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How do you teach personal hygiene to teenagers?

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Though personal hygiene is always important, in the teen years it often becomes a much more prominent part of daily life. The subject can be embarrassing for teens to talk about, so it is best to avoid making a big issue of it, but at the same time it is also important to continue to stress the benefits of good personal hygiene, if a teen is unwilling to listen. Explaining that hygiene is a responsibility, similar to any other chore around the house is another approach, particularly one that will have negative consequences if they fail to address it properly.

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Good hygiene should not become a mundane set of a rules, but a daily habit that helps carry teens into adulthood. Fathers should talk to sons about hygiene and mothers to daughters since teens look up to parents of the same sex as a role model. Female teens need to learn about such things as menstruation and breast formation, while boys need guidance on male issues such as erections. It is important not to dance around these issues, but to be straightforward and honest. Giving teens books and reputable health websites are ways of providing additional references.

When the issue of showering comes up, recommend that using a mild soap on such places as the feet, hands, groin and bottom are important, along with washing under the fingernails. Mention that deodorant should be applied daily. Since many teens think they may be sweating more than their friends, providing reassurance that their body is functioning normally alleviates their concerns.

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