So you want to talk with your son about puberty and about what he can expect but are not really sure just what it is that happens during male puberty? You're not alone. So consider this your crash course on boys puberty.
A Late Start
Generally, boys enter puberty a few years after girls. While girls can start puberty as young as 8, most boys won't start puberty before the age of 10 (although a few may begin as young as 9). Obviously, this means that boys will finish puberty later into adolescence than girls. However, even if your son started puberty at the same age as your daughter, he would still probably stop maturing later as puberty in teen boys can go on for as long as five years.
The first signs of puberty in boys is usually the enlargement of the testicles followed by the growth of the penis. These two organs will continue to grow throughout puberty, finally reaching their full adult size towards the end of the puberty stages.
Once the testicles and penis have started to develop, your son may notice some hair beginning to grow near the base of his penis. Yes, these are the first seedlings of his pubic hair. Throughout puberty, this hair will continue to grow in an outward and upward fashion and become thicker, darker and curlier as he matures. Around the age of 12, he will probably start to grow some underarm hair as well.
There is also a good chance this hair will be accompanied with some underarm odor, so you may want to hand him a stick of deodorant and point him in the direction of the shower on a daily basis. If he starts noticing more pimples on his face, which are due to the increase in hormones that cause his oil glands to go into overdrive, buy him a mild face cleanser to wash with everyday.
Boys + Puberty = Erections
Going through the different stages of puberty in boys is not always a pretty thing. Perhaps one of the most embarrassing aspects of teen puberty for boys is having to deal with spontaneous erections, erections that occur without necessarily any physical or sexual stimulation. While males get these erections all throughout their life, even in infancy, it is during puberty that boys tend to frequently find themselves standing at attention for absolutely no reason.
Along with these erections, your son is likely to experience wet dreams, or nocturnal emissions, when he sleeps. Nocturnal emissions refer to the common occurrence of ejaculating during sleep. While he may not find much solace in the fact, both spontaneous erections and wet dreams are perfectly normal behavior for a developing boy. As his body continues to grow and mature into an adult body, both of these activities will subside.
Cracks and Lumps
As if boys during puberty didn't have enough to deal with, some boys may find that they are developing breasts. About half of all boys will develop small, firm, sensitive lumps underneath their nipples in early puberty. These lumps are similar to the breast buds girls develop early in puberty. However, unlike the female version, these lumps are not permanent. In most instances, the lumps go away after 6 months to two years.
One of the most common signs that a boy is going through puberty is hearing his voice crack. As his body grows, so do many of his organs, including the larynx (or voice box). As the larynx grows, it becomes not only larger but also thicker, thereby causing the voice to deepen. However, during the growth period, your son's voice is likely to crack. He may even make funny sounds when he speaks as his body gets used to a bigger voice box. This cracking shouldn't last more than a few months.
But not all males will have to deal with their voice cracking. For some, the process is very quick and your son may go from sounding like a boy to sounding like a man practically overnight. Interestingly, the growth of the larynx also occurs in girls, but the change isn't as drastic. Therefore, girls are able to avoid speaking with a wobbly voice during puberty.
Growing, Growing, Gone!
Throughout puberty, your son will do a lot of growing. The average male grows a whopping 11 inches during these few short years. While he will begin to get taller right from the get go, the major growth spurt generally happens around 14 and he may grow as much as 4 inches in one year. However, his hands and feet will be the first to grow, followed by his arms and legs. This means your son is likely to have many moments of feeling awkward and rather clumsy. By the time he is 16 or 17, though, his body should be all evened out and he will be standing at his full adult height. But if he started puberty a bit late, then he could still be growing.
In addition to the height that your son gains, he will also put on weight during his growth spurt. His body shape will become more angular as his shoulders broaden. With the increased production of testosterone, he will also add more muscle mass to his body. This change will be most apparent in the upper body, particularly in the chest and shoulder area.
Puberty isn't just about physical changes, though. It is also about emotional changes. With the influx of hormones going through your son, he is likely to seem more emotional, be easily frustrated as well as have increased mood swings. Unfortunately, these emotional changes may not end once the physical changes are done; the emotional side of puberty can continue on through the teen years and even into the early 20s.
's Just too Early
The ago of puberty for boys can range from 10 to 15 although some boys may start puberty as early as 9. However, starting puberty too soon can be problematic. Known as precocious puberty, it occurs when boys before the age of 9 begin to mature. This early puberty in boys can cause developmental problems and should be treated by a doctor. If your son displays any of the following signs of maturation before the age of 9, make an appointment with his doctor:
- Appearance of pubic, underarm or facial hair
- Growth of the testicles or penis
- Deepening of the voice
With a proper diagnosis, precocious puberty can be halted until your child is older and his body is ready for puberty.
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