Teens, middle schoolers, and even some preteens have BO, or body odor. Sometimes, it’s nose-tingling, nose-penetrating, and nose-irritating BO!
Teaching middle school is a sensory job in many ways. For example, the “wall” of sound that comes down the hallway even before students are visible as they enter the school building in the morning is very tangible. Being in a classroom with 25-30 other beings trying to focus their minds on correct sentence structure is very tangible, too. And, then being caught in a cloud of major BO from a passing student is very…ahem…priceless. Believe me, I’ve smelled mild to terrible BO as a former middle school teacher of 10 years.
I bring this subject to your attention because it’s an important one. Personal hygiene is essential for many reasons. Teens, with their changing bodies, may not be aware of how they smell or may not be keeping up with the changes literally exuding out from them.
So, it is your job as the parent to take on the role of graciously informing your child, insisting on more showers, and leading them down the deodorant aisle at the drug store.
It can be a lot of fun, too! Laugh with your daughter as you smell her hair and report back that it smells like very old cheese. Laugh with your son as you drag his hockey, baseball, or whatever sport shoes from the closet with a clothespin on your nose. Pretend to be overly sensitive to the odor emanating from a shirt in the laundry. With this situation, good-natured humor can be the avenue to getting through this life phase with light-hearted family fun.
If your child is more sensitive, however, private conversation with few jokes will be best. Explore online shopping options with deodorants, antiperspirants, preferably ones without aluminum, perfumes, and soaps. For females, many “monthly” personal hygiene products are available. Discussing how normal and wonderful this process is, although odorous, will assist your child to accept it, move through it, and know there is an end to it.
What about the other smelly kids at your child’s school? You are sure to hear stories of how so-n-so smells especially in middle school. You can donate clothes and personal hygiene products for the school nurse or administration to hand out as needed. Donations are always appreciated.
As with any situation in life, you always have options with everything. BO is no exception! Taming body smells can be a source of family fun, education, and bonding.