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Boys Delayed Puberty: How To Ease Fears

Everyone has his or her own normal biological time table for pubertal development. Some boys, for example, show signs of puberty while still in elementary school, while others can get well into high school still looking like little boys.

Being different from the average can be especially hard on a boy who’s puberty is delayed. If your son is in this situation, there are several things you can do to help. As a physician, I’ve given temporary gym excuses to boys who were too embarrassed by lack of pubic hair, or genital growth to use showers after gym. Six months later, development may be sufficient to allow the boy to shower with peers, without undue embarrassment.

Since late development is often a hereditary characteristic, it may help to share this fact with your son, especially if the father, or another male relative happened to be a late bloomer. This can help reassure the boy that he is normal — that he will develop into a man in his own time and help him to feel that someone understands.



Dr. Wibbelsman, M.D., is an award-winning author and former “Dear Doctor” columnist for Teen magazine. Chair of Adolescent Medicine for the Permanente Medical Group, Northern California, he is chief of the Teen-Age Clinic at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco, and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School. Dr. Wibbelsman is the news anchor for a Bay Area television series, “Medicine in the Nineties”.

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