Growing up is not easy for young people, teen boys as well as girls. The teen years are a time of great physical and emotional changes as boys grow into young men.
Teen Boys and Puberty
The physical changes that come with puberty in teen boys starts somewhere between the ages of 9 and 16. These changes occur gradually and include:
- Hair Growth
Young men grow hair on their face, arms, and legs. Teen boys also develop underarm and pubic hair. Hair growth continues and spread to other parts of the body (abdomen, buttocks) through the teen years.
- Voice Changes
Increased testosterone leads to changes in a teen boy's vocal cords. The vocal cords become longer and thicker, which leads to the young man's voice changing. "Cracking" is not unusual during this process, although it is embarrassing.
- Oily Skin
During puberty, the skin's oil glands become more active. This leads to the development of acne. Trouble with skin breakouts can continue into adulthood.
- Growth Spurt
Both boys and girls experience a growth spurt during puberty. Testosterone is responsible for a teen boy's body taking on a more angular and muscular shape. A further effect of testosterone is the lengthening of the bones of the arms and legs.
- Changes to Genitals
Both the penis and scrotum increase in size during puberty.
Both teen boys and girls go through emotional changes during puberty. They are going through the process of separating from their parents and becoming more independent. During this time, the opinions of friends become more important.
Boys as well as girls want to be accepted and liked by their peers. They may well feel self-conscious at times because of all the changes that are going on in their bodies. No one is "just right"; instead, they are too tall, too short, too fat, too thin, etc. Remember that everyone matures at his or her own rate and that eventually everyone catches up.
As teen boys mature, they start to make decisions for themselves. They may indulge in risky behavior, such as drinking, taking drugs, sexual activity, or driving fast. Part of growing up is to challenge one's parents' beliefs as a way of asserting independence.
Advice for Parents
- Give your teen boy the opportunity to express himself without interruption.
- Ask open-ended questions to encourage him to share information.
- Try to put yourself in his shoes and understand his point of view.
- Help your teen boy to see alternatives when he trying to make a choice.
- Allow him to make his own decisions and understand the consequences of his actions.
Teen boys go through a number of changes during puberty, just as teen girls do. Parents need to keep the lines of communication open to provide help and support to their sons as they make the transition from boyhood to adulthood.