The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

Hi! I am 16 and 2 months old. I was just wondering if a person can be stunted in puberty. Basically, I use to be the first kid in my school to get hair on their upper lip. I got it at around 12.5 years old, and it was really faint hair, but hair none the less. Anyway the next year in 7th grade and in 8th grade I was still one of the only kids of have upper lip hair. I remember when I was in 8th grade and about 14.5 or a few months less, and someone commented that this other kid and I were some of the few kids who had any facial hair. Well I then entered 9th grade and suddenly every other kid seemed like he needed to shave. It felt really weird, being that I thought I was really ahead of everyone else, now realizing I was not. Well I am now in 10th grade, and the only visible pigmented hair grows on my upper lip. I do grow some darker peach fuzz on my lower lip, but nobody can see that unless I point out where it is. Also I do grow hair on my chin, but it is light peach fuzz and nobody can see it either, and side burns on my right side (only the right side of my face), but they are also non-pigmented and really light in color even though they do grow to about a half inch in length. On my cheeks and left side of my face I have this very faint peach fuzz that is not visible at all and is so small I can barely pinch it with my fingers (the only way that I know it is there is when I look in the mirror with the light shining on my face at an angle). It's like I have barely grown any hair since I was 12.5. Also, It seems like my growth kind of got cut short or something. I was always around average height, not exactly, maybe an inch or a half inch shorter, but about as close as you can get. I now stand at 5'6.5 and feel like a midget at my school. From 7th to 8th grade I gained about 15 pounds of weight going from 100 pounds to 115, from 8th to 9th grade I gained about 10 pounds of weight going from 115 to about the 125-128 weight range, and from 9th to 10th grade I have gained almost no weight! When I weigh myself now I am about 130 pounds, and it sometimes goes up to like 133 or down to 128. So my question is does it sound like I am maturing normally? Have I reached my adult height? Thanks for taking the time to read my question.

Answer

When people discuss growth and development, we have to talk about generalities. Growth generally follows a known pattern, but there can be exceptions; after all each person is an individual. I'm going to make some educated guesses from the information that you gave me, but realize that there are a lot of things that I don't know about you because we have never met.

When you were younger and smaller, you were always just a little bit shy of average in height. That usually came to about a half to an inch below average. So, let's do a little math. At age 8 the average height for a boy is 50.5 inches, and at 16 the average male height is 68.5 inches. If you were 49.5 inches at age 8, that would put you in the 33 percentile of height. But the 33 percentile at 16 is 67 inches or 5'7". Given some rounding errors, you are actually staying pretty much on track. What is causing it to be noticeable is that range of heights is narrow when boys are young and but it broadens as boys approach adulthood. What was a narrow gap when you were young becomes a slightly larger gap as you get older.

The same thing has happened in regards to your weight. In seventh grade you were just over the 50th percentile and you are still just over the 50th percentile now. So again, you are holding steady.

I suspect that at the age of 12 you were in stage two. The rise in testosterone made the "peach fuzz" on your lip noticeable, but your facial hair wasn't ready to develop yet. You've gone through stage three (the rapid growth phase) and you are now in stage four. In this stage your growth is slowing down. You might put on another inch (it depends on how long you've been in this stage), but you are close to your adult height. About the time you get to stage five is when your facial hair will finally start to fill in.