4teenz has put together some info for you about the changes that happen to all boys around the time of life called puberty or adolescence. Some of this stuff you’ll know already and some may be new for you.
Have you checked out the mini clip on this site called All about you before you were born? It shows how from the time you began growing inside your mother, your body has experienced many changes. In fact we never stop changing!
Puberty is a time of radical growth and change too. For boys, puberty is all about moving into young manhood – preparing your body for adult life. Puberty brings changes to your mind and emotions too. You will discover more about yourself and other people, and what’s important to you.
Change can sometimes seem scary! It’s important to have correct information and a trusted adult to talk to when you need support or advice.
Everyone goes through these changes, but no one will experience them quite like you.
FOR YOU ARE UNIQUE!
WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
Yes they happen at puberty and yes they are important BUT growing up is much more than body changes. Remember, you are more than what you look like – don’t let advertisers & social media tell you who you are.
So what does happen at puberty?
- Boys’ growth spurt usually occurs between ages 11 and 14, later than girls.
- Besides growing taller and heavier, the shape of your body changes:
- more muscular
- wider shoulders
- longer arms
- larger hands
- sex organs get bigger
- At times you may feel awkward as some parts of the body grow faster than others.
- Voice deepens.
- Body hair appears under arms and in pubic area. Facial hair begins with fuzz on upper lip and wispy chin hairs.
- Skin and hair – increased oil secretion in the skin can cause pimples and blackheads to appear on face and back, and can make hair oilier.
- Body odour is more noticeable with increased perspiration.
- Nighttime ‘wet dreams’ begin where a small amount of fluid (semen) is released from the penis.
Why Is It Happening?
The pituitary gland (a small pea-shaped gland at the base of the brain) sends out hormones (chemical signals in the bloodstream) to stimulate the growth of the sex glands. This triggers all the body changes you will experience. In boys the sex glands are the testicles (balls). The testicles now begin to produce sperm cells.
Sperm cells are released from the body in a thick whitish fluid called semen. When a boy first experiences an erection, which releases a small amount of semen, he knows he is fertile and has the potential to help create a baby.
Feeling Fresh … Feeling Good!
Perspiration and body odour increases at puberty so good hygiene is most important. Get in the shower every day, especially after sport and remember – soap is essential!!
Remember clean hair, nails and teeth too.
Stinky feet are a problem for everyone around you! Keep mild foot odour under control by daily washing with soap and wearing clean socks. Severe foot odour is caused by a fungus on the feet and in shoes and needs treatment – see a chemist for this.
New moods and feelings can be triggered by the physical changes inside you. All those hormones that are changing you from a child to an adult affect your emotions as well.
You may feel –
- self-conscious (everyone is looking at me!)
- rebellious (they can’t tell me what to do all the time!)
- sexual interest (she’s hot!)
- lonely (sometimes I feel like I don’t belong anywhere)
- or maybe just a lot of ups and downs.
You may easily become impatient or irritable with your family, or with your friends. Sometimes you’ll want to be with your friends, other times with your family. Often you’ll want to take time out on your own.
The grown-ups in your life will understand that these are signs you are growing up. And part of growing up is accepting your emotions and taking control.
Girls normally begin their growth spurt before boys so it’s usual for many grade 6 girls to be taller than the boys. You will catch up in the next few years and end up taller than most of them! We all have our own body clock and your changes will occur when the time is right for you.
Boys can continue to grow into their late teens. When you have an early growth spurt things generally slow down and you’ll begin to see your friends catching up to you. It can be hard to be a lot bigger physically at your age because adults may think you are older and expect more of you. Try and remember every boy develops at his own pace and this feeling of awkwardness will pass.
You’re talking about circumcision. This is a minor operation that removes the foreskin (loose fold of skin over head of penis.) Some boys are circumcised as babies for cultural or religious reasons. Circumcised or uncircumcised – both are normal. If you are uncircumcised (you still have the fold of skin over the head of the penis) pay extra attention to keeping this area clean by gently moving the foreskin back and washing underneath.
No, there’s nothing wrong. Here’s a bit more info about testicles. The testicles hang ‘outside’ the body in a sac of skin called the scrotum. Why? Because sperm cells (produced by the testicles) have to be kept at a slightly lower temperature than the body. They also can’t get too cold! At puberty when the testicles grow bigger, they drop down a little and one will be slightly smaller and lower than the other. This enables the muscular reflex action inside the scrotum to draw the testicles closer to the body in cold weather and lower them in hot weather. Magic!
An erection occurs when blood vessels in the penis swell up temporarily to make it firm. Erections make sexual intercourse possible as the man’s penis is then able to move inside the woman’s vagina. Erections can happen at any time, a bit like blushing. Thinking about something else helps an erection go down.
A wet dream (nocturnal emission) happens unexpectedly as a boy sleeps. It is one way the body releases stored-up sperm. Sperm cells are released in a liquid called semen which is made in the prostate gland. Semen is milky in colour and can be lumpy in consistency. It washes out easily with soap and water. Grown-ups at home understand about wet dreams and know it’s an important sign you’re growing up. Another way the body gets rid of excess sperm is by reabsorbing it.
Maybe dad just doesn’t realize you’re thinking about these things yet. Sometimes parents forget how fast you are growing up but they do know all about it because they’ve been there too! Most parents are happy to talk about these things because they know it’s important. You may both be a little embarrassed at first but that feeling will pass. You could open up the conversation by showing him some of the stuff on this website – there’s a section for parents too.
Facial hair begins as wispy chin hairs and may take some years to thicken enough to need shaving. Depending on your ethnic background you may be more likely to grow facial hair earlier – for example men from Mediterranean backgrounds tend to have more body hair. All body parts differ from one person to another. It doesn’t help to compare or worry about these things. Why not talk to your dad or older brother about this?
A lot of teenagers are confused about masturbation. It’s normal to be curious about your body and touching yourself does create pleasurable feelings. Babies and toddlers do it as they explore their bodies and then they grow out of it – it’s a stage. Experimenting with masturbation as a teenager is also just a stage which you’ll probably grow out of as you move into real relationships. Stuff on the internet can often give the message that everyone’s doing it all the time and you’re abnormal if you don’t. That can create a bit of pressure and it certainly isn’t true. Some people can get caught in a habit of masturbating all the time and can feel isolated and out of control. Sometimes there may be other worries behind it – maybe sexual abuse, depression or a habit with pornography. If you are worried about these things or feel like masturbation is controlling you, talk to someone like a school counsellor or parent.
No, you are defs not a creep! It’s unlucky that you saw that stuff (porn) but unfortunately it’s everywhere on the internet. Porn tells lies about what girls are for and what boys should be like but I’m sure you know we’re all worth more than that. The reason it’s hard to get those pictures out of your mind is because porn acts on your brain to make you want to see more and more. It’s great that you realise this and want to stay safe in the future. Be awesome – say no, click away and tell an adult.
Not at all. When you hit puberty your interest in the opposite sex begins to change (those hormones at work), but usually girls mature younger and get interested earlier than guys. Don’t worry if you’re not that interested yet. Pairing off too soon can mean you miss out on fun just hanging out with the guys. Doing stuff in groups is a good way to learn how to behave around girls and practise talking to them. It can be a wise decision to hang back a bit and be fussy about what sort of person you eventually want to go with.
It’s actually illegal to send that sort of stuff around – so it’s great that you stopped to think about it first. Your mate has done the wrong thing unfortunately and it’s up to you not to copy him. By saying no, you’ll be doing the right thing by everyone involved. Hopefully he’ll work out that disrespecting girls is not cool. And hopefully the girl will realise she’s worth more than that too and not do it again. You rock, dude.
The topic of ‘gender dysphoria’ is very popular. Gender dysphoria means feeling as though you are actually the opposite gender to the one assigned to you at birth, that is, a boy believing he is actually female, or a girl believing she is actually male. There is concern that people who feel this way may become unhappy enough to self harm. So schools and parents are encouraged to help them transition to the gender of their choice as quickly as possible. Making quick decisions like this is not always the answer. Many children who question their gender change their minds again later on.
Because there is so much media attention on gender transitioning, it seems as though the issue is widespread. In fact, true gender dysphoria is very rare, around 1% of the population.
So, for the vast majority of children, this is simply not an issue of concern. Don’t worry, you know whether you are a boy or a girl.
Unfortunately some young people are feeling pressured to question and experiment with their own gender ‘just in case’. In some ways it has become a popular thing to try out. Try not to get caught up in this. It may lead to more confusion and depression in the end.
For the small minority who are affected by true gender dysphoria, yes, they need lots of support as they move through a difficult time. If someone at your school is going through this, then your job is just to treat them as you would any other kid – with respect and kindness.
The search for identity is a normal part of adolescence for everyone. We all need to work out the question ‘who am I?’ – what do I believe, what sort of life do I want to lead, what’s important to me, etc. Give yourself time to move through adolescence safely while you work this out.
Always ask for help from a trusted adult if you are feeling worried, confused or pressured about anything to do with growing up.
- Know what’s happening to your body and this time of adolescence will be easier.
- Think carefully about what magazine, advertising, social media and online images and messages are telling you about how you should look, act and treat others. Be your own person. Value yourself. Respect others.
- Talk to someone when you need support.
- Form your own network of trusted adults who can help you work things out when you feel confused … under pressure … unsafe … or when you need correct information.
You’re starting a time of preparation for your body and your mind.
You’re accepting more responsibility and learning how to handle your hassles.
You’re a teenager and you’re stepping out!
So relax and accept this time of growing and changing … and enjoy being the unique person you are!
PS. Don’t forget to check out the girls info – it’s good to be informed about what the opposite sex is going through!