Boys Will Be Boys, but They May Be Hitting Puberty Faster Than Their Dads

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Tweens

puberty

Boy, you'll be a man soon. Credit: Corbis

Boys will be boys.

Actually, boys will be men. And it seems boys are growing up at a much faster rate these days -- with some actually achieving something vaguely resembling maturity by their 50th birthdays.

That's emotional maturity. As always, of course, men's brains evolve much more slowly than their bodies.

Boys physically start turning into men, a new study from Bulgaria suggests, as young as age 12. Reuters reports this flies in the face of the conventional belief that places the dreaded onslaught of male adolescence at least a year later.

However, boys may be physically developing faster than their fathers did.

Researchers studied 6,200 healthy Bulgarian boys between 0 and 19 years. They tracked the boys' height, weight and testicular volume, as well as the length and circumference of their penises.

Yes, penises. Grow up, guys.

"Studies done several decades ago in the same population reported that a leap forward in sexual development occurs at ages 13 through 16," researcher Dr. Fnu Deepinder, of Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, tells Reuters. "However, our study indicated that this spurt takes place between 12 and 15 years old."

That doesn't mean Bulgarian boys are more well-endowed than their fathers. They do, indeed, have growth spurts earlier, but researchers found the size differences generally disappeared by age 17.

Other recent studies have shown girls also are experiencing puberty earlier. Deepinder tells Reuters his study suggests the phenomenon is not limited to girls.

Lots of factors could be in play here, Deepinder tells the news service. Genetic, environmental, nutritional and educational factors could all be behind accelerated puberty.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.