As parents, we all eventually face the dilemma of how to tell our boys they smell. It’s funny, but seriously, on an average day when these guys have been catching frogs, playing backyard football, running wild on the playground, back home to eat lunch (50/50 chance they’ve washed their hands at any point in this) and right back at it again.
They do this innocently enough, without any consideration for the aftermath – that sweaty, dirty nastiness that they seem to revel in (or pay no attention to). Is it really so bad? It’s part of growing up, right? Sure, but how do you go from smiling fondly at your children as they play outside, make friends and tear through your house to all of the sudden having “the talk”.
Oh no…I’m not even talking about THE TALK, that’s another blog post for another day. I’m talking about the talk before the talk. I’m talking about the talk that if you don’t talk about it will make the talk you’ll eventually need to talk about a moot point. As with that other, later, potentially not moot talk, there’s a few ways to wash this pig.
Method 1: Subtlety.
The path of least awkwardness, this methods tackles the smell without the need for a head-first, full-contact conversation with the offending party. To start, simply add Prep U products to their room or bathroom while they are out of the house.
Think carefully about placement and subtle psychological cues you can leverage to inspire stink-defeating behaviors such as placing product near the source of particularly pungent smells – body spray next to their dirty clothes, active dry powder near their shoes and equipment bags – to drive home the point that something funky is going on and here’s the stuff to stop it.
Method 2: Direct Method.
Call it respect. Call it brutal honesty. But call it like it is. You. Stink. This approach might work best in families with stubborn children, like my household, who are focused on many other things other than the sound of voice. In fact, it’s scientifically proven that our children are naturally tuned to block out the wavelengths our voices travel on, so the only way to grab their attention is through the verbal haymaker.
It may go something like this “Excuse me, (your son’s name) but do you remember this past summer when we went to the Zoo and it was 100 degrees and they had the petting barn where you could feed pigs and goats and it smelled like microwaved animal hair and burnt cheese? His response: Yeah Dad. That was amazing. Your response: It was amazing. Do you know what else is amazing? That you’ve somehow been able to re-create that smell in your room. (Hand him various Prep U products and walk away quickly before the smell gets ingrained in your clothing.)
Method 3: Subliminal.
Time to hand this problem over to your inner-Jedi. In a flawless execution of the subliminal method, your son will think it was his idea to make personal hygiene a priority. For this to work, you have to tie into one of their hobbies or interests. Have a younger son that loves to draw? Propose a project for them to create a story about a prince or King or any other character of high esteem that tarnishes their reputation throughout the land by refusing to bathe, wash their hands, etc...It’s amazing what can happen when you give them such a wide field of play to create on. Have multiple offenders? Display the artwork in older son’s room and hallway leading to the bathroom. Iron clad option.
Regardless of which method you prescribe to, in the end, you’ll still have your little boy to hold on to, but my guess is that it will be that much easier to hold on to him when he doesn’t smell like a barnyard.