Has my growth been stunted?
I started puberty later than the children in my grade. I know this because, after the summer break in 2020, everyone had their growth spurt but not me. However, in 2021, I had a growth spurt. My issue is wondering whether growth has been stunted. I have not seen a significant change in my development since 14. I know I have not started Tanner Stage 4 because I have armpit hair that is not growing and a mustache (well, really peach fuzz) that is also not growing. I am a very thin person and my chest is not developed like the 16-year-olds in my year group. My chest looks like a 13-year-old’s. I have completed most of the characteristics of stage 3, such as leg hair and all sorts of hair. But I still see some light brown hairs, which tells me I am in stage 3.
It takes a lot of energy to change a kid-size body into an adult body. Many of the changes are ones that you can’t see that take place internally. A larger body needs a larger heart, lungs, liver, etc. to support it. Yet, all the changes cannot take place at the same time. So the body cycles the growth from one section to another. While your internal organs are growing, it may appear that nothing is happening but that is because you can’t see the changes.
In regard to hair growth, your hair doesn’t come in all at once. The first hairs are noticeable because they are unique. As the number gradually increases, the difference becomes less noticeable. Hair, like everything else, doesn’t grow constantly. It takes short vacations. At times it takes a long break and the hair drops off. That is why your early hair comes in light in color and it gets darker over time. You won’t have all your facial and body hair until your mid-twenties.
Chest and shoulder development occur in stage 4 — not at the start of the stage but during the two-year-long stage. Your muscles also begin to get bigger during stage 4, which gives you a fuller look. It sounds like you are at the end of stage 3 or the start of stage 4. You’ll just have to be patient. If a few more years, your friends will stop developing, and shortly thereafter, you’ll catch up with them.