We need a referee in a minor discipline issue. My son is seven and usually a real joy. However, his personal hygiene is not always so good. A few months ago we had some friends over the house. “Zander” was walking around smelling pretty bad. It was obvious to me, and I assume my friends, that he had either pooped in his underwear, or, more likely, had, for the 100th time, not wiped his butt properly. I was disgusted at his lack of self pride and I told him he was really stinking it up. He was embarrassed, but considering the seriousness of his smelly error, he deserved to be. Later my wife told me I was out of line. It’s her opinion I should do discipline privately, and not in the company of others. In this case I disagree because he has been lectured before on this problem, and it’s had no effect. I say that the public embarrassment added more motivation for him to take this matter more seriously. What do you say?
When I worked at a children’s residential facility, I discovered the boys were not using soap when they took showers. Instead, they washed their hair with shampoo and “got clean” as the shampoo rinsed out of their hair, down their bodies! No wonder they had a consistent smell about them. Then there was another boy, we’ll just call him B.O. BillyBob. I went and bought him deodorant out of my own pathetic pay check and “urged” him to use it. The next day, it was still Pepe le Pew. He insisted he had put it on, but it didn’t work. I got the can of spray and asked him to show me how he put it on. He took the can, lifted up his stinky arm pit and sprayed it... ON HIS SHIRT. Yow! My bad. I thought everyone understood how to put on deodorant. My error, not his.
At the risk of getting too gross here, may I suggest you pay attention to the slightly sickening details of how YOU wipe your butt. How to fold the paper, how many times you get some more paper, how to know when you’re done, etc. Then, as non-embarrassingly as possible, you have a little private class with you son. You can even lie a little to him and confide you also had a problem with wiping when you were young. A live demonstration is not necessary (whew). His rear stinks? Your bad, probably not his. As for the embarrassing your son in public, it sounds like you are a good Dad with proper expectations of your son. Thus, an action like you describe was born from anger and disgust, not good teaching. Get back to being a patient, good Dad and teach your kid lots of stuff.
P.S. obviously your wife was right about this issue.