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For boys, puberty usually begins around the age of 12 but can start as early as age 9. During puberty, hormones and chemicals are released into the body, which can result in psychological changes. These may include:
- Mood Swings
- Sexual Desires/Arousals
While your son may feel that he’s the only one going through this, you can help him by letting him know that he’s not alone. Talk openly with your son about the changes his body is going to go through and how it can affect how he feels. Open and honest communication can help take the confusion out of puberty. For the parents, hang in there, this too shall pass.
Puberty does not only cause great changes and development in a male's body-it changes and develops the brain too. Boys in puberty start showing interest in and understanding of abstract concepts and subjects like justice, politics, philosophy and the arts. A pubescent boy also begins planning out a life for himself and having dreams and goals to be realized and fulfilled later in life.
With this completely new worldview and changed sense of self comes anxiety and confusion. A young man's previous understanding of himself has been eliminated, and a new sense of identity must evolve. The ability to view the world in completely new ways means that an adolescent has to sort out not just who he really is as a mature male, but also how his new identity fits into his new world view. It is no wonder that it often seems much easier to just stay in bed and sleep.
When a boy experiences puberty, parents are no longer allowed to accompany him in public, offer advice or breathe. This burgeoning independent streak is actually a good development, because rejecting his parents' beliefs, morals and general existence means that the pubescent boy is trying to find his own way in the world.
Along with new beliefs and new feelings, a growing boy often forms new peer groups. This will be a period of experimentation, adventure and misadventure. It is important for parents to provide a stable home environment, open arms when needed, and reasonable guidelines and behavioral expectations.
Although parents should give some additional leeway and show extra patience during these topsy-turvy times, they should also be watchful for some of the pitfalls of adolescence, like depression or substance abuse. This time of life can create an overwhelming sense of being lost, and not every boy exits this stage feeling like they've found answers they need. If parents worry that teenage experimentation with drugs or alcohol is the start of a greater problem, or if troubles at school or home are not being resolved through time and attention, it may be a good idea to encourage your son to speak to a counselor, a doctor or a respected member of your religious community.
Puberty can be a time of great friction between parents and children, but parents shouldn't take it to heart-your son is trying to figure out who he wants to be.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.