Puberty – boys

Hi Readers!

As promised, this week’s topic is about puberty in boys.

Puberty is when a child’s body begins to develop and change as they become an adult. Boys develop a deeper voice and facial hair will start to appear. The average age for boys to begin puberty is 12. But it varies from boy to boy. Do not worry if the child reaches puberty before or after their friends. It is normal for puberty to begin at any point from the ages 8 to 14 and the process takes up to 4 years.

What are the first signs of puberty?

The first sign of puberty for boys is usually that their testicles get bigger and the scrotum begins to thin and redden, pubic hair also starts to appear at the base of the penis. 

Beginning one year after the start of puberty and continuing for the next three years:

  • The penis and testicles grow and the scrotum gradually becomes darker
  • Pubic hair becomes thicker and curlier
  • Underarm hair starts to grow
  • More sweat
  • Breasts can slightly swell temporarily (no, this is not the same as “man-boobs”)
  • Boys may have “wet dreams”. These are involuntary ejaculations of semen as they sleep
  • The voice starts to get permanently deeper
  • Acne starts to develop
  • Growth spurt (around 3 inches a year)

After approximately 4 years, genitals are adult-like and pubic hair has spread to the inner thighs, facial hair begins to grow and boys generally start to shave. While boys continue to grow until age 16, growth is at a slower rate than during the first four years and, by age 18, they will have reached adult maturity. 

How does it affect children?

This period in life can be very difficult. There are a lot of changes happening in the body and the appearance of acne and body odours can lead children / teens to feel self-conscious. Puberty can also be an exciting time as they develop new emotions and feelings. That being said, many go through an emotional “rollercoaster” which can have psychological and emotional effects. For example, unexplained mood swings, low self-esteem, low self-image as they become more and more self-conscious, aggression or depression. 

Although is may seem like no one understands, everyone has and will go through these changes. 

If you are going through puberty, it is important to talk and let these feelings out; talk to a friend, a teacher, a counsellor, your parents, a family member.

As for parents, it can seem difficult talking to your child if they do not seem like themselves psychologically. Let them know you are there for them. You can bring up the subject. The NHS has a few pages for parents for coping with their children and talking to your teen.

Be kind to one another 

Julia, Sexologist

Puberty – Girls

Hi Readers!

This week’s subject is about puberty in girls. I will cover puberty in boys next week!

Puberty is when a child’s body begins to develop and change as they become an adult.

Girls develop breasts and start their periods. The average age for girls to begin puberty is 11. Do not worry if a child reaches puberty before or after their friends, is it different for everyone. It is normal for puberty to begin at any point from the ages 8 to 14 and the process takes up to 4 years.

What are the first signs of puberty?

During the first couple of years of puberty, girls undergo many changes:

  • Breasts grow and become fuller
  • First menstruation
  • Pubic hair becomes coarser and curlier
  • Underarm hair begins to grow along with hair on other parts of the body
  • Girls start to sweat more
  • Appearance of acne 
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Growth spurts until adult height is reached at the end of puberty
  • Most girls gain weight as their body shape changes

After approximately 4 years of puberty, breasts are fully developed, pubic hair has spread to the inner thigh, genitals are fully developed and the teenager stops growing. 

How does puberty affect children?

This period can be very difficult. There are a lot of changes happening in the body and the appearance of acne and body odours can lead children / teens to feel self-conscious. Puberty can also be an exciting time as they develop new emotions and feelings. That being said, many go through an emotional “rollercoaster” which can have psychological and emotional effects. For example, unexplained mood swings, low self-esteem, low self-image as they become more and more self-conscious, aggression or depression. 

Although it may seem like no one understands, everyone has and will go through these changes. If you are going through puberty, it is important to let these feelings out; talk to a friend, a teacher, a counsellor, your parents, a family member.

And for all you parents out there, it might feel difficult to talk to your child when they do not seem like themselves psychologically but it is important to let them know you are there for them. In fact, the NHS has some resources that can help you start the conversation with your teenager. Parents for coping with their children and talking to your teen.  

Be kind to one another,

Julia, Sexologist

Julia, Sexologist Blog

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