How to Get Through Your Tween's 'Gross' Phase


Let me address an issue that first time parents may be worrying about. Many kids go through what I like to refer to as the “gross” phase. It usually begins around the age of ten and can go on for quite some time. They don’t want to bathe, brush their hair, or even shave when it’s time to do that. At some point, they just start emitting this weird odor when their hormones begin to kick in. It smells like a combination of sweat and 10-day-old socks!

I remember my daughter having a “rats nest” at the base of her skull because she refused to brush her hair. It was a tangled up mess and she would cry every time I tried to brush it, claiming she had a “tender head.”

So, ok, I went with that. She walked around with a mound of tangles under her long hair for weeks until she couldn’t live with it anymore. She finally agreed that we needed to make an appointment at our hairdresser. The consequence for her was four inches cut off and a new bob-style cut. She cried and cried. I felt bad for her…almost. I will tell you, she never complained about brushing her hair again.

Pretty soon it was time for her to begin shaving during this glorious stage. She had no interest in it whatsoever. I pleaded with her, I tried to bargain with her, but it was no go. It wasn’t until after she had a full grown carpet under her armpits and she could practically braid the hair on her legs that she finally came around. Was it frustrating? It was for me, but for her at the time, it wasn’t a big deal. She eventually came around once she got a little older and realized herself that it was kind of gross.

I want to let parents out there know that this is nothing to worry about. I think it’s just a kid trying to exercise a little independence. They go through this relatively short stage and then they grow out of it—so parents, don’t stress. Hey, you’ll have great stories to reminisce over when they become adults! “Remember when you never took a shower?” And you’ll laugh and laugh.