When Puberty Strikes Your Son
He spends hours on the phone, has outgrown the clothes you bought last season and balks at the idea of being seen with you in public. While you may be worried, your son's strange behavior could simply mean he has entered puberty, the physiological transition from childhood to adulthood.
Kids Today";It's important to remember that all boys develop at their own rates,"; says Katie Plax, MD, board-certified pediatrician on staff at St. Louis Children's Hospital. "Start talking with your son about puberty long before its onset to help him understand that what's happening is completely normal."
One of the most easily identifiable signs of puberty in boys is a growth spurt, which typically occurs between the ages of 10 and 16. Taller height and broader shoulders are accompanied by the increased size of the penis and testes, as well as the appearance of hair under the arms, above the penis and on the face.
Your son may also begin to grow in places he might not expect. Gynecomastia (a benign increase in glandular tissue beneath the breast) is actually a common part of puberty that affects at least 40 percent of boys at some point before the age of 16. The appearance of acne and a cracking voice are common. You can help ease your son's transition from being a boy to becoming a man by reminding him that this condition usually resolves on its own in a few years.
If you have questions about male puberty, call 314.454.KIDS (5437) or contact your pediatrician during normal business hours.
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