sex ed..

I have been teaching the boy from 2 up, that you have to wash here, here and here..So far, I don’t think that I have to worry about him not being clean..Guess as he gets older, it might change..

@Tiger..Leave it to you to make me laugh today..

Bunch of Yentas

September 13th, 2010
3:18 pm

When you wrote, “Does Coach Dooley need to invest in some of these?”, are you referring to former UGA Football Coach Vince Dooley who retired from coaching in the 1980s?

Cause if so, wow.

Perhaps they will address this on the Andy Griffith show this week. Andy and Barney can tell Opie all about nut cleanliness.

Scoobalicious

September 13th, 2010
4:06 pm

Dooley’s son is The Vols coach.

Teacher, Too

September 13th, 2010
8:09 pm

Remember to wash the clothes. Sometimes the kids take baths/showers, but the they are wearing the same clothes repeatedly when the clothes need to be washed. I do think some clothing, like jeans, can be worn more than once, but it a kid has sweated in them or spilled on them, please wash them!

BlondeHoney

September 14th, 2010
1:27 am

Hi all am traveling for business this week just like MJG…San Diego, Pasadena, and San Jose but couldn’t resist weighing in on this topic. My ex and I always emphasized cleanliness from babyhood on…my ex was VERY fond of telling my boys that “soap is your FRIEND” and it seems to have taken because we never went through any smelly periods with either boy. They have always been very diligent about their persoanl hygiene and still are :)

motherjanegoose

September 14th, 2010
6:18 am

@ BlondeHoney….sounds fun…I am back to Montana! BEAUTIFUL!

Christina

September 14th, 2010
7:30 am

As a mother of two girls and one boy, I can tell you the girls smell just as bad. Also – why the heck do I have to tell them to brush their teeth every morning? Haven’t they had those teeth in their head for a good 12 years now? Why do they act surprised every morning when I send them back upstairs to do it?

so many fools

September 14th, 2010
7:42 am

These comments are from older females with kids. Your perspective is silly. The only wisdom on here is from Tiger Mellencamp. Get with the program; slightly pre- and pubescent boys are motivated by one thing: SEX! They buy axe not because it makes them smell nice; on the contrary, it smells like hell. But the commercials show the guy getting “hair action” or having hotties all over him…So you tell Mom to go buy the axe because it’s about time to have some Sex.

Want your young man to stop stinking? Tell him he’ll never get laid smelling like that. Then give him some real soap. Poof! Problem gone. I know it’s difficult to think of your 13 year old as a sexual being, but if you don’t think that he is at least thinking like that, I’m sure the zoo has some openings as a substitute ostrich.

Joseph Adair

September 14th, 2010
8:17 am

One thing that I’ve noticed to be terribly true is that when Black, Hispanic, and Asian comedians joke that white men do not wash their hands after using the restroom, they are actually telling the truth. Whenever I’m in a public restroom I am astonished at the number of times white men would walk right out of the stall or away from the urinal and straight out the exit door.

@ Joseph

September 14th, 2010
8:20 am

Perhaps it’s because white men wash their privates to begin with?

mom2boys

September 14th, 2010
8:20 am

You don’t even know smelly until you have traveled with lacrosse players — and their bags of equipment in the back of your car after a game! Whew! Even they ask for the windows to go down. And having raised two of these smelly creatures, I can say that although “so many fools” puts it pretty crudely, that’s the truth. Once boys get interested in girls, they will clean up their act. When mine skipped brushing their teeth, I finally started telling them, “No girl is going to kiss you if your breath stinks.” Problem solved. And as they get older and girls are around more, they really begin to get it. Just wait until they start showering two or three times a day. Then you have something to worry about.

Biff

September 14th, 2010
8:24 am

My elementary school PE teacher made every single kid in the class show him their bottles of deodorant, and you got 5 points knocked off your final grade if he ever found out you did not have any.

Jim

September 14th, 2010
8:27 am

I can’t get my 13.7yo son OUT of the shower, he takes 1 or 2 a day. Never been a problem. Made it worse when i put in a endless hot water heater last year when the tank one we had died. Now his showers are even longer because he does not run out of hot water.

Dee

September 14th, 2010
8:33 am

I hate when you are in a restaurant and a kid (male or female I don’t care) comes in with their sports uniform on and they have clearly come from a game. I just want to gag. Parents, at least make them change into some clean shorts and shirt.

Mckenzie

September 14th, 2010
8:36 am

@ Jeff – I always love your comments!
I have a 7 year old and we have always made it a set in stone rule that he bathe and wash his hair daily, even if he doesn’t stink. Hopefully this will avoid any problems in the future. As a family we strive for cleanliness! I do agree coaches and other male role models should encourage showers after practices and washing their equipment. My father was a local head football coach in Ga and though he didn’t like the guys taking their equipment and uniforms home he also spent many nights washing their uniforms and showing the team manager how to clean and care for the stuff that couldn’t be tossed in the washer. (Go Dad) I never realized what he was doing for these guys now as a mother of a boy I can only hope my son has a coach with the same morals and attitude.

Bunch of Yentas

September 14th, 2010
8:40 am

Jim, you know why he is in the shower so long, don’t you? I mean, you know what he is doing in there, right?