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When Do Boys Stop Growing?

Understanding Growth Patterns in Boys

Boys and girls may be equal, but gender does matter when you’re trying to determine when you can expect your child to stop outgrowing all those expensive clothes. And the growth difference between the sexes is tied to puberty. If you’re worried about where your favorite boy falls on the growth chart, understanding what’s coming with puberty may help ease your concerns.

Everything Changes With Puberty

Your doctor is your best resource for questions about your child’s growth patterns, but boys initially generally grow faster than girls and may even tower over their toddler girlfriends. Puberty can turn that pattern upside-down during the tween and teen years. Girls typically experience a growth spurt at about age 10 and usually reach their adult height when they start menstruating (12.5 years on average).

Boys usually enter puberty between 10 and 14 years, and most grow about 12 inches taller as they move through the process. On average, you can expect your son to reach his adult height by age 16–17. While entering puberty sooner rather than later won’t affect his adult height, your early starter may reach his maximum elevation faster than his friends. Your late bloomer, on the other hand, may need a couple of extra years before he stands eye-to-eye with his classmates.

There’s no way to tell exactly how tall your son will grow. But you may be able to very loosely guess where your kiddo will land on the adult height chart by adding 12 inches to his height when he began puberty.

Identifying the Signs of Puberty

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Only your doctor can determine whether your kiddo has entered puberty, but typical signs that it’s occurring include:

  • Increase in the size of his penis and testicles with darkening of the scrotal sac
  • Growth of pubic hair, which is generally followed within a couple of years by underarm and facial hair
  • Deepening of his voice overall with a period of cracking and breaking at times
  • Enlargement of his Adam’s apple (larynx cartilage)

Genes Matter Too

On average, adult males in the U.S. stand about 5 feet, 10 inches tall. While it’s very hard to determine if your 10-year-old will hit that number, short parents tend to produce shorter kids, and tall parents have the best chance of producing taller-than-average offspring. Parents who vary widely in height may produce children who are taller than average, shorter than average, or somewhere between the two ranges.

Growth Is More Than Height

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Boys start and continue to develop lean muscle mass during puberty and continue long after girls have stopped. In his late teens, if he’s average, a boy typically has about 12 percent body fat. That’s less than half of what’s average for girls by the time they’ve moved through puberty.

You also may notice delayed emotional maturity in boys versus girls, but scientists don’t agree as to whether that’s due to gender or social/environmental influences. Still, car insurance companies agree that boys tend to take more risks than girls, and many use that to justify much higher insurance rates for men until they’re well into their 20s.

Malnutrition and poor diet are the most common causes of decreased growth parameters in boys before they transition into puberty. You can help yours grow to his full potential by ensuring he follows a healthy and nutritious diet in childhood. If you have worries about your kiddo’s growth, be sure to address your concerns with his physician.

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