You know the smell. You may not be ready for it, but after one-too-many lackluster hugs after soccer practice and early morning run-ins outside the bathroom, you recognize it. It’s BO. And it’s coming from your b-o-y. It’s time to confront it…and him. Your son needs deodorant.
Though your mom instincts knew the truth, your calendar says you must be crazy. There’s no way your 7, 8 or 9-year old son needs deodorant. Actually, there is a way. And while it might mean that they are entering “precocious puberty” — a term describing the not-so-rare group of adolescents that enter puberty before the more typical ages of 12 or 13 — it doesn’t mean you have to keep avoiding the hygiene aisle. Or maybe your son is, in fact, part of the traditional puberty age group and you just can’t believe this time is already here. Either way, you’re here, they’re here, and we’re here to help you both get through this funk.
First thing’s first: whenever your son starts stinking up the laundry, it’s time to start adding deodorant to his daily routine. Whether you think he’s too young or right on schedule, the “right” time for deodorant is when body odor has entered the household. Body odor is a common sign that puberty has begun. As all those hormones start to shift into high gear, so can the production of sweat. Certainly, if you think his sweating seems excessive, mention it to your doctor, but all his newfound sweat is typically just another indication of normal body changes.
Next, have a conversation with him about his newfound BO and maybe, just maybe, think of it as an opportunity to discuss other new body-changing, age-defying, mom-fearing topics he might be experiencing. It doesn’t have to be so serious, just a chance to let him know that body odor is totally normal and so is everything else coming ‘round the bend.
Finally, follow your nose and help him be part of his deodorant-choosing process. Do a little homework about the many deodorant options, like what to expect from natural deodorant vs. antiperspirants, how a charcoal deodorant works, and when and how often to apply deodorant. Once he feels confident about this change, he’ll be comfortable choosing what’s right for him.
And that is how you handle another deodorant-wearer in the house. Though you never thought this day would come, don’t sweat it (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves).