Start Teaching Them Early
Boys need to start learning about puberty and what will happen to their bodies before the changes occur.
Because playground discussions are already occurring, parents need to take an active role in initiating conversation, so children have an accurate idea of what to expect. Start these conversations early and use correct terminology, and boys will be less likely to think that something is “wrong” with them when normal body changes occur.
On average, boys begin the first stage of puberty at age 10. Few outward signs of physical maturity are noticeable, but this is the age that male hormones become active. This is an appropriate time to begin talking about puberty, even if your children still seem naïve or immature.
From ages 12 to 14, many boys begin to see pubic hair and experience changes in their testicles, scrotum, and penis. Nocturnal emissions (wet dreams) may begin at this age; spontaneous erections are not uncommon. Boys need to be reassured that these are normal. Remember, these changes do not mean they are contemplating sexual activity.
In addition, boys’ voices deepen and sometimes crack at this stage. Boys grow taller and begin to fill out. Acne may begin to develop, and the first traces of facial hair appear on the upper lip.
These changes continue on average through ages 15 to 16, at which time most of a boy’s adult height will be reached, and facial hair may require shaving. Some men grow until their early 20s and develop more body hair, especially on the chest.
Visit these online resources for more information:
Talking to Your Child About Puberty (KidsHealth)
Male Reproductive System (KidsHealth)
Your Child’s Changing Voice (KidsHealth)