Why Won't My Teen Shower? 3 Tips on Teaching Teens About Hygiene

Updated: December 17, 2019
Is your teen or tween going through a phase where they are avoiding the shower? We've got tips on how to encourage healthy hygiene and how to have the tough conversation with your child.
teen boy in bathroom

It’s more common than you might think to have your tween or teen going through a phase where they are avoiding the shower. This conversation can be a difficult one to have with your child, as it may be awkward for each party, but luckily there are ways to discuss this without anyone getting hurt or upset. 

More: How Parents Can Help Teens Destress

There are a few reasons why your child may not be taking proper care of themselves, so we’re here to guide you through the process of having a painless discussion.

Difficulty Adjusting

teen girl popping pimples in mirror

Some teens may be having a difficult transition, especially if they are going through puberty, with having to more regularly clean their bodies. Before entering the tween years, it’s not as big of a deal to skip a shower or bath, but once certain physical changes begin, it’s important they understand how to take care of themselves. 

It’s not unusual for children going through puberty to feel uncomfortable with their body, so that could play a role in their reasoning. For instance, working up a sweat in elementary school gym class is far different than middle school, because their sweat will now smell differently than before.

Our Advice

If you have not already discussed the changes which come thanks to puberty with your child (such as increased body hair and heightened perspiration), now would be an opportune time to do so. If you have already discussed puberty with them, it may be the right time for a reminder that they should be rinsing off in the shower almost daily to continue feeling and looking their best. 

Too Many Distractions

distracted teen doing homework and eating pizza

Between eating healthy, after-school activities, chores at home, friendships, and even dating, your child likely has a lot on their plate. It can be understandable that some things may fall by the wayside, and for some teens, hygiene is one of the things that can be forgotten about in the flurry of a busy day. Or, it may be that they are procrastinating each night before their shower, and putting it off until the morning, only for them to not do it before a day at school. 

Our Advice

If it seems their lack of showering is due to sheer procrastination, treat hygiene as you would any of their other chores and put consequences in place if they do not comply with showering. Like you may have to compromise with their decor choices in the bedroom, you may have to do the same in this scenario. Treat showering the same as you would any other responsibility they are assigned by you, and only allow video game or TV time once it’s accomplished. 

Mental Health or Depression

depressed teen boy on bench outside

Unfortunately, this could be a sign of something more serious than distractions or being a procrastinator. Even if you feel in tune with your teen, there could be things they are holding back from you internally about school, friends, their body changes, and more. Knowing the signs and symptoms of teen depression, which can include changes in sleeping patterns and general hostility, can be a resource for you to be on higher alert when it comes to their mental health.

Our Advice

First and foremost, consider setting up a time to have them speak with the counselor at school. If you feel your situation warrants a higher level of intervention, speaking with a therapist or mental health professional could be beneficial, as well. 

While this topic of conversation may not be pretty, it’s important to instill good hygiene habits in your child from a young age which they will carry into their teen years, and later the rest of their life. In most cases, it may be best to be straightforward with your concerns, as making even the smallest of jokes could hurt their feelings and backfire on you in the long run. Setting a good example from yourself, and older siblings if applicable, and showing your good hygiene habits can also be a positive influence on your teen. 

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a Pinterest guide to teaching teens about hygiene