Need help now?

19 year old son not showering regularly or using deodorant

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

19 year old son not showering regularly or using deodorant

Reply
Casual scribe
2teenageboys

19 year old son not showering regularly or using deodorant

My 19y.o son (CP19) who is a gamer & works with my partner (his stepdad) & myself in our own business, is suffering from quite strong body odour. Some days it’s worse than others.
I have had a talks with him about it and tried explaining about his hormones, sweat, body odour etc. I have also explained to him how to shower correctly & wear deodorant & about clean t-shirts everyday. I have asked him if he knows how to use deodorant correctly, from which I discovered he was spraying it on his t-shirt not on his armpits.
My partner is continuously pointing out to me that CP19’s body odour is bad. I have spoken to CP19 on numerous occasions, always alone, & reminded him about using body soap, shampoo & conditioner & about using deodorant.
On the weekends he often stays in bed or in his room all day & wont have a shower. I also remind him regularly to put on deodorant & ask him if he is wearing a clean t-shirt.
Every time I talk to him about this issue his face goes blank & he stares away from me. I can see in his eyes that he is pissed off about me talking to him again about it. I have told him that if he wants me to stop reminding him all the time or talking to him about it then to do it properly & I will. He has started wearing clean t-shirts most days, but is still putting deodorant on his t-shirt & not showering daily.
This has been going on for quite a while & is starting to cause an issue between me & my partner. To start with I put it down to puberty & that he would grow out of it soon, but it hasn't gone away.
My partner & I went away for the weekend & CP19 stayed home by himself. Before I left I reminded him to shower everyday. When I got home today he told me he did shower everyday, however his BO was the worst it has ever been. I dont believe that he showered at all over the weekend. I made him have a shower after dinner.
I don’t know what else to do to get him to shower & use deodorant. It is causing his room to have a strong BO smell.
I spoke with him again tonight & explained (again) why he needs to be showering daily (not just for the BO) & I have told him that I don’t know what else to do to help him. I even asked him if he had any ideas on what else I can do to help him, to which he ignored me.
I have now set a consequence that if he doesn’t shower daily I will confiscate his computer.
Any advice as to what else to try would be greatly appreciated please
Prolific scribe
Blake-RO

Re: 19 year old son not showering regularly or using deodorant

Message contains a hyperlink

Hey @2teenageboys 

Thank you for sharing this with us.

I can hear that you are concerned about your son's hygiene and body odor and it sounds like this has been something that is going on for some time now. It sounds like you have tried really hard to talk to him about this and help him with this. I can hear how patient you have tried to be with your son, and how hard you have tried to help him with this.

I know that you mentioned that you have had several conversations with him about personal hygiene, but was wondering if you have tried to talk to him about why he finds it difficult or if he has ever shared this with you? If not, do you think that it would be helpful to have this conversation with him to better understand why and if there's something that makes it difficult for him. I was wondering whether your son has any sensory issues that you are aware of?

If this is something you'd be interested in doing, we have some really great articles about communication with teenagers which you may find helpful and may be good as use as a guide to having this conversation with him. If you're interested, we also have an article on creating boundaries and open communication through puberty which you may also find helpful to have a look through. 

 

I was also wondering whether you have spoken to a GP about this or if this is something that you'd consider? A GP would be best to share your concerns with and they would be able to provide you with the most appropriate support.

 

Best wishes,

Highlighted
Casual scribe
2teenageboys

Re: 19 year old son not showering regularly or using deodorant

Hi Natalie, thanks for getting back to me. I will have a look at the articles that you have mentioned.
He was diagnosed with Asperger’s as a child, but I don’t find that he shows much signs of it too often.
I have considered going to the doctors for advice as well, but wanted to see what we could do at home first.
Frequent scribe
Pho-RO

Re: 19 year old son not showering regularly or using deodorant

Message contains a hyperlink

@2teenageboys It sounds like you really are doing as much as you can to try to resolve this issue but I can hear how much of an impact it is having on you. Since your son has autism, I think @Blake-RO might be onto something with the potential of sensory issues being part of this particular puzzle. Having a chat to him about what is happening for him internally might help shed some light on the situation. Perhaps he finds showers really overstimulating (I have heard some autistic people describe showers as being like needles to them), or maybe the particular deodorant feels gross on his skin, or has a scent that he can't handle. If so, the solution might be to have baths (if possible) or to try some different kinds of deodorant. He may also experience something that is known as Persistent Drive for Autonomy (PDA), which you can read a bit more about here. In that case, working collaboratively with him to find ways that he can actively choose to care for his hygiene, rather than needing to be told, might be helpful. It does sound like a tricky situation, I hope that these things help you to find a resolution that works for everyone.