What Happens to Boys During Puberty?
At first, boys will probably notice their testicles growing larger or some pubic hair appearing. These early signs of puberty generally happen between the ages of 9 and 13.
Later, a boy will begin to notice his penis growing larger. He’ll then have his fastest growth spurt when he’s about 14. Body hair will appear on his underarms, face, or chest.
As boys’ hormones change, they will get erections more often. It’s common for erections to happen at any time, even when a boy is not thinking about sex. These are called spontaneous erections. Boys may worry about having them in public. We can let them know that these erections will only last a few minutes. We can also let him know that a well-placed jacket or book bag can prevent others from noticing.
Boys generally begin producing semen between the ages of 12 and 16. They might have their first ejaculations while masturbating or during a “wet dream” — ejaculation during sleep. Wet dreams are also called nocturnal emissions.
It’s important to tell boys about wet dreams before they happen. Otherwise, they may find them quite disturbing.
What are the Major Concerns During Puberty?
Children going through puberty need lots of reassurance that they are normal. We need to help them understand that every person is different from every other person and that being different is normal.
During puberty, children need most of all to know that their bodies and body functions are normal. Girls and boys need help in developing healthy feelings about their bodies. They need to know that breasts, penises, nipples, labia (lips of the vulva), testicles, and clitorises come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors and that they are all normal. They need to know that menstruation, erotic dreams, wet dreams, orgasms during sleep, and masturbation are normal too.
Should Boys and Girls Learn About Each Other?
Absolutely. Understanding what’s happening to both sexes helps satisfy children’s healthy curiosity, helps them understand that everyone goes through puberty, and helps build their respect and understanding about the other sex. Learning about puberty in both sexes also deepens children’s understanding of human reproduction.
When Does Puberty End?
Puberty is usually complete before the age of 16. During the rest of their adolescence, teens’ thoughts and feelings about themselves and their relationship to other people will continue to change dramatically. They may look and think like adults one moment and like children the next. It helps to remember that the brain keeps developing until kids are in their 20s.
Puberty is exciting and challenging. We can help provide information and support for our children so they don’t feel deserted as they go through it.
Early & Delayed Puberty
Early onset of puberty or precocious puberty can occur as a result of abnormalities of the central nervous system that disrupt GnRH secretion, or it can be independent of GnRH secretion. The onset of puberty before the age of 9 generally defines precocious puberty in boys, and involves early physical changes of puberty, as well as accelerated linear growth and bone maturation. This can ultimately lead to a short adult stature because the bones stop growing early.
When a male shows no signs of entering puberty by the age of 14 (no enlargement of the testes), puberty is generally said to be delayed. Puberty can be delayed by a number of different factors, including inadequate nutrition, chronic illness, severe levels of stress and problems with interactions between the brain and the reproductive system.
If you are concerned about these possibilities schedule a visit with your doctor. However, just about everyone catches up eventually and most differences between children will even out. Until then, hang in there, be cool. Puberty can be quite a wild ride!