Puberty is the time when a boy starts to mature into a man. It can be a challenging time both physically and emotionally, as the body starts to develop, hormones start raging, and there are social pressures to contend with.
Teenagers start to test boundaries and discover their own independence as they transition into adulthood. All of these things are normal, but if they are unexpected or if the individual does not have a good support network, then they can struggle with this stage of development.
When Does Puberty Start?
Boys tend to enter puberty slightly later than girls. The average age for a boy to enter puberty is 12, although it is not abnormal for puberty to start as early as age nine or as late as 14.1
There is some evidence to suggest that puberty is starting at a younger age, on average.2 It is thought that this may be linked to the increasing body weight of the average child.
Stages of Puberty
Puberty is divided into several stages, known as Tanner Stages, that describe how physically mature a young person is. The stages look at pubic hair and the size of the testes to determine whether a child is still pre-pubescent, going through puberty, or completed puberty.3
The signs of the onset of puberty in boys include: 4
- Growth of pubic hair and facial hair, as well as hair elsewhere on the body
- Enlargement of genital organs
- Increased muscle growth
- Growth spurt
- Increased sweating
- Deepening of voice
Common Challenges of Puberty for Boys
Growth spurts can bring with them some challenges, including growing pains and also some clumsiness. Often, the limbs get bigger before the rest of the body, and a young person may struggle to adapt to their new body for a while.
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Both boys and girls experience a growth spurt, but boys usually experience a bigger one, and theirs tends to last longer, with their growth stopping between the ages of 20 and 22.5
The rush of hormones that coincides with the onset of puberty can be difficult for teenagers to cope with as they become interested in the opposite sex, experience anger and mood swings, and struggle with the increasing need for independence.
So far, there have not been many studies done on the impact of puberty on developing brains, but researchers agree that brains develop structurally and functionally during childhood and adolesence.6
Boys may also struggle with acne, body odor, and the self-consciousness associated with being one of the first (or last) to start shaving or to have their voice “break.”
Coping with Puberty
School can be a harsh place, so it’s important that a young man feels comfortable at home. A child who is feeling unhappy about delayed puberty will need reassuring that they will catch up to their peers. A child who is going through puberty early should have the positives emphasized.
Sweat and acne are two of the less desirable aspects of puberty. Where young boys may have gotten away with not worrying about perspiration too much, young men will need to be more proactive about showering and using deodorants or body sprays.
Consider making an all-natural, essential oil-based deodorant out of cedarwood, bergamot, patchouli, and frankincense mixed with coconut oil as the carrier oil. This provides a nice deodorizing scent, and cedarwood is an antimicrobial agent that will help to kill off the bacteria that make sweat smell.7
Puberty is a challenging time for young men, but it is a time when they have the chance to learn who they are, make mistakes, and develop into adults. With support from those around them, puberty can be a time of making memories and enjoying new accomplishments.
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