To say that puberty is a time of physical change is like saying that the ocean has some water in it. While you can't predict exactly when puberty will occur or exactly how it will affect your son, having lots of information on puberty can help soften the blow for both you and your son.
Puberty starts differently for different boys. Some boys seem to hit puberty a bit earlier than others, but in general, it starts between the ages of ten and sixteen. The first thing that most parents and boys notice may be body growth, specifically in the extremities. Your son's arms, legs, hands, and feet may seem suddenly enormous compared to the rest of his body.
Your son should know not only about male puberty, but also about what females go through. The American Academy of Pediatrics has an informational Web site with information for boys and girls at
When you notice other physical changes, you may also notice an increase in muscles or muscle definition. You will notice an increase in your son's appetite. Once he has started to develop muscle, he may be interested in lifting weights. Clear it with your child's health care practitioner. This can help prevent damage to newly developed muscles.
Acne. It's a huge way that the skin changes in puberty and the teenage years. Acne is caused by changes in the production of oil on the skin, usually around the face and neck area.
Many young men experience soreness or swelling near their nipples. Assure your son that this does not mean he is growing breasts. Sometimes small circular band-aids, worn over the nipples, help with shirts that irritate the skin.
Your son's body will also develop hair. He will find that he has hair under his arms, his face, his legs, his groin, and his chest. Some boys find it uncomfortable and itchy. You may notice your son sweats more and that he smells as well. This is a good time to introduce deodorant.
During puberty, your son's voice will change. It will crack as your son's voice shifts from a higher register to a lower one. Eventually the cracking will stop, and your son's voice will be permanently lower. He may be embarrassed at first, as he has no control over this change.