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Is your son approaching puberty? There's no doubt that this is a daunting time, but being prepared helps. Here's what to expect, and what you can do to make it easier.

Puberty is a roller coaster of changes — not just for those going through it, but for their parents as well. Are you the parent of a boy who is approaching this rough and exciting ride? While you are probably looking for ways to effectively support him through the whole thing, it's inevitable that you're quite anxious about this new stage of life yourself as well. How do you all survive your son's puberty and come out with a good relationship on the other side? Just what can you expect, when, and how do you start talking about puberty?

Boy Puberty — When Does It Start?

Male puberty generally starts between the ages of 10 and 12. Though some boys show the first signs a little earlier while others are a little later, male puberty generally starts slightly later than female puberty. As with all other developmental milestones your son reached before this Biggie, this one comes with an age range, rather than a specific date.

Remember how you were worried because your child wasn't sitting up yet and your friend's was, or your sister was freaking out because her kid couldn't talk yet while yours was expressing himself in complete sentences — or something similar to that?

You can expect the same "freak outs" over puberty, except this time it will be your son and his friends doing all that detrimental comparing. 

Whether your boy is an early bird or a late bloomer, you can generally expect most of the physical changes of male puberty to be complete by age 16. It's time to look for medical help for delayed puberty of you see no signs by age 14. For boys, delayed puberty is diagnosed if there is no growth of testes by that age.

What Happens To Boys During Puberty?

Adolescents of both sexes grow taller, develop more body hair, start to sweat more and develop an odor, and experience skin issues. Both boys and girls go through mood swings, start to develop sexual feelings, and go through general emotional upheaval that is very likely to include outbursts at home. That last sentence just about sums up what parents dread most, doesn't it?

In addition, boys will develop broader shoulders and gain muscle mass. They'll undergo growth of the testes and scrotum between the ages of 10 and 13, and penis growth follows between the ages of 11 and 14. Pubic and body hair tends to appear between the ages of 10 and 15, and the boy will need to start shaving about two years after that happens.

The voice gradually deepens over a period of time, and will sound weird for a little while. 

What else do parents — especially moms — need to know to be prepared for male puberty? Well, boys can have sore "breasts" too, and their chest area will increase in size a little too, something they may just find a tad frightening. It's normal, though. Nocturnal emissions, or the dreaded "wet dreams" are a normal part of puberty, and masturbation is also completely normal for adolescents of both sexes.

To make this aspect of puberty less embarrassing for your son, teaching him to do his own laundry is a wonderful idea. 

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