Body odour

We have a delicate situation going on in our house and I want to deal with it sensitively. Yes, my younger son has body odour. He’s only 9 for goodness sake! It doesn’t seem fair. Although the signs have been there for a long time. Incredibly, I first noticed just the tiniest bit way back in year 1, when he was only just 6. He’s been ‘wearing deodorant’ ever since. I’ve put that in speech marks for a reason. Because he rarely wears it. He forgets. Generally it didn’t matter until very recently, unless he’d played a particularly active football match or it was a particularly hot day.

But now it does matter.

He’s always showered every other day, as all of my kids do, and have done since they were babies (well, it was baths then). There was no need for them to shower every day and, frankly, it was a time-consuming and messy business.

Every two days was enough. Yes, he might have been very slightly smelly at the end of the second day, but that was OK because it was shower time.

But now he smells at the end of the first day. Really strongly. There’s no question that he can wear a school shirt for a second day. I’ve given up doing the ‘sniff test’ when I find a piece of discarded clothing on the floor and I’m not sure where exactly on the clean to dirty continuum it falls. Because that smell is nearly enough to knock a person out.

I can’t be cross with him, because it’s not his fault. He doesn’t want a shower every day. It’s a hassle for a 9 year old boy who’s too busy kicking a football round the garden to have to stop and have a shower. But he has no choice.

He says he’s washing himself properly, but he doesn’t really seem to know what that means. My husband has had to show him how much soap, where it goes, how hard to rub and how well to rinse. Then which deodorant to use and how much to spray.

He doesn’t want to do it. I’ve had to say I’m really sorry, but he’s got no choice. I don’t want to make a big deal out of it, but nor do I want people avoiding him because he smells.

He’s my little boy. I feel so sorry for him that he is having to deal with this so early.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Poor lad. It’s hard to know how to handle non-optional things like personal hygiene. It has to be done!

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  2. I have a 9yo daughter and am going through the same thing. She refuses to shower and insists on a bath every other day instead. She too forgets to wear deodorant and has started getting spots on her nose so I’ve just bought her an oil balancing facial wash, but I have to nag her to use it. It’s hard, isn’t it? I feel awful having to nag her, and she hates having to do it 🙁

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  3. I have literally just written the same blog post right down to the 9 year old, the sensitive situation, the showering – I want to assure you I didn’t read your first! How strange but we are experiencing the exact same thing 9 yr old son, now very whiffy under the arms and has issues with the whole washing thing. We haven’t got the deodorant yet and I am at a loss as to what kind to get a 9 yr old, but reading how similar your post is to mine as made me realise maybe this is a normal change to occur at 9? if you find a magic formula please let me know!

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  4. Thanks very much, everyone. It is so hard to encourage them to wash and wear deodorant as they’re not really ready for it. But it seems like it probably is a normal time for it to happen.
    If I discover any magic formula, I most certainly will let you know, Rambling Pages!

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  5. This is something I’ve just started to notice starting for E, the other morning I walked into his room and it smelt like a ‘boys room’ all musty which I’d never smelt before. I haven’t noticed a smell on him or his clothes yet but seriously fear this phase as it’s still awkward to get him to wipe his bum properly! x

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  6. Mine isn’t great at that either! E is nearly a year younger than my boy, so hopefully you will have a bit longer yet. I’m not looking forward to the whole puberty thing at all! x

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