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How can I tackle my children who are careless about hygiene?

Q: My 12 and 10 year old sons are very reluctant to use soap during their bath. I have tried giving them rewards and changing soaps, but no use. Brushing teeth is another problem for them. They seldom comb their hair unless I force them to do so. Please advise.

A:I know boys sometimes place no importance on personal hygiene, but I haven't heard of such adamant loyalty for the natural state and such disdain for the niceties of civilization! Surely there are rules at school too. Can the teachers not help in this process? What about the father? You can give your sons a choice of being totally bald (which you will see is done if they do not wash their hair regularly) or taking showers and using shampoo etc. Show them how terrible it is to be in the same room with un bathed people, by making them smell a dead lizard or a dead rat. Ask them if they want to be shunned by their friends. Once a week, you could give them a bath and showing on them, all the major steps. Instead of offering new soaps as reward, you might think of something (to play with or to eat) as a reward, that is really a reward in their eyes. Also you could refuse to serve them dinner unless they are properly bathed. One evenings starvation will not be so difficult. But let them not substitute dinner with junk food that they can buy. Be firm with them, while also showing that you care.

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