daughter refuses to wear deodorant - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-05-2008, 01:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My eleven year old daughter smells. Badly.

She just refuses to wear deodorant. I don't know why. She won't discuss it. I actually don't wear it, for some reason I don't really have a lot of body odor, but I do keep a tube of natural deodorant in the bathroom, mostly for show, or if I am going to be doing some sort of heavy exercise.

I don't know what to do. I cannot emphasize how extremely strong she smells.

She is a beautiful, sweet girl, but I think she is struggling with the concept of becoming a woman. She doesn't want to discuss getting bras, either (another thing she really needs).

I've tried to respectfully explain why she should use deodorant, but she just gets mad.

I'm worried that she is causing herself to be socially isolated.

Any suggestions?
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Old 04-05-2008, 10:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by radicalmama View Post
My eleven year old daughter smells. Badly.

She just refuses to wear deodorant. I don't know why. She won't discuss it. I actually don't wear it, for some reason I don't really have a lot of body odor, but I do keep a tube of natural deodorant in the bathroom, mostly for show, or if I am going to be doing some sort of heavy exercise.

I don't know what to do. I cannot emphasize how extremely strong she smells.

She is a beautiful, sweet girl, but I think she is struggling with the concept of becoming a woman. She doesn't want to discuss getting bras, either (another thing she really needs).

I've tried to respectfully explain why she should use deodorant, but she just gets mad.

I'm worried that she is causing herself to be socially isolated.

Any suggestions?
My Ds started needing deodarent at a little over 11.

He was not opposed to wearing it, but he has trouble remebering things that are not important to him. In a way it makes sense, wearing deodarent is a new habit and it is goiong to take time to establish. On a daily basis for the last 9 months I have reminded him to put on his deodarent (and while I am not a fan of micro-managing, in this case the real and potential consequences of not wearing deodarent were too high for me to "let it go".) In the last few weeks, he has started remembering (occasionally!) on his own.

I have brought him to the store and let him pick which deodarent he wants. That helped. People also use a salt crystal, baking soda, witch hazel - hey whatever works!

My Ds also smells way more than his father or I. I only need to put on deodarent every second day. My DH, who showers daily, does not need it at all. Perhaps there is something about young teens and odour - perhaps it explodes as they hit puberty and settles down later? Just hypothesising.

I would let the bra one go for now.

Kathy
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Old 04-05-2008, 04:40 PM
 
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I do not wear deodorant. I do use anitipirperant soap and lots of essential oils.
From 10 on, I found choose my battles and empower them as much as possible. Around that age, my son loved the spray type deodorant. Sallie
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Old 04-05-2008, 05:53 PM
 
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Well we are used to our own smells because we are around them constantly, so of course we don't notice them.

Personally I am not forcing my kid to use deoderant or wear a bra.
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Old 04-05-2008, 06:03 PM
 
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I'd try suggesting spray kind as well. Maybe go out with her shopping for girly things, and let her pick new shampoo, toothbrush, etc. etc. etc.

I also wanted to say that when DSD was going through "no shower" stage, I just got her a book "The Care and Keeping of You" and it was a magical cure.
It's tough fighting these things... you have to find a round-about way to help here.

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Old 04-05-2008, 06:07 PM
 
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I second the shopping trip for girly things, letting her pick the brand/types things she wants. I wouldn't push the bra thing. Is she willing to wear a tight fitting tank top under her shirts as a compromise? I don't wear antiperspirant, either. I don't wear a bra, either. But I am only a 36 B when very full of milk. When non lactating, I am barely an A so it really isn't much of an issue. I do shower twice a day though, so I don't smell. I never really had much or any of a scent according to my dh.
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Old 04-05-2008, 06:31 PM
 
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Rather than telling her why she should, have you asked her why she doesn't, and then given her space to answer honestly? (That means really being open to the answer, with no agenda of changing her behavior or contradicting her reasons.)

Also, she really doesn't need a bra unless she wants one. Being bigger than an A cup doesn't mean one "needs" a bra.
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Old 04-05-2008, 06:58 PM
 
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Rather than telling her why she should, have you asked her why she doesn't, and then given her space to answer honestly? (That means really being open to the answer, with no agenda of changing her behavior or contradicting her reasons.)

Also, she really doesn't need a bra unless she wants one. Being bigger than an A cup doesn't mean one "needs" a bra.
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Old 04-05-2008, 08:08 PM
 
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I was that eleven year old girl, and I remember it so clearly. It was just one more yucky step towards all the yucky, weird, unnecessarily sexual things that I knew were about to start happening to me, and I was NOT happy about it. So I tried to put the whole thing off by postponing deodorant and a bra.

Most of all, I was worried that consenting to deodorant would lead to a in-depth, intimate discussion of "my changing body." A discussion with my MOM, of all people. Eeeeew.

I have gotten over all of this now, FWIW, but I remember it very vividly.
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Old 04-06-2008, 11:30 AM
 
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I would let her decide in her own time when she wants to use these things. It is her body.
I remember that I developed breasts around the age of 11 but I never wore a bra. My stepmother and my father confronted me one day about it and embarrassed the hell out of me. I was mortified.
Don't force her to use deodorant or wear a bra. If you give her space you may be surprised to find that eventually she'll bring it up to you on her own.

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Old 04-06-2008, 01:39 PM
 
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I'd ask her why she doesn't want to and be open to her answer.

This age is hard because there are so many things you "should" do that you didn't have to just a year ago. She's probably thinking "Why do I have to wear deordorant? I didn't have to last summer." and it might be a mild regression in the face of growing up and facing puberty.

Personally, I pat some bakingsoda under the arms and I have never had a smell issue. (Can't say the same for some of the natural deordorants I've tried though.) Maybe that would be an acceptable alternative for her?

Don't push the bra thing, it isn't worth it.

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Old 04-06-2008, 01:42 PM
 
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Deoderants and antiperspirants are full of chemicals; so this is kindof hard for me to suggest; but seeing as how she won't talk about it with you; why not have another adult that she trusts and looks up to (big sister; older cousin; aunt; family friend...?); take her "beauty shopping"...and the deoderant isle can be on the to-do list. There are so many that smell so pretty and there are spray-on one's. Maybe she tried yours and doesn't like the feel of it. There are gels; sticks; spray on's....I'm sure she could find something she likes if left to her own devices with a little guideance (aka: "I LOVE this stuff") from someone she looks up to. You're mom; you might be too close to her in this stage to talk about this stuff.

WARNING: The comments and opinions expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of the community in which I reside; or those of the internet parenting network.
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:01 AM
 
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My 13 year old is like this and I honestly can't figure it out. She won't wear deodorant, she won't shower, and she won't take care of her hair. When I was that age, I was into those things (I was never a hair and makeup girl, but I didn't want to smell or look greasy). It really baffles me.

Her therapists actually commented on her body odor, and she still won't do anything about it.

I have decided to just let it go, because it's not worth the arguments to me ... but I've also told her that there are certain places that I won't take her if she looks and smells dirty.

This is an issue for me because my dd was adopted; she is Ethiopian and I am caucasian and I do worry about people thinking I am not taking care of my daughter. In fact, someone said something to me yesterday about dd's hair and dry scalp. I said that I knew and that dd wouldn't do anything about it (or let me help her with it) and arranged for this person to talk to dd about it.

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Old 04-07-2008, 02:12 PM
 
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From my own experience I think it's a fact of life that from about 12-14 all teenage girls reek. Something about hormones changing, maybe. She's probably just embarrassed to discuss it with you, or she can't smell it on herself, but you are right to at least try and bring it up, if you don't, someone else will and not in the nicest way. Maybe she doesn't like the smell of regular deodorant? Just a thought.
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Old 04-07-2008, 04:15 PM
 
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My 10 yr old dd has been smelling like an extremely raunchy goat for over a year and it was an uphill battle getting her to wear deoderant until very recently. I even bought her that Dri Idea super strong stuff that lasts three days (but only works on clean skin directly out of the shower) and that was great if used correctly but she would always forget it. I tried ignoring it and letting her choose but it was hard to ride in a car with her or be anywhere near her and it was offensive to the housemates as well as causing a huge increase in laundry. I finally picked up one of the new Secret solids and she loves the smell so much (vanilla chai) that I hardly have to remind her to put it on anymore....we are all breathing much easier.
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:52 PM
 
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I second (or third or fourth?) the suggestion of taking her shopping to pick some out. My 14 yo dd recently discovered natural hemp and tea tree oil products and we got her shampoo, facial cleanser, deodorant and soap from the local organic store. And toothpaste. My struggle with her has been getting her to brush her teeth and we have FINALLY found a toothpaste she will actually use.
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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I'm not sure I would fight this fight over deoderant. Mostly because, IMO, it's not that effective. It is not as though every scent gland in her body is located in her armpits, such that the application of a chemical grease would make her smell like Spring Rain, or whatever Mennen is selling this week.

She has BO, which is somewhat normal for teens. I might encourage her to shower more.
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:49 PM
 
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Would it wreck your budget to give her $20 to shop for her deodorant and soap herself? My mom gave me a little money back in the day to pick out my own hygiene supplies-deodorant, shampoo, etc. She also got me a make-up bag sort of thing to "hide" my stuff in so no one knew I "needed" deodorant and such. Perhaps you ccould just say "hey, Sweetie, here's your hygiene kit budget. I can take you to the store Saturday and you can shop while I shop."
As for the bras, mine just appeared in my drawer and I wore them-nothing said. No arguments. They were verry soft and so sparkly white, I couldn't wait to wear one.
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:07 PM
 
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My DSS was the same way around that age. We didn't talk about it with him, I just noticed that he was becoming especially fragrant, and bought him some deodorant. I left it in his bathroom, on the counter, and he started using it. I knew it would embarrass him to have a big talk about it, so I didn't bring it up. I let him choose whether he wanted to use it, but it was there for him. (I crossed my fingers that he would use it, though.) I did the same thing with acne wash - I could see that he needed it, so I just bought it and left it in his shower.

Now I ask him "what kind of deodorant (shampoo, body wash, etc.) do you want?", because if I asked "do you want XYZ?", he'd just say no.

Maybe you could just buy some pretty smelling stuff (I have some asian pear scented Secret that I love!), or the unscented if she's not into smelly products, and leave it in her room? No questions, no discussion.

As for the bra...I'd let that one go. Unless she honestly needs one for gym class (do they still require that everyone wear one?), I'd let her decide if and when she wants to start wearing one.

This is a really good book for girls. I bought a copy, and I'm so impressed with how honestly everything is discussed.
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:14 PM
 
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My ds started smelling at 8.5 yrs. I was very suprised as I have never (to my knowledge at least been a stinky person. We went and bought deodorant but even today, 2 years later she still doesn't wear it regularly. I would suggest a having her bath (and washing her armpits) every day or so. It helps enough and is easier to 'enforce' and less psychologically scaring than putting on deodorant every day.
A
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Old 04-09-2008, 12:49 AM
 
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Deoderants and antiperspirants are full of chemicals;
not all of them, I use the crystals one and even though it is NOT an antiperspirant it helps with the odor. Also wholefoods have a huge isle full of natural deodorants

I remember when I was teen, a classmate (girl) never wore deodorant until she got an anonymous letter from a group of friends (I knew they were sending the letter we discussed it all the time), it was a really nice letter suggesting her to wear 'something' because she smelled She was devastated and embarrassed, but that was the last day she smelled.

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Old 04-09-2008, 01:01 AM
 
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less psychologically scaring than putting on deodorant every day.
Wha ... ?

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Old 04-09-2008, 01:03 AM
 
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Oh yeah, two more suggestions from my corner:

1) my mom always used corn starch ... ... a light dusting under the 'pits and she was good to go!

and...

2) I have, with success, used a cotton ball loaded with tea tree oil ... doused my 'pits... and been stink-free (if a bit minty smelling!) for most of the day. It's worth a try if she'll go for it.
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Old 04-14-2008, 06:14 AM
 
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I bought my own deodorant with my own money when I was 11 because I thought my mom wouldn't let me wear it.

I also started shaving my legs without "permission" at 14.

I was such a rebel. HAHA. Actually, my mom just never wanted to talk to me about that stuff, its funny looking back how FORBIDDEN I thought those things were.

Anyway, maybe in the bathroom everyone can have their own basket hanging on the wall, and in that basket is that persons brush, deodorant and toothpaste, etc. If it's public and obvious like that, maybe she'll feel less weird about it, and wearing deodorant can just be a normal thing that you do. If there are younger kids, their baskets can have lame stuff like bath toys or something that she wouldn't be interested in.

As far as the bra goes, I am SO SURPRISED! to see how many mom's are OK with their daughters not wearing bras! I would never allow for my daughter's nips to be all obvious for whatever boy/creepy old man felt like looking at them! NO WAY JOSE! Wear the bra, pleeeeeeeease wear the bra! Bras are not a "tool of the man" meant to "keep women's parts down," these days. (This is coming from a rampant NO UNDERPANTS advocate). Bras are necessary for maintaining modesty, and they prevent unwanted looks/ sexual attention.

I second the tight fitting under-shirt. I didn't need a bra until I was 15 years old (I was a "late bloomer"), I wore an undershirt to hide the nips until then.

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Old 04-14-2008, 06:30 AM
 
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I would let her go at her own pace. I do not wear bra's and I dont want dd to think she has to wear one so someone wont look at her. Perverts will be attracted to girls no matter what.

I will make sure she wears clothing were it isnt obvious she is bra free but I will never make her wear one.

 
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:13 AM
 
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Hi! I don't know if this will be helpful or not, but I too, had a daughter who at 11 and 12 was opposed to the idea of growing up. She is almost 15 now. She wouldn't talk about bras, her period - anything. In fact, she hid getting her period from for at least 2 months...I started to notice that I was using more pads than I thought I was! We've always been close - and I've always been upfront and honest about sex, etc...so I was unsure where this need to hide it stemmed from.

Anyway, I stopped her in the hallway and paid her $5 (which was a lot to her then) to listen to me for 10 minutes on everything I could think relating to puberty. I ranted about tampons and deodorant (I use a natural, tea-tree oil deodorant), and leg shaving and you name it. Ever since, she has been much more willing to mention when she needs tampons or whatever.

I also have noticed through the years - with both the boys and girls - that if you go and buy the stuff first (I did this with my oldest son who had a terrible acne problem...he kept saying, no, I don't need any acne soap), but once I purchased it and just left it in the bathroom "for anyone who wants to try it" - I found he was using it every morning...and it was working (Which is always vindication for the mother of a teen!).

I would just buy a little "kit" of a deodorant you approve of; a fancy, "cool" shampoo, maybe a new tube of lipgloss and some "welcome to puberty" chocolates...place them in her room - and just say, "for whenever you're ready."

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Old 04-15-2008, 07:33 PM
 
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I HATE deodorant. It feels gooey and gross and it smells awful and makes my armpits itch. When I was a teenager I used to just rinsed my underarms with a washcloth in the sink several times a day during the summer. My mom yelled at me anyhow and told me I smelled like a "guinea pig's cage".

Now I use tea-tree oil deodorant which isn't too bad or just baking soda.

Oh, and I never wear a bra. I can't STAND them. They are soooo uncomfortable. They make me feel like I'm walking around incased in one of those metal scoliosis braces. It drove my mom nuts when I was a teenager (she still fusses at me about it). Now I just wear baggy T-shirts and hope my braless state doesn't drive the guys too wild .
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:59 PM
 
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Does she know that the odor is caused by bacteria? That's how my mom convinced me. Misting Listerine under your arms in the morning keeps you from stinking all day, and doesn't feel sticky or wierd.

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Old 04-16-2008, 03:23 AM
 
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You can replace her regular soap with a deodorant soap until she's ready, and she probably won't even know the difference. Dial makes one, Lever 2000, and a bunch of brands probably. This will help with the smell a little, provided she washes up good. And I think some of the natural solutions are a good idea also, although I've never tried them myself since I prefer deodorant, they sound very interesting and healthy.
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:36 PM
 
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2) I have, with success, used a cotton ball loaded with tea tree oil ... doused my 'pits... and been stink-free (if a bit minty smelling!) for most of the day. It's worth a try if she'll go for it.
I was just coming back to this thread to recommend tea tree oil. You could also put some in a little spray bottle mixed with water and she could just spray a few sprays and be good to go.
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