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What to Expect When Your Son Reaches Puberty

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What to Expect When Your Son Reaches Puberty

Sep 13, 2021

As a boy begins to mature, their body and mind go through a lot of changes. It can be tough not only for kids but for their parents too. From growth spurts - and the appetites to match - to strange smells to general moodiness, Dr. Cindy Gellner shares her expertise to prepare parents for raising a boy going through puberty.

Episode Transcript

Boys in puberty. Most people think of teen boys eating them out of house and home, needing new clothes because they outgrow them every two weeks, and interesting smells. Well, there's more than that, and I'll help you navigate puberty in boys on today's Scope.

I've got a teenager at my house and one who is about to be a teenager. I can definitely say that all of those things that I just mentioned are absolutely true. But what exactly is going on in their bodies? There's going to be a lot of changes that they may come to you as parents to ask questions about. Puberty in boys can start as early as 9 but really hits between 11 and 14 and lasts for 3 to 4 years. Boys can continue to grow until they are 18 or even 20.

The first thing your boy will notice is that his private area will be changing. His testicles will get bigger, his penis will grow, and he will get pubic hair. Then comes hair under the arms and on his body, and that's usually when the body odor starts too. And you'll need to make sure to get your son some deodorant and you'll probably also need to stress the importance of hygiene.

Voice changes are next. Often boys get pretty embarrassed about how their voice cracks as it gets deeper. At our house, we pretty much just laugh about it because my boys know it's normal and it's happening to all their friends as well.

Their bodies will also start to bulk up, and their muscles will be getting bigger and stronger thanks to testosterone. Testosterone is also what triggers some mood changes in boys, especially the anger issues. So be prepared.

This is also when romances start to blossom so be sure you have the talk with your boys about your family's view on sex, birth control, and protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

Something else that testosterone causes is acne. Acne is not caused by not washing your face or by what you eat but by changing hormones. There is a lot of treatments for acne, including many that are over the counter.

Like I said, boys can continue to grow until they are 18 years old. They will usually have a growth spurt of about four to six inches towards the end of puberty. That's also when more body and facial hair shows up and boys need to learn about shaving beards and mustaches.

What about some of the more uncomfortable things that you may need to talk to your teen boy about? Well, boys start getting erections more, and sometimes they happen at embarrassing times like in the hall at school. They also start having nocturnal emissions, otherwise known as wet dreams. This is when they have erections and ejaculations during their sleep. It's normal. They have no control over it, and it can happen up to a few times per week.

Remember, puberty happens to all of us who make it to adulthood. While things change from each generation to generation, some things are constant, like the changes that happen to a boy's body as they go from being a little kid to being a man. It's a tricky time for kids, and if you or your child have any questions about what's going on in their bodies, be sure to ask your child's pediatrician for help.