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Five Stages of Puberty - Guys

1 Normal Age Range: 9-12, Average: about 10
Male hormones are becoming active, but there are hardly, if any, outside signs of development. Testicles are maturing, and some boys start a period of rapid growth late in this stage

2 Normal Age Range: 9-15, Average: 12-13
Testicles and scrotum begin to enlarge, but penis size doesn't increase much. Very little, if any, pubic hair at the base of the penis. Increase in height and change in body shape.

3 Normal Age Range: 11-16, Average: 13-14
Penis starts to grow in length, but not much in width. Testicles and scrotum still growing. Pubic hair starts to get darker and coarser and is spreading towards the legs. Height growth continues and body/face shape look more adult. Voice begins to deepen (and crack). Some hair around the anus grows.

4 Normal Age Range: 11-17, Average: 14-15
Penis width increases, as well as length. Testicles and scrotum still growing. Pubic hair begins to take adult texture, although covers a smaller area. Most boys have first ejaculations. Underarm hair develops. Facial hair increases on chin and upper lip. Voice gets deeper and skin gets more oily.

5 Normal Age Range: 14-18, Average: around 16
Nearing full adult height and physique. Pubic hair and genitals have adult appearance. Facial hair grows more completely and shaving may begin now or soon. During the late teens and early twenties, some men grow a bit more and develop more body hair, especially chest hair.
Credit: J. Geoff Malta, MA, EdM, NCC Adolescent Therapist

Puberty 101 Archives


Five Stages of Puberty - Girls

1 Age Range: Usually 8-11
In Stage 1 there are no outside signs of development, but a girl's ovaries are enlarging and hormone production is beginning.

2 Age Range: Usually 8-14. Average: 11-12
The first sign is typically the beginning of breast growth, including "breast buds." A girl may also grow considerable height and weight. The first signs of pubic hair start out fine and straight, rather than curly.

3 Age Range: Usually 9-15. Average: 12-13
Breast growth continues, and pubic hair coarsens and becomes darker, but there still isn't a lot of it. Your body is still growing, and your vagina is enlarging and may begin to produce a clear or whitish discharge, which is a normal self-cleansing process. Some girls get their first menstrual periods late in this stage.

4 Age Range: Usually 10-16. Average: 13-14
Pubic hair growth takes on the triangular shape of adulthood, but doesn't quite cover the entire area. Underarm hair is likely to appear in this stage, as is menarche. Ovulation (release of egg cells) begins in some girls, but typically not in a regular monthly routine until Stage 5.

5 Age Range: Usually 12-19. Average: 15
This is the final stage of development, when a girl is physically an adult. Breast and pubic hair growth are complete, and your full height is usually attained by this point. Menstrual periods are well established, and ovulation occurs monthly.

How Can I Improve My Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem involves how much a person values herself and appreciates her own worth and importance. For example, a teen with healthy self-esteem is able to feel good about her character and her qualities and take pride in her abilities, skills, and accomplishments. Self-esteem is the result of comparing how we'd like to be and what we'd like to accomplish with how we actually see ourselves.

Everyone experiences problems with self-esteem at certain times in their lives - especially teens who are still figuring out who they are and where they fit into the world. How a teen feels about herself can be related to many different factors, such as her environment, her body image, her expectations of herself, and her experiences. For example, if a person has had problems in her family, has had to deal with difficult relationships, or sets unrealistic standards for herself, this can lead to low self-esteem.

Recognizing that you can improve your self-esteem is a great first step in doing so. Learning what can hurt self-esteem and what can build it is also important. Then, with a little effort, a person can really improve the way she feels about herself.

Constant criticism can harm self-esteem - and it doesn't always come from others! Some teens have an "inner critic," a voice inside that seems to find fault with everything they do - and self-esteem obviously has a hard time growing in such an environment. Some people have modeled their inner critic's voice after a critical parent or teacher whose acceptance was important to them. The good news is that this inner critic can be retrained, and because it now belongs to you, you can be the one to decide that the inner critic will only give constructive feedback from now on.

It may help to pinpoint any unrealistic expectations that may be affecting your self-esteem. Do you wish you were thinner? Smarter? More popular? A better athlete? Although it's easy for teens to feel a little inadequate physically, socially, or intellectually, it's also important to recognize what you can change and what you can't, and to aim for accomplishments rather than perfection. You may wish to be a star athlete, but it may be more realistic to set your sights on improving your game in specific ways this season. If you are thinking about your shortcomings, try to start thinking about other positive aspects of yourself that outweigh them. Maybe you're not the tallest person in your class and maybe you're not class valedictorian, but you're awesome at volleyball or painting or playing the guitar. Remember - each person excels at different things and your talents are constantly developing.

If you want to improve your self-esteem, there are some steps you can take to start empowering yourself:

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