As your son approaches 10 or 11, his body may start to undergo rapid changes. Parents may feel a sense of loss as their child enters puberty, but knowing how to handle this difficult time is important for everyone. Your son will need you for advice and support as he goes through these changes.
Guiding Your Son Through Physical Changes
Knowing what to expect as your son goes through puberty will not only be a relief for him, but it can also help you calm down, too. During puberty, your son may develop more body hair, grow taller, gain more muscle mass, and experience changes in his voice and body odor, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. His genitals will also mature during this time. Notify your son of any changes he may experience ahead of time and let him know that he can ask you for advice. If your son doesn't want to talk to you about puberty, his pediatrician can address any of his questions and concerns. Try not to feel offended -- boys often feel an increased need for privacy during puberty.
Puberty can last for several years, though most teenage boys will finish puberty during their late teens, according to KidsHealth, a child development site. Your son may experience intense emotions or mood swings, or crushes on others at school, says PBS Kids. Remind your son that attraction to others is a normal part of growing up. Mood swings are temporary, but a pediatrician can offer help if they do not seem to fade as your son goes through puberty. This can also be a trying time for parents. Watching children physically mature may not only make parents uncomfortable, it may also remind them that they are getting older, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. These feelings can be a normal reaction to change, but a counselor can also help you handle these feelings in a positive way.
Boys may find their bodies undergoing uncomfortable changes during puberty, states KidsHealth. Some parts of the body may grow more rapidly than others, which can leave boys feeling insecure. Boys may also experience tenderness and swelling in their breasts, which is also a normal and temporary part of development that typically fades after a few months, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Involuntary erections and concerns about the appearance of his genitals can also cause anxiety during this time. These are all normal parts of development. Even if all is well, parents should avoid teasing children about changes in their bodies. Your son will need your support, guidance, and nonjudgmental advice during this time.
If you have any questions or concerns about your son's changing body or his emotions, his pediatrician can help, says KidsHealth. If your son's puberty seems delayed or stunted, he may need to undergo hormone treatment to resume development. If you feel overwhelmed with helping your son, enlist the assistance of older male relatives or friends who can advise your son.