Emeraude Jean-Pierre NYC-School Psychologist
As a Psychologist who’s based in the schools for many years, I’ve encountered countless complaints from teachers asking me if I may contact a parent to have that awkward discussion with them about their kid’s hygiene and how disruptive it is to the functioning of the class. The usual response from parents is” I can’t get him in the shower, it’s a constant battle” or “he does shower but maybe he’s not spending enough time doing it”. Students have confessed to me that often times they pretend to shower by just running the water in the bathroom in order to fool or quiet their parents about showering. This is a major issue with young people ranging from ages seven to as late as young adulthood. The issue of proper hygiene or lack thereof, I should say, is a factor that affects student’s function in school. When a student doesn’t practice proper hygiene, a malodor is evident. It’s noticeable by others and that creates an avenue for teasing, exclusion by peers, bullying and other social issues. As basic a practice as hygiene should be, its one of the factors, if not carried out, can have a psychological negative impact of students such as developing a negative self concept . Parents and guardians are key players in this struggle for clean youngster. I too, have four boys and know first handedly about this struggle. However, we have to do what’s in our power and enforce and encourage this practice. Explain to kids why proper hygiene is important and the impact of not observing this. When choosing a cleansing line, have them pick out what they’d like to shower with, what scent appeals to them. They’re more apt to use something they pick out verses your picking. Make showering and bathing part of their daily routine. You can compromise on the time of day to shower but not on the rejection to showering. Good luck.
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