Question:

My son has recently underwent puberty but his growth has suddenly stopped. He has both facial and body acne, hair on his upper lip and a consistent deep voice. He is of Asian descent. What stage do you think he is at, based off those few details? I'm too embarrassed to ask for more information.


Answer:

Puberty is defined as the time when the male or female hormones rise causing the changes of a child into an adult. A Doctor Tanner many years ago developed a scale to assess the progress of a child through development. Stage 1 is childhood, before puberty. Stage 2 is the initial set of changes. Stage 3 is the rapid growth phase. Stage 4 is when growth slows back down. And Stage 5 is when growth comes to a stop, though some development still continues for several more years.

Your description is of a male in stage 4 of development or perhaps beyond. Upper lip hair usually appears in stage 3. Acne typically is a problem in stage 4, though it can continue beyond it. The change in voice comes during stage 4. Outside of this, I can't tell you much more from the description.

Stages 2, 3, and 4 in males last about two years for each stage, so though you've only recently noticed he is changing, the changes have actually been taking place for a number of years.

There is a self-assessment questionaire that your son can take to estimate what stage he is in. It is called the Tanner Development Stage Calculator for Boys. If he has questions about growth and growing up, I will be happy to address them directly with him. There is a book and web site dedicated to this topic called Growing Up in the Lord: A Study for Teenage Boys.