The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

How much is puberty affected by your parents growth? My mum grew around the average time and my dad reached his adult height around 16, so he probably started his growth spurt around 14. So I'm wondering will I grow around this time or may I have gotten some other genes, like my brother who grew at 15.5. I got 2.7 on the Tanner Stage Calculator. Also as I have been in stage 2 for almost two years, I'm wondering could stage 2 be slow then stage 3 and 4 much faster or does puberty advance at a steady rate without slowing or quicking up?

p.s. Thanks for providing us teenagers with someone who knows Christ and who can help give us advice using God's word. I really appreciate it, and I'm sure other young men do as well. May God bless you and your work!


Answer

For males the length of adolescence (the time of change) runs about six to eight years. Much depends on what you use to measure the start and end points. For example, the technical start is when your male hormones rise from their childhood levels -- but you don't see any outward signs that this happened until a year later and those changes are so small most guys don't realize something is different until another year or more.

The ending point is usually measured as when growth in height stops, but changes continue for two or more years later.

Dr. Tanner developed a scale based on external, secondary features to estimate what was happening internally. Stage 1 is childhood, stage 2 starts with the first external sign of changes, stage 3 is the period of rapid growth, stage 4 is the stage of slowing growth, and stage 5 is when growth in height stops. As Dr. Tanner described the stages, stage 3 was the shortest stage and stage 4 was the longest (ignoring stage 1). I've made a slight change in the definition of when stage 4 starts to make stage 3 and 4 more equal in length, as well as being easier to determine the transition.

Therefore, in the Calculator's estimate, stage 2, 3, and 4 all last roughly two years. Even so, this is just "typical," individually it can vary. But if your dad hit stage 5 at age 16, he started around age 10 and had his growth spurt between 12 and 14.

You have two sets of genes, one from your mother and one from your father, that determines you characteristics. Some genes dominate its matching gene, others blend with the matching gene, and there are numerous genes involved in determining when and how fast you develop. This is why predicting growth is very difficult for an individual.

Since you are near the end of stage 2, I doubt it will be another year and a half before you hit your growth spurt. I suspect that you have a different combination of genes in regards to growth than your brother. You will probably see your growth spurt in six to nine months. Thus, you will be later than your dad, but earlier than your brother.