Don't Fret the Sweat

Infants have their own delicious smells, with their sweet baby breath and fuzzy little heads. Even their bad odors are okay: they’re just so baby precious. It was always a shock to me the first time mine had “bad breath,” a sign that they were growing and changing.

Next come those active young years, when they come in from playing outside and I lovingly say they smell like “the great outdoors,” grass and dirt and sunshine. More growing, more changes.

Fast forward to puberty. Those hormones affect everything—acne, growth spurts, and the way your children smell when they sweat. Unfortunately, sometimes they’re the last ones to notice the stink (and let’s just be honest, that’s what it is).

These moments in motherhood require an extra measure of grace: it’s your job—with tact and discretion—to teach your kids how to handle these changes.


At BlissDom I filmed a BlissTV segment with Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes, about the tricky ‘tween years, and the challenges moms face addressing the issue of sweat and smell with their children. We’ve had four teens so far, three boys and a girl, and I can tell you that they’re all different.

My boys play sports and I’ve been able to be pretty straight forward with them. My 16-year-old son always wants to shower after baseball practice; he likes to be clean and smell good, and he’s really no problem.

When my 20-year-old son ran cross country in high school, we drove 45 minutes each way for early morning practices. After a couple of weeks of sitting next to him in the front of the van on the way home, I requested he bring both an extra t-shirt to put on after practice (and put the sweaty one in the very back of the van) and a towel to cover the seat.

Learning to be considerate of others (and their noses) is a valuable part of growing up.


My 14-year-old daughter is very private; she really doesn’t like anyone in her business too much, as much as kids need it at this age. I keep deodorants marketed to teens, like Degree Girl, in our stash of personal care products; she knows they’re hers.

It’s a delicate balance, but we’ve managed to respect her privacy and keep her fresh at the same time.

Unilever—the maker of Dove, Degree, and Suave deodorants—created the Don’t Fret the Sweat Facebook page, full of money-saving offers, advice, and real-life stories to help parents guide their awkward ‘tweens into confident teens. Check out the DFTS website at

{Disclosure: I am being compensated for partipating in the Don’t Fret the Sweat campaign.}

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