A few weeks ago my 11 year old son woke up not feeling well. He stayed home from school that day and ended up missing part one of ‘The 5th Grade Video’. You know which video I’m talking about-most of us have seen it (or some variation of it) during our own childhood. The movie is a rite of passage for 5th graders and the kickoff into the world of puberty.
My son was pretty disappointed that he missed ‘The Video’. The disappointment quickly turned to horror when he realized the DVD would be sent home and we would watch it TOGETHER. For those of you who don’t have children, this is the WORST possible scenario for a 5th grade boy: mom, son, popcorn and the puberty video. No giggling allowed.
We sat down with my laptop and plugged in our headphones. I’m pretty much an open book when it comes to this stuff, so the video was no big deal to me. Not so for him. We were instructed only to watch the ‘boy’ segment. After 18 minutes of watching him squirm we turned it off and I asked if there was any new info. He proudly exclaimed “nope”.
Deodorant and antiperspirant for 5th graders
Then came the amazing part: we launched into a very interesting discussion about deodorant. The video stressed over and over that the boys should start wearing deodorant. There was also mention of antiperspirant.
My son walked away from that 18 minute video with one piece of new information. He needs to buy deodorant and he needs to wear it NOW.
I walked away from the video with very mixed feelings. Not every 5th grader needs deodorant. No 5th grader should be wearing antiperspirant. As we all know, kids develop at different rates. There might be some kids out there who have begun puberty and are offensively smelly. Yep-deodorant might help them out in the social scene. But it really comes down to personal choice, not a video mandating that they wear it.
We need to provide education about deodorant and antiperspirant
Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain controversial aluminum and their ingredient list is long and filled with other suspicious chemicals that I don’t want on my body and I certainly don’t want on my 11 year old’s body. The video didn’t mention any of that.
We are a culture obsessed with smelling pretty. Take a stroll down the deodorant isle at any supermarket and the options are endless. A recent poll of over 500 parents revealed that approximately 50% of children ages 4 to 11 are using deodorant by age 11.
Say no to antiperspirants
Aluminum-based compounds are the active ingredients in antiperspirants and they block the sweat glands to keep sweat from getting to the skin’s surface. Some scientists have claimed that using the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may be a risk factor for the development of breast cancer and/or Alzheimer’s. If you are determined to use a product use deodorant (not antiperspirant).
Find a safe, non-toxic deodorant
Avoid toxic chemicals. Avoid all deodorants with aluminum, parabens, chlorohydrate, propylene glycol, triclosan, TEA, DEA, FD&C colors, and Talc. Check the safety of all personal care products on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.
Overall ‘The Video’ was filled with the perfect amount of information for a 5th grade mind. Thankfully, for the moment my son has forgotten about deodorant. I’m sure we’ll be revisiting this discussion soon.
How would you handle the 5th grade deodorant debate?