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Concerns Boys Have About Puberty

Boys have pubertal concerns and worries, too, including:

​Voice Change

As their voice box enlarges and the vo­cal cords grow, their voice may "crack" as they speak. While this can be em­barrassing and annoying, it's a normal part of the growth process.

Wet Dreams

Boys may wake up in the morning to find sticky, damp areas in their pajama pants and sheets. These "wet dreams," or nocturnal emissions, are caused by an ejacu­lation, not urination, that occurs during sleep and are not an indication that the boy was having a sexual dream. Parents should explain these events to their son without blame, and reassure him you understand that he cannot prevent it from happening. Wet dreams are just part of growing up.

Involuntary Erections

During puberty, boys get erections spontaneously, without touching their penis and without having sexual thoughts. These un­expected erections can be quite embarrassing, especially if they occur in public—at school, for example. Let your son know that these unexpected erections can happen and are normal signs that his body is maturing. Explain that they happen to all boys during puberty, and that over time they will become less frequent.

Breast Enlargement

Many boys experience swelling of the breasts during the early years of puberty. Most often, your son may feel a button like bump under one or both nipples. His breasts may also feel tender or even painful, especially when hit. After a few months—sometimes longer—the swelling will disappear; let your son know that these lumps will rarely  develop into true breasts.

One Testicle Lower than the Other

Uneven testicles, although they may be embarrassing in the boys' locker room, are both normal and common.

Parents can support their preteen:

As your child approaches and enters puberty, be sensitive to his need for privacy. Preteens often become more modest while they bathe, for example, or change their clothes. Respect this wish for privacy, not only as it relates to their bodies but in other areas as well, such as remembering to knock before entering their rooms.

Preteens also become more sensitive about how they look during this time. Their interest in grooming increases, and they are frequently concerned about their appearance, thanks largely to influence from their peers and advertising messages. Watch for signs of a child who has a negative im­age of their bodies, which in some cases can result in eating disorders.

It is very important to avoid even good-natured teasing of your child's puber­tal development changes. Most pre-teens will be easily embarrassed if they are teased about the changing shape of their bodies or their deepening voices.

Additional Information:

Last Updated
Section on Endocrinology (Copyright © 2014 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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