Puberty is the process of growing from a boy into a man that every boy will go through sometime between the ages of about 9 to 16. Your body changes at its own pace, which is largely determined by your genes. Some boys begin puberty earlier or later than their friends. Boys grow at different ages and rates. Some boys seem to grow “overnight” and some see gradual changes over a period of years. Puberty usually starts earlier for girls than boys. For a few years, girls your age will probably be larger and taller than you.
WILL I LOOK DIFFERENT?
Physically your body will begin to look more like an adult man. Sometime between the ages of 9 to 16, special glands in your brain release hormones into your body that produce changes in your size, appearance and much more. During this time you’ll notice changes in:
You’re at the age where it is totally normal to be curious about sex. You are feeling sensations in your body that maybe you haven’t felt before. They may include:
HOW WILL I FEEL?
Puberty can be a very emotional time. You’ll begin to have more intense feelings of love and joy, and also of loneliness and sadness. As you get older you’ll have more responsibilities at home and at school. You’ll begin to decide what’s important to you, what kinds of friends you want to have and the kind of person you want to be. You’ll probably want some independence from your parents, yet still find comfort in the security they provide. Your parents are proud that you’re maturing into a young adult, yet they may get their feelings hurt because you’d rather spend time with your friends than with them. You also may argue with them over the fairness of house rules, family obligations, chores, etc. Try sharing your feelings with your parents and coming up with solutions that all of you can accept.
The teenage years also can make you feel insecure. Being popular and belonging to a group may be very important to you, having friends can help you feel secure. If you aren’t accepted by a particular group, try and seek out friends elsewhere. Remember, you are a valuable and important person and you shouldn’t have to change or do things you don’t want to do just to be accepted as someone’s friend. If you feel pressure from your friends to do something you don’t want to, ask yourself if what you are being asked to do can cause harm to you or someone else.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
When you feel good, you look good. During puberty it’s extra important to take care of your body by eating a healthy diet consisting of a variety of foods from the five basic food groups. Get enough rest and exercise. Both will help increase your energy and reduce your stress levels. Bathe and shower regularly to help prevent body odor and acne breakouts.
If you have questions about the changes your body is going through, find an adult you trust. Remember, he went through puberty, too! If you are 15 or 16 years old and find that your body hasn’t begun to show any signs of puberty, you may have a low hormone level. See your doctor so that he can further investigate what may be causing the problem.
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