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Puberty: The changes your son will go through

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Puberty is an awkward necessity we all have to endure and boys are just as conscious about the changes their bodies are going through as girls are. From growing facial hair to developing a deeper voice that can put Barry White to shame; the changes your teenage boy will go through will come at different stages and will vary from child to child so make sure you know what to expect and support him throughout this period.

When does puberty start?

Changes usually start to take place between the ages of 12 and 14 but can start as young as 10, often with their voices ‘cracking’ caused by the larynx enlarging. Boys want to grow tall and develop muscle so don’t be surprised if he develops a keen interest in his appearance and wants to hit the gym or start lifting weights. Along with this growth spurt and change in their outward appearance, the changes in his reproductive organs will become more noticeable. Pubic hair will develop along with penile growth and enlargement s and ‘dropping’ of the testicles.


Although boys will have experienced erections from a young age, as they develop through puberty, they will become more frequent due to the increase in testosterone production. Unfortunately for boys, there is often a lack of control of when these erections take place and this can lead to a few embarrassing situations. They aren’t always sexually triggered, just standing to talk in front of class or talking to a girl can lead to erections and other kids are quick to pick up on these embarrassing moments and tease.

Make sure he realises this is perfectly natural and even if his mates are having a laugh at his expense, they too will be going through the same changes sooner or later. These erections tend to occur frequently during the night and lead to ejaculation during their sleep, commonly known as ‘wet dreams’. If this happens don’t embarrass him further, but let him know they will become less frequent and the majority of men will have experienced them at some point during their teenage years.

Everyone’s different

The size of a boys ‘manhood’ will be a point of notoriety throughout their lives and most men, regardless of age will have an opinion on the size of their penis. Make sure he knows that they develop at varying rates and every one is different. The size of a flaccid penis bears no resemblance to when it’s erect and penis size is no reflection of sexual function, so set any worries at ease.

New smells

puberty: the changes your son will go through

When boys hit puberty, their hormones will go a little wild and also cause the body to sweat and develop odour. While he might see this smell as a right of passage to manhood, it’s important he showers regularly and uses deodorant every day. He might relish in these new found scents but for others, body odour isn’t pleasant and other kids can soon pick up on differences between them, using these as a trigger for name calling, teasing or bullying.

Skin, hair and spots

These additional hormones will also cause his skin to produce extra sebum which can result in greasy skin, hair and acne. Acne can be very embarrassing and confidence draining so make sure he regularly cleans his face and you can buy over the counter spot treatments to help. If the acne is sever or persistent, your doctor will be able to prescribe some stronger medication to help clear up the problem.

Embarrassing bodies

Other physical changes may include developing male breast tissue. A little extra breast tissue is totally normal but more pronounced growth might be a little embarrassing. It will usually settle down within a year or so though and it’s important your son knows there’s nothing wrong with him. If he’s worried about extremely pronounced breast tissue and it’s causing him distress, he might want to speak to his GP for reassurance or some form of treatment in more extreme cases.

Beards and ‘Tashes

Lastly, facial hair will announce to all that your son is growing into a man and he’ll either want to keep as much facial hair as possible to wear with pride or take great joy in being able to shave regularly. Facial hair often starts as fine fluffy hair on the top lip and it might be worth checking the school rules on what is acceptable in the form of facial hair before he decides he won’t be picking up the razor any time soon!



About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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