body odor

  1. Any suggestions on how to talk to a middle school boy about using deodorant? Teacher was complaining and asked me to talk to him. Any unique approach/strategy to use that isn't embarrassing for the student?
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  2. 48 Comments

  3. by   ruby_jane
    I'd say have the teacher speak to him, since the teacher is the one complaining. That complaint makes me irritable.

    Also consider the problem may be dirty clothes and hygiene and not just needing deodorant. You could also suggest the teacher make a general announcement that as we grow up, we need to use deodorant and good hygiene.

    In MS I'd also say talk to the parent. It's entirely possible the parent bought a year's worth of Axe and the kid is not using it. It's entirely possible the kid showers as often as they can get the kid into a shower but still...
  4. by   kidzcare
    Yep- have the teacher do it since he/she was the one who noticed. It would take two seconds for the teacher to privately say to this student "Hey, Kiddo. Once we're in fifth grade we start needing to shower a little more and using deodorant because of normal body changes. Why don't you go to the restroom to wash under your arms real quick and talk to mom/dad about getting some deodorant!"

    It would be 100x more embarrassing for the student to make a special trip to the nurse's office to be told that the teacher noticed he smelled so badly that he/she told other people (which seems like gossiping).
  5. by   peacockblue
    Hate hate hate that hygiene can only be addressed by the nurse. Nope! Not gonna do it. I actually was asked to talk to a high school girl because she didn't shave her legs and it was " gross"!! Lifestyle choice, not health issue. I agree with those posts above that said let the teacher do it.
  6. by   WineRN
    I give this talk a lot and I also hate it because sometimes it is not body odor but clothing as ruby_jane mentioned. We had a girl where staff was convinced it was BO and when she came and talked to me I noticed her shoes looked like they were WELL loved. New shoes, odor gone.

    I still haven't found a non awkward way of giving the talk though
  7. by   ANL6822
    I work with HS age students. I am asked to give this talk frequently, but usually after the teacher or counselor has also addressed the matter with the student. I have found that the best approach is a straight forward one. I make sure we are alone and cannot be interrupted, then begin by stating that I have heard some concerns from teachers that the student has difficulty in class with other students making comments about body odor. I reinforce that we want to help the student be comfortable in class and not feel that their peers are bullying or making fun of them. I ask if the student has hygiene items at home, offer to get them some if needed, recommend they bring deodorant or clean shirt to school if they are going to participate in open gym or PE class. Sometimes I will give the student the option of getting a mini deodorant or clean t-shirt from my supply.

    I have had kids that simply do not have what they need at home, so we work to get those things for them. I also have kids that have animals at home and that odor clings to items like jackets and book bags, so I will suggest they launder those more often and keep those items off of the floor or away from pets at home. I have even allowed a couple students to go home to shower, wash their hoodies or bookbags because they were unaware of the problem until I said something.

    Mostly I have good responses from being straight forward with the student, but I am also kind in my approach, try to imply that I am on their side and want to help, and give the student options for addressing the issue at the time of the discussion. I emphasize that I want them to be comfortable in class among their peers and do not wish to see them bullied for something that be fixed.
  8. by   OldDude
    Even on the elementary level I don't get involved in this. I remind the teachers there is no district policy about kids "stinking" at school. They can deal with it however their conscious leads them.
  9. by   ruby_jane
    Quote from peacockblue
    I actually was asked to talk to a high school girl because she didn't shave her legs and it was " gross"!! Lifestyle choice, not health issue. I agree with those posts above that said let the teacher do it.
    C'MON NOW!!! Teachers shouldn't body shame.
  10. by   Cas1in72
    Im glad to see that I am not the only one who has an issue with this "issue" Last year was my first year of school nursing at the middle school level. I can not tell you how many times I was told I needed to speak with a child about this. Funny, it was almost always the same teacher with complaints about various students. I tried and tried to explain that this was more of a guidance issue or that the teacher ( since she was the one who had a problem with it) needed to be the one to address it with the student. A couple of the kids I had never even met, no relationship established at all. This teacher even wanted me to MAKE a male student shower every day when he got to school. Even said, "you need to make sure he is using soap and washing all of his parts" WHAT?!?!? . UMMMM... No! I explained on about 10 different levels that this was not going to happen. She tried to tell me that they had done it in the past, well this nurse was not going to have anything to do with having a male student shower at school every day. She would actually call from the classroom, on a phone the students could hear her using, and tell me she was sending so and so down because he stinks. I nearly lost it. At that point I took the issue to the principal. I have asked the Gym teachers to address the issue of hygiene and hormones is health and gym class. Dont know if its better or if my meltdown has kept this teacher from acting like she was in the past or if they are taking the issues to someone else. Unbelievable!
  11. by   chasinRT
    You know what's embarrassing? For the kid to be approached by the nurse instead of the teacher who spends all the time with him and noticed it, thereby realizing that the teacher went to someone else and said "Boy does Billy stink."
  12. by   Cas1in72
    AGREE!!!
  13. by   Farawyn
    I would rather be the one to talk to the kids. At least I know I won't be a jerk about it.
    How you approach it depends on the kid.

    No, there is no law about a kid not stinking, but many don't know they stink.
  14. by   Jacquipals
    Thank you for this post. I read it this morning and was just asked 20 minutes ago to tell a student she has BO. It's the first time I've been asked to talk to a student and I was prepared to answer thanks to all of you!

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