Puberty: Adolescent Male

How much will my teen grow?

The teenage years are also called adolescence. During this time, teens will see the greatest amount of growth in height and weight. Adolescence is a time for growth spurts and puberty changes. A teenager may grow several inches in several months followed by a period of very slow growth. Then they may have another growth spurt. Changes with puberty may happen slowly. Or several changes may occur at the same time.

It's important to remember that these changes will happen differently for each teen. Some teens may experience these signs of maturity sooner or later than others. And being smaller or bigger than other boys is normal. Each child goes through puberty at their own pace. 

What changes will happen during puberty?

Sexual and other physical maturation that happens during puberty result from hormonal changes.

In boys, it's hard to know exactly when puberty is coming. There are changes that happen, but they occur slowly over a period of time rather than as a single event. 

There are certain stages of development that boys go through when developing secondary sex characteristics. Here is a brief overview of the changes that happen:

  • In boys, the first puberty change is the enlargement of the scrotum and testes. At this point, the penis does not enlarge.

  • As the testes and scrotum continue to grow, the penis grows.

  • The first growth of pubic hair produces long, soft hair that is only in a small area around the genitals.

  • This hair then becomes darker and coarser as it continues to spread.

  • The pubic hair eventually looks like adult hair, but in a smaller area. It may spread to the thighs and sometimes up the stomach.

The following changes may also happen to a boy as he goes through puberty:

  • Body size will increase. Sometimes the feet, arms, legs, and hands may grow faster than the rest of the body. This may cause a teen to feel clumsy.

  • Some boys may get some swelling in the breast area. This is a result of the hormonal changes that are happening. This is common among teenage boys and is often a short-term or temporary condition. Talk with your son's healthcare provider if this is a concern.

  • Voice changes may happen, as the voice gets deeper. Sometimes the voice may "crack" during this time. This is a temporary condition and will improve over time.

  • Hair will start to grow in the genital area. Boys will also have hair growth on their face, under their arms, and on their legs.

  • As the puberty hormones increase, teens may have an increase in oily skin and sweating. This is a normal part of growing. It's important to wash daily, including the face. Acne may develop.

  • As the penis enlarges, the teen boy may begin to have erections. This is when the penis becomes hard and erect because it is filled with blood. This is due to hormonal changes and may happen when the boy fantasizes about sexual things. Or it may happen for no reason at all. This is normal.

  • During puberty, a boy's body also begins making sperm. Semen, which is made up of sperm and other body fluids, may be released during an erection. This is called ejaculation. Sometimes this may happen while the teen is sleeping. This is called a wet dream (nocturnal emission). This is a normal part of puberty. Once sperm is made and ejaculation happens, teen boys who have sex can get someone pregnant. 

What does my teen understand?

The teen years bring many changes—not only physically, but also mentally and socially. During these years, teens increase their ability to think abstractly and eventually to make plans and set long-term goals. Each child may progress at different rates, and show a different view of the world. In general, the following are some of the abilities you may see in your teenager:

  • Developing the ability to think abstractly

  • Concerned with philosophy, politics, and social issues

  • Thinking long-term

  • Setting goals

  • Comparing himself to his peers

Your teen's relationships with others

As your teenager begins to struggle for independence and control, many changes may happen. Here are some of the issues that your teen may experience during these years:

  • He wants independence from parents.

  • Peer influence and acceptance is very important.

  • Peer relationships become very important.

  • He may be in love.

  • He may have long-term commitments in relationships.

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