What changes happen to boys during puberty?
It's a tumultuous time, this is what he's going through.
For several years between the ages of 9 and 15 a boy’s body is inundated by a flood of male sex hormones which push his body towards sexual maturity, play havoc with his emotions and may drive everybody else in his vicinity bananas.

Here are some of the more noticeable physiological and psychological changes your son is likely to experience during puberty:

Physical changes
  • The first signs at the onset of puberty are usually an enlargement of the testicles, lengthening of the penis and thinning and reddening of the scrotum.
  • Hair starts sprouting on his face, starting on the upper lip and chin, legs, chest and under his arms.
  • Growth and strength spurts typically peak one or two years after the onset of puberty. His muscles grow, his hips narrow and his shoulders and chest get broader. He starts beating you at arm wrestling! Typically the arms, legs, hands and feet outpace the rest of his body, leading to much comical clumsiness.
  • His voice “breaks” and gets deeper as his larynx or voice box enlarges and his vocal chords grow.
  • Pubic hair starts growing at the base of his penis, getting progressively coarser and thicker.
  • He starts having spontaneous and involuntary erections and wet dreams, all of which is perfectly natural and may or may not be linked to sexual thoughts and fantasies.
  • Many boys experience a swelling of the breasts during puberty, one or both of which may be tender to the touch and have a lump under the nipple. In most cases this so-called pubertal gynecomastia disappears within a few years.
  • His sweat and oil glands also grow, resulting in that greasy hair look, outbreaks of spots, pimples and acne, as well as pungent body odour.
  • His face actually changes shape as his nose is likely to get thicker and his chin longer.

Psychological challenges
  • Mood swings and emotional outbursts abound.
  • His feelings flip-flop haphazardly between anger, aggression, elation, frustration, anxiety, inspiration, exhalation, irritability, sadness, frivolity, depression and everything else in-between.
  • The changes happening to his body can lead to considerable worries as he constantly compares himself to his peers. Is he changing too quickly, too early or not fast enough? Early developers are often excruciatingly self-conscious of their bodies, while late bloomers frequently have to deal with bullying from their peers.
  • Things that are out of his control, like involuntary erections and wet dreams, can become a source of deep confusion and embarrassment.
  • His brain is maturing as fast as the rest of his body and he develops a growing sense of independence, critical thought, imagination and ingenuity.
  • His burgeoning sexuality comes with sexual thoughts and fantasies, considerable confusion, heartfelt crushes and unrequited infatuations. For the first time he starts becoming interested in the opposite sex or he may come to realise that he is more interested in other boys than girls when it comes to intimacy and sex.

Find out more about puberty and boys:

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