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The parents and carers guide for boys starting puberty

It comes that time when every boy just stops being the little darling you nurtured through the early years of life, and eventually they start to change into a young man. So what is puberty and what can you do to support your young man so he gets the best start in life?

In this article, we'll answer some of the top questions, provide you with some hints and tips, and show you how our boys shaving kit is the best gift to help him get off to a great start turning into the man you dreamed he would be!

What is puberty?

Puberty for boys is when their brain and body enter a period of intensive development and growth. Since birth they have been growing and developing, but as they enter the teenage years a boys body steps certain aspects up a notch and both their brains and body begin to become more adult-like.

Their brain and body grow at different rates and in different ways, so although there is commonly recognised aspects to their development, boys can develop at different speeds to their counterparts and there is no need to worry if you feel they are developing slower or faster than others in their class. It is perfectly normal for male development to go through stages at different speeds, just being a caring parent or carer is going to loads to support his development.

When do boys start puberty?

Most boys can start going through puberty around 11 or 12 years old when pre-adolescence is wrapping up and the body enters a whole new stage of development. It's a really important time for them to grow physically as well as mentally. Don't forget that all that external growth is being mirrored inside his brain as well! He won't know it and you can't see it, but his brain is going through a lot of chemical and physiological changes that will shape him potentially for the rest of his life.

What happens to a boy in puberty?

Boys will grow!

They may develop periods of quite rapid growth commonly called "growth spurts" which happen as their body adapts to form their adult body. Growth will happen at different times and in different speeds, so don't worry if you feel they are growing too fast or too slow in comparison to others a similar age.

The important thing is they are healthy, getting a high quality, balanced diet and being nice and active.

Body odour will develop

As their body changes, so does its chemical composition and this means than the sweat they produce changes. Different compounds become available to odour producing bacteria, which means they'll start to smell! Fear not, it's perfectly normal - but they might not be used to the fact that they will start to smell and that they have a responsibility for keeping themselves clean.

Every boy is different and will take this challenge in different ways, so keep nurturing and encouraging him - remember, stay on his side, but kind nagging does eventually work! Having a simple rule about showering once a day, or after any sports is usually a good thing - just be sensitive and you'll win him over.

Facial and body hair

It'll grow all over, but will commonly start under his arms and groin before starting on his chest and face. Every young man is different thanks to his genetics and the environment he grows up in, but the key thing is to make sure he knows you accept him. Giving him a kit to equip him and supporting him starting to shave will work wonders building his confidence and self perception, so giving him a great value gift set like our Boys Shaving Kit is going to help him get the right advice in the right way.

Every boy is different for some this is a super sensitive subject, and they don't really like talking about it - think about it- it's something they might be mocked about and it's completely out of their control, so the shaving gift set is probably the best way to give him shaving and growing up advice, without having awkward conversations - we think it's a winning combination of support alongside high quality shaving gear.

Muscles will develop

Alongside his body's growth we mentioned earlier, his muscles will start to become more pronounced and will develop. Again, this is all down to genetics and other factors (like diet) so don't worry if you feel he isn't turning into iron man just yet - the important thing is to remain body-positive and make sure everything you say and do shows him that you accept him. We both know you do, but just remember he has his own internal monologue questioning everything about himself, plus he'll probably have a few mates doing the same, so it's really key he knows he's accepted just as he is!

Penis and testicles will develop and grow

Yep, it'll get bigger folks - one to maybe joke about - but as he grows, so will his junk. It happens at different speeds and at different ages and stages, so there's no reason to be worried unless he feels there's a particular problem or experiencing something painful. Then it might be worth getting a professional opinion by seeing a medical expert like your family doctor.

Again, because he will undoubtedly being chatting about size with his friends, it's important to make sure your supportive and accepting of anything he wants to talk to you about. And let's be honest, size doesn't really matter!

Skin can become oily

Boys skin starts to produce a lot of natural (and necessary) oils during puberty. It's called "sebum" and is produced in glands all over the surface of the skin. It's job is keeping his skin elastic, protected and moisturised - but during puberty the body can produce more of it than it needs to. It's perfectly normal, and is what causes teenage skin to appear oily.

When sebum oil blocks the pores (when it builds up) naturally occurring bacteria thrive on it and a very mild infection happens in the skin pore. This is... you guessed it, a spot!

In our shaving guide (included in every boys shaving box), we explain the secret how to reduce spot's by reducing the quantity of sebum oil your skin glands produce. Buy a shaving kit here and he'll get some great advice on skin care as well.

His voice will change, often becoming deeper

This is often one of the most embarrassing and awkward bits of growing up for many boys because voice "breaks" can happen at the most embarrassing moments (like when speaking in front of the whole class!). But, it's perfectly normal. It's simply where the voice box is growing and stretching, but it's a bit like a bad gear change in your car - the gears slip and instead of 5th gear you end up in 1st! There's no harm or damage being done and it's important to just accept him for it, he will probably be super embarrassed by it, so just respond accordingly and make sure you don't fall into any traps of taking the Micky or focusing on it too much.

Mood swings will become quite frequent and behaviour can change

Has your young man got the grumps? It's all about the chemistry inside his head and so he and you have nearly zero control over it! We know it can be hard anticipating what mood he's going to be in, so if you can encourage him to have a great diet your going to be halfway there.

The brain goes through such rapid and incredible change during puberty that sometimes it can't quite keep up with itself (chemically speaking) and can become unbalanced - again this is normal and not a problem - it's just part of body growth. So as the teenage body develops, the changes in his brain mean that hormones are whizzing around his body and sometimes he simply wont know how he's feeling.

This can result in a super happy to super grumpy young man in a matter of minutes, so our advice? Just bear with him: he'll say stuff he doesn't mean, make decisions that could be better, and sometimes behave in ways that aren't ideal. The key for you is to just be there for him - ignore the negative bits and remain super focused on the good bits.

Having a high quality diet with lots of protein and low sugar will help - our life tips shaving guide also includes some information on the reasons why a good diet will help him feel better, so buying the boys shaving kit will get him some decent healthy advice alongside a how to shave guide.

Friends and risks (or sometimes risky friends!)

Social and friendship groups may change or develop quite often over the teenage years because his brain will be developing and he'll be working out who he is and where he wants to be in the world. It's very common for him to be taking more risks as well. This is normal! It's because as his brain is growing, he is learning what is OK and what is not. By taking risks, he'll be learning from the consequences and that is really important - it's key that he takes safe and appropriate risks at this stage of development because it will help him understand risks and safety as an adult.

If a young person never takes risks, they are unlikely to have a good understanding of appropriate risks when they get older - so it's worth letting him take appropriate risks now so that he can learn what's good and what he should avoid in in the future. The important thing is that the risks are appropriate for your young man!

6 Top tips! What can I do to help him through puberty?

  1. Be there and be available - let him know the doors always open, because you never know when the occasion might be right that he needs your help and knows your the right person to come to.

  2. Always accept him - ensure he knows that no matter what he does or who he becomes, you'll accept him. This is a fundamental value of secure parenting because it enables him to live with a sense of emotional and identity security.

  3. Be patient - he will make mistakes, sometimes operate 1,000 miles and hour and other times lay in bed for 23 hours. It's normal! His body and brain are changing, so often all we can do is just support what's going on the inside.

  4. Be kind - being extra caring, generous, understanding and positive are all key values you'll want him to absorb, so model them! It's not easy, but believe it or not, he will be learning all this from you if you show it. He's like a big human sponge!

  5. Set clear boundaries - but understand he is going to (and should) push them. It's good that he pushes the boundaries, but the key is that he then understands the consequences. Secretly expect him to push the boundary, but don't worry when he let's you down - just have appropriate back up plans in place, and over time you'll be modelling so much good stuff for him, he can't help but absorb some of it!

  6. Give him a Boys Shaving Kit - it'll help support his shaving and development and is a really cool gift idea for a teenager. You'll be giving him a great tool for developing and will put the best sort of appropriate, caring support straight into his hands. We just wish we had that sort of support growing up!


This article was written by James, youth expert, advocate for young men and founder of DRUCEBOX. For great teen boy gift ideas check out their store here.

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