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Teen Hygiene Tips

As a parent, it’s your job to help your kids and explain the teen hygiene basics. But where do you start?

Getting Your Kids to Practice Good Teen Hygiene

Altmann says that many kids are receptive to advice about good hygiene. After all, they have a vested interest.

"Teens don't want to smell," says Altmann. "They don't want to have terrible acne. So many don't mind bathing and practicing good hygiene because they don't want people making fun of them at school."

But peer pressure isn't always enough to get kids to adopt good teen hygiene, experts say. Wibbelsman says that he finds boys more prone to bad hygiene habits.

"When it comes to hygiene for guys, there can be a steep learning curve," says Wibbelsman. "Some guys just don't care." They refuse to shower -- even after exercise. As a result, they can smell pretty rank and may start developing rashes and other problems, Wibbelsman says.

So what can you do? Here are a few tips on getting your kid to adopt better teen hygiene habits.

Make good hygiene a responsibility. If your teen is resistant to basic teen hygiene -- like showering after practice or using deodorant -- don't just nag or plead. Explain that taking care of himself is a responsibility, and start treating it like his other household duties. Just as he is supposed to take out the trash and keep his room clean, he now has to look after his hygiene. If he doesn't, there should be clear repercussions, like revoked privileges. 

Start early. Altmann recommends that most parents start talking about teen hygiene issues -- and giving over some responsibility for them -- by age 10.

Don't come down too hard. Don't start by hassling your kids about their hygiene. Try to avoid confrontations. Once it becomes a struggle, your kids might be more likely to dig in their heels.

Make sure your information is up to date. Before you talk to your kids about teen hygiene, make sure you know what you're talking about. Some of the advice you got when you were younger could be outdated now -- or may never have been true in the first place.

Be a good role model. If you want your kid to have good hygiene habits, you need to stick to them yourself. Don't shuffle around the house in pajamas all weekend. And good luck trying to get your kid to use floss if he's never seen you with it.

Pair up. Altmann says that if it's possible, have mothers talk to daughters about teen hygiene issues and fathers with sons. "It often helps if there's a same-sex parent in the house to discuss these issues with the teen," says Altmann. "Kids tend to look to a same-sex parent as a role model for hygiene."

Get some professional backup. If you're having trouble getting through to your teen about a particular hygiene issue, make the pediatrician an ally. "Parents can always ask a pediatrician to discuss or reinforce certain hygiene issues before an appointment," says Altmann. Then once you're out of the room, the pediatrician can broach the topic with your son or daughter.

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