Dad Threatening To Expose Son Over His Hygiene Backed: 'I Gagged'

A dad has been backed for threatening to expose his son over his bad hygiene habits.

In a viral Reddit post with more than 28,000 upvotes, user u/Normal_Suggestion276 shared the dilemma he was having with his 14-year-old son's hygiene.

With his wife who usually does the household chores sick, he had taken on laundry duty but was shocked by what he found.

"First day I did laundry I gagged and almost puked from his underwear," said the dad. "If he were three and not fully potty trained I might understand how they end up like this. But he is a healthy young man. He should not be leaving his a** this unwiped."

Man loading laundry
A file photo of a man holding his hand over his face while doing laundry. The internet has backed a dad for threatening to expose his son's poor hygiene habits. Wirestock/Getty Images

Speaking to his son about the problem, the teenager agreed that he would make an effort to do a better job. But unfortunately, nothing changed.

"No change in the situation. So I went to the hardware store and installed a wand bidet in the bathroom he uses," said the poster. "We already have one in ours. I told him that he has a choice of either using the bidet or washing his own underwear."

But the son said he didn't know how to use the washing machine, and refused to wash by hand so instead just started going commando—meaning the problem just transferred to his jeans.

When nothing had changed despite his efforts, the dad decided he needed to take action.

"I said that we might need to take him to the doctor to see what is wrong with him. If it's physical or psychological. I also said that the next time his friends were over I was going to ask them if they left their underwear in the same condition," the dad said.

He clarified that he would never actually embarrass him like that in front of his friends, but the effort to get through to his son did not go down well.

"He said I was being an a****** and he called his mom to tell her what I was doing. She said that he was just like that and I could deal with it until she was better," he explained. "I don't think that's a great plan. If this kid never learns to wipe his a** he will be bereft of a sexual partner without a poop fetish."

Clinical psychologist Gemma Harris told Newsweek: "It is important to consider these types of behaviors in context as they can indicate a deeper problem. Hence, the solution may not be in addressing the hygiene problem but in the underlying issue. In a teen, it is worth considering whether poor hygiene is specific to one behavior or is a more generalized problem. For example, do they have attention and sequencing difficulties in other areas that might explain why they forget hygiene routines? It is common for younger children to be so engaged in another activity that they forget to do things.

"In teens, poor hygiene can be associated with declining mental health, like depression, and so it is worth checking for other behaviors that might indicate a wider mental health problem."

In over 5,000 comments on Reddit, users sided with the dad and said that his actions were justified.

One commenter said: "14 is a little late in life to be learning how to clean your butt after using the toilet. Your wife is doing him no favors by allowing and coddling this behavior."

"Straight up: this is a biohazard and it is unacceptable. I would frame it that way. To both your wife and your son. Like literally there can be health complications from this," said another reply. "Tell your son straight: this is not like cleaning your room or taking out the trash. This is not a chore. This is a non-negotiable must-do for your health, and that you're sorry you and his mom were not on top of this sooner."

Poor hygiene is a noticeable behavior, and as a result Harris suggested that it could even be part of a more attention-seeking behavior.

"We often associate [poor hygiene habits] with an intention to get a reaction. On that basis, we ask ourselves why might this person be trying to get noticed and what are they trying to get from others? Does it get more attention—even if negative—or are they trying to push people away for some reason? Are they trying to communicate a feeling that is hard to name?"

In a later reply, the dad explained that the family has booked a doctor's appointment to ensure any underlying issue is addressed.

"There's bigger problems here," said another reply. "He sounds babied. He should be able to use the washer at 14 and most definitely know how to properly wipe and care if he's clean or not."

Meanwhile, Harris suggested that the parents do a little more digging into other potential reasons for the poor hygiene.

"Because of the likelihood that poor hygiene is just the symptom of something else, I would advise parents to firstly focus on getting a good picture of what is going on in their teen's life, checking for academic, peer, family and mental health difficulties," she said. "There may be specific beliefs about hygiene that are worth exploring too. When you do discuss hygiene, try to be gentle and compassionate, with a solution focused mindset, essentially avoiding shaming and blaming."

Poster u/Normal_Suggestion276 did not wish to make any further comment when approached by Newsweek.

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