Puberty and Boys

Puberty is a time in life when your body changes from a child in to that of an adult. For boys, puberty usually starts at about 10 to 16 years of age. Puberty is caused by hormones in the body that prompt both physical and emotional changes.

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During this time of puberty, you’ll notice that your son is growing out of his shoes and clothes much faster than usual. Don’t worry, it won’t last forever.

How will his body change?

  • Body Shape: You may notice that in addition to getting taller your son may gain weight and his shoulders will get broader. Your son’s muscles will start growing and he may want to start lifting weights. Be sure to talk with your pediatrician first to be sure your son is ready.
  • Body Size: Your son may feel awkward and clumsier during puberty. This is because his arms, legs, hands and feet may be growing faster than the rest of his body.
  • Hair: Your son will notice hair growing on his face, legs, under his arms and in his pubic area. This is a normal, tell-tale sign that puberty has begun. Your son may decide that he wants to shave. Be sure you give your son his own razor and shaving cream.
  • Penis: Your son will notice changes in his genitals and may not be open to discussing them with you. Remind him that it’s all a part of puberty and if he does want to talk about it you (and his doctor) are there for him.
  • Skin: Acne is something most boys will encounter during puberty. Whether your son has a severe case or a mild case, he may feel self conscious. Remind him there are ways to manage acne. Another change your son will notice is increased sweating; this is because his glands are growing. To manage this, your son should shower daily and use deodorant or antiperspirant.
  • Voice: During puberty you’ll notice your son’s voice cracking – this is a precursor to his voice getting deeper. Reassure him that the cracking is normal and will eventually stop.

Emotional changes

During puberty your son may become more sensitive to what others think of him. All kids want to feel liked and accepted, so it is important to be supportive. You may notice a change in your son’s friends during puberty. Some friends and relationships may become more important to him and others will be less important. He may want more space from you; this is normal and a way for him to assert his growing independence.

The decision to wait or not?

Whether you want to think about it or not, with puberty comes the issue of sex. Your son may notice more intense feelings and may wonder:

  • When is it okay to kiss?
  • When should I start dating?
  • When will I be ready for sex?

As his parent, your son may look to you for answers to these questions and others. The decision of when to become sexually active is a difficult one for anyone to make. Your son may feel pressure to have sex from many different places:

  • Friends: Your son may feel like everyone is doing “it." Or, he may feel that he has to, if he wants to be popular. Remind him that he has to make the choice for himself and think of what is best for him and others involved in his decisions.
  • Media: Sex seems to be everywhere, on TV, in the movies, in music and magazines. The media makes sex look fun, but you need to remind your son that there are serious risks involved. Whether your son decides to wait or not, be sure he understands the responsibilities and risks that are associated with sex.
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