Boys Are Also Hitting Puberty Early But We Don't Know Why
Much hullabaloo has been made about girls hitting puberty earlier without a word said about the boys. That changed when a recent study says that yes, boys are also reaching puberty sooner than in the past, some almost two years earlier than what was considered average.
It is easy to chart the onset of puberty with girls because the start of menstruation is easy to document. Researchers use testicle size to figure out when puberty starts in boys (I can't imagine how they can find test subjects for that.) They have found that boys are getting larger testes and bigger penises at a younger age (mothers of tweens refer to that as "man penis" and now I go off and cry).
It seems like a no-brainer -- if girls are hitting puberty younger than obviously boys should be as well. But some of the accepted explanations for girls' early maturation has been the increased amount of estrogen that girls are exposed to through their environment and obesity. An increase in estrogen should, theoretically, be slowing down puberty in boys.
But it's not.
Some researchers are urging us not to accept the early onset as normal, but instead we should be investigating the causes for this early maturation.
In the meantime, what can parents do?
Anthony Wolf, in the Globe and Mail, says that parents must talk to their children at a young age about the changes their body is going to go through. If puberty is starting as young as nine, parents should be discussing puberty with their children before that. Wolf says that it is an ideal time to discuss these things when the kids are young before they get embarrassed and awkward at every mention of hair.
I was shocked to learn that there is no sex education classes at my local public school. Girls in grade six are getting their periods and not knowing what it is. I will wager a guess that this also means boys are having wet dreams and don't know what that is about either. (Again, excuse me...)
We have always made a point of discussing puberty and sex with our kids in a factual manner. Now that my son is 12, we do joke around a little bit with him about "becoming a man".
My kids hitting puberty freaks me out, but I try and override those feelings so I can equip them with some good skills to deal with all the changes. I figure it's now or later.
Do you think kids are hitting puberty earlier?
Want more chaos? Last year, I calculated my scary Halloween costs. I'm too scared to do that again! It's a billion dollar industry.