Puberty Stages and Concerns

Finding the Answers to Puberty's Questions

Teen girls

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Teenage puberty is a necessary stage in a teen's development. This is the time that your teen's body gets ready for reproduction. But it can be confusing and even frustrating! So many things are changing for your teen right now. How do you know what is okay and what isn't?

Stages of Puberty

Both boys and girls go through some of the physical changes of puberty in predictable stages:

  • Stages of Puberty in Girls: Girls go through five stages of breast development, usually from ages 8 to 15. Pubic hair development is another sign of puberty, which can start emerging from age 9, with five different stages. General signs include hips getting fuller and waist getting thinner. Along with pubic hair, girls will also have underarm hair and leg hair develop, along with the need for deodorant.
  • Stages of Puberty in Boys: Puberty usually starts around age 13, and progresses through five stages of sexual maturity. Testicles and penis enlarge and pubic hair develops. His underarm hair and body hair will grow, and facial hair is another big change for boys. As the male hormones kick in, he will grow in height, shoulders will broaden, and he'll have more muscle. His voice will also begin to deepen, often with cracking at first. He'll be perspiring more and need deodorant or antiperspirant. Sexual feelings and wet dreams will become more common.

Puberty Concerns for Girls

Sometimes knowing the general stages isn't enough. For girls, what is normal for one teen isn't normal for another. Teen girls also have one more issue in puberty that boys don't: menstruation.

Getting their first period can fill girls with questions and even fear. While the average age of the first period is 12, parents need to be ready for it to happen as soon as age 8. Prepare by knowing what is normal, understanding what is happening during the menstrual cycle, and what to discuss with your doctor.

Puberty Concerns for Boys

For teen boys, many of the concerns about puberty deal with how the penis changes. Although they are sometimes embarrassed to ask their questions, many boys have concerns about if they are normal or not.

  • Puberty and Penis Size: While you may keep repeating that size doesn't matter, your son is probably still wondering what's typical.
  • How to Care for an Uncircumcised Penis: With puberty, there may be some conditions of the foreskin you want to watch for and report to your doctor. It's also time to ensure your boy knows how to properly clean his genitals to prevent problems.

If you have any questions about how your teen is going through puberty, your pediatrician or family healthcare provider can provide you with information specific to your teen. With some information (and a sense of humor), you and your teen will make it through puberty together!

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Article Sources
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  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Physical Development in Girls: What to Expect During Puberty. Updated June 4, 2019.

  2. Cleveland Clinic. Puberty: Is Your Daughter On Track, Ahead or Behind?. Published December 28, 2017.

  3. Cleveland Clinic. Boys, BO and Peach Fuzz: What to Expect in Puberty. Published December 7, 2017.

  4. American Academy of Pediatrics. Physical Development in Boys: What to Expect. Updated May 22, 2015.

  5. The Nemours Foundation. When Will I Get My Period?. Updated October 2018.