Doesn’t pass the smell test: Should we leave eco-friendly kids up to their own devices on hygiene?

It’s great when kids warm up to green living. But what happens when they get fresh with you on not-so-fresh habits? From reader Kathy:

“My two sons, age 12, shower twice a week, with prompting. I told them most Americans shower daily, and one of them stated flatly, ‘That’s crazy. It’s wasteful.’

I am all for saving water, but I told them it depends on the situation. What is your opinion — should I respect their Earth-loving impulses or, as they begin their teenage years, teach them to pay more attention to personal hygiene?”

Read on for Umbra’s answer. She offers praise for raising such eco-friendly kiddos and suggests ways to help the boys feel better about showering — from turning down the water heater to joining the shampoo-free movement.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of our Ask Umbra advice column, and to celebrate, we’re pulling a favorite gem of eco-advice out of the archives each week.