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The Guy's Guide to Dealing With Late Puberty

Why you can relax, even if you haven't started puberty yet.
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How to Keep Up With Other Guys

Don't stress if you're not in puberty yet. And don't compare yourself to other guys. Instead, do this:

Take it in stride. No one always gets what they want exactly when they want it, whether it’s an A on a test or a spot on the sports team, says teen counselor Tina Paone, PhD. Puberty is the same. “You can’t make this change happen any quicker than it’s going to happen,” Paone says, and feeling frustrated isn’t going to help.

Look on the bright side. There might also be some pluses to not starting puberty just yet. You don't have to shave, and you might not need to shower as often! So try not to dwell on when your body will change. And some guys who are maturing might look like adults, but they're not yet ready to act like one, says Cornell University psychologist Jane Mendle, PhD. “Puberty is hard for everyone, regardless of when it happens," she says.

Have fun. Spend your time doing things that you enjoy and do well. You'll feel better about yourself, Paone says. And you don't need to be tall or muscular to ace schoolwork or hobbies like speech and debate, singing, theater, or playing music. Check out afterschool clubs and organizations at your school. Or volunteer for a cause you like.

Catch up on the field. Are sports your thing? Even if other guys are taller and stronger on the sports field or court, you can play smarter and faster, says Michael Bergeron, PhD, who heads the National Youth Sports Health & Safety Institute. Here are his top two tips:

  • Get in shape. If you’re overweight or you get out of breath quickly, that might be a bigger issue than not starting puberty yet. Getting in shape can help you keep up with the other guys better. Make sure that you eat right, drink plenty of water, and sleep enough at night -- that also helps you play better.
  • Sharpen your skills. In most pro sports, great athletes come in all heights and sizes. “Just because you’re developing later doesn’t mean you can’t excel in a sport," Bergeron says. "Coaches like someone who’s quick, accurate, and consistent." So ask your coach about drills and other exercises you can do at home that will improve these skills and help you learn to control your body better.

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Reviewed on November 09, 2011

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