Teen’s excessive bathroom routine. I feel it’s wasteful, but don’t want to intrude

Believe me, I get it.

You’ve noticed your teenager’s bathroom routine seems a little, well, excessive.

Maybe they’re taking hour-long showers, or maybe they’re flushing the toilet five times for every visit. To you, it seems wasteful. You can practically hear the water bill climbing with each twist of the tap, and it’s hard to ignore the environmental implications.

But you also don’t want to intrude.

After all, we’ve all been teenagers once. It’s a time of self-discovery, and sometimes that self-discovery happens in the bathroom. And yet, you can’t help but wonder if there’s a way to strike a balance, to reduce waste without stepping on your teen’s toes.

Navigating this delicate situation can be tricky, but don’t worry. We’re here to help.

This is the point where I’d like us to take a deep breath and step into this somewhat unusual yet quite common parental predicament, together. Let’s explore how we can approach this without seeming intrusive or dampening our teenager’s newfound independence.

1. Open up a conversation

First things first.

Before jumping to conclusions or making assumptions, it’s important to establish a dialogue.

Your teenager might not even realize their bathroom habits are a bit over the top. Start by gently bringing up the subject, expressing your concerns in a non-confrontational way. This isn’t about accusing or blaming, but rather about opening up the channels of communication.

Respect their privacy while explaining your perspective. It could be as simple as saying, “Hey, I’ve noticed you’re spending quite a bit of time in the bathroom lately. Is everything okay?”

This approach shows that you’re coming from a place of care and concern, rather than judgment or criticism. It might just be the gentle nudge they need to evaluate their habits and make some changes.

2. Share your experiences

This brings me back to a personal instance.

When my daughter turned 14, she started spending an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom. Initially, I didn’t think much of it. I attributed it to her growing up, maybe experimenting with makeup, or just wanting some alone time.

But then I started noticing the spike in our water bill.

One day, I decided to sit down with her. We were having our usual mother-daughter chat, and I casually mentioned my observation. I told her how when I was a teenager, I too would spend a lot of time in the bathroom. It was my escape, my quiet place. But our circumstances were different and we had to be mindful about our water usage.

She looked surprised but then she nodded, understanding what I was trying to say.

Sometimes, sharing your own experiences can create an environment of empathy and understanding. Your teenager might be more inclined to listen and modify their behavior if they see you’re not just lecturing, but relating to them on a personal level.

3. Address the elephant in the room

I’ll be frank here.

Sometimes, this issue is not just water bills or environmental concerns. It can also be something we, as parents, often find hard to discuss – puberty.

Puberty is a sensitive time, especially when it comes to body changes and personal hygiene. Your teen might be spending more time in the bathroom because they’re dealing with these changes. They might be feeling self-conscious or embarrassed and that’s completely normal.

I remember when my daughter hit puberty, she suddenly started taking longer showers. It took me a while to realize it wasn’t just staying clean. It was also navigating this new territory of body odors, acne, and other changes she wasn’t quite ready to discuss openly.

It was an awkward conversation to have, but it was necessary. We talked about puberty, hygiene, and how it’s okay to take time for personal care but also essential to be mindful of excess.

It’s not always an easy talk but addressing these issues head-on can help your teen feel more comfortable and understood.

4. Encourage responsibility

Here’s something else that has worked in my favor.

Encouraging your teen to take responsibility for their actions can be an effective way to address excessive bathroom habits. It’s not shaming them or making them feel guilty, but helping them understand the impact of their actions.

I decided to let my daughter in on our household expenses. We sat down and went over the water bill together. She was surprised to see how her long showers were affecting our monthly expenses.

This was a wake-up call for her.

From then on, she started taking shorter showers and became more conscious of her bathroom habits. She learned the financial implications of wasteful behaviors and took responsibility for her actions.

5. Show patience

When it comes to altering habits, especially those of a teenager, patience is truly a virtue.

Change doesn’t happen overnight. I had to remind myself of this multiple times as my teen navigated their way through adjusting their bathroom routine.

There were setbacks, there were mistakes, but with each passing day, I saw progress. And that’s what mattered the most.

If you’re trying to address your teen’s excessive bathroom routine, remember to be patient. Give them time to adjust and understand the importance of what you’re asking of them.

Because in the end, it’s not just water conservation, it’s teaching them responsibility and mindfulness – lessons that will serve them well beyond their teenage years.

6. Lead by example

This is perhaps the most crucial point.

Your teen is constantly observing and learning from your actions. When you want them to be mindful of their bathroom habits, start by examining your own.

Are you leaving the tap running while brushing your teeth? Are your showers longer than necessary? Do you often forget to turn off the lights when leaving the bathroom?

Address these habits first. Show your teen that you’re not just preaching, but practicing.

When they see you making an effort to conserve water and be more mindful of your habits, they’re more likely to follow suit. After all, actions speak louder than words.

The final reflection

There’s no denying it – navigating the turbulent waters of teenage years can be challenging, especially when it comes to their personal habits.

But this phase does not have to be a battleground.

With understanding, patience, and open dialogue, you can guide your teenager towards more mindful bathroom habits without intruding on their personal space. It’s not imposing strict rules or stifling their independence. It’s fostering responsibility, respect for resources, and a sense of balance.

As you embark on this journey, be mindful of your own actions. Be the role model they need. And most importantly, remember that it’s okay to have these conversations. After all, isn’t that what parenting is all about – guiding them through life’s complexities while giving them the room to grow?

It won’t be an overnight transformation, but with time and consistency, change will come.

So in your quiet moments of reflection, know that you’re doing the best you can. These small efforts today are shaping the adults they will become tomorrow. And that in itself is a victory worth celebrating.

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

Tina Fey is a nomadic writer with a background in psychology, specializing in child development. Born and raised in diverse cultural settings, she developed a deep understanding of human behavior and the intricacies of parenting. Driven by her passion for helping others, Tina now contributes to Careful Parents, offering practical advice and insights drawn from her expertise and experiences. Through her articles, she aims to empower parents with effective strategies for nurturing healthy relationships and fostering their children's growth.

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