I have 2 sons, one who is just beginning puberty and the other one who’s knee deep in the process.

Facial Hair

My 11-year old has started what is apparently our family’s biological tradition of beginning puberty with a bit of hair growth on his upper lip. This “mustache” is just a whisper, barely visible to anyone other than us, but it’s one of the first signs.

My 14-year-old started shaving about 2 years ago, as his mustache is truly prominent, a gift from me and my swarthy, Mediterranean genes. So just be warned that personal grooming products from the drugstore will soon start to fill your bathroom, if you have a pre-pubescent son.


Acne is another sign that puberty is here. My 11-year-old has had 2 big pimples on his sweet little face so far and I can barely stand the thought of them, much less the sight. But they come with the territory.

My 14-year-old has had serious acne for several years, basically starting right when he began Middle school. He’s tried several different skin care regimens and ultimately has had the best luck controlling his breakouts with a prescription. He’s so handsome (and I’m so biased) that I’m glad he’s not covered in pimples.

Growth Spurt

My 11-year-old’s pants are looking like capris these days, because after a sustained period of “height stasis”, he has begun his growth spurt. He’s been looking forward to it and wondering if it would ever happen, but with a 6’2″ Father, he need not have worried.

My 14-year-old had a growth spurt for the record books. He grew 12 inches in one year and suffered from Sever’s disease, also known as “Growing Pains” because his bones were growing faster than his muscles could keep up. This took place when he was 12 and yes, he’s now much taller than me.

Mood Swings

Even though most boys in puberty don’t cry, they still have feelings. And they have almost no idea what to do with those feelings.

My 11-year-old can be on top of the world one minute and cranky like a toddler the next. He truly doesn’t know how to express what he’s feeling, which makes it nearly impossible to offer him the support I would like to. So I just do a lot of deep breathing.

My 14-year-old has mood swings, too, but the swings are not as gigantic. He’s pretty even tempered for the most part, but every once in a while he moans. Just moans. No crying, no yelling, but there is definitely moaning.

I feel for him and wish I could help, but in the back of my mind I’m grateful there’s not more drama than that in my house.

If you have a daughter, how has puberty affected your life?

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Sarah Auerswald DrGreene.com contributor

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