Question : I’m a 15 year old guy and my problem is that I don’t feel like a man… all my friends look super buff and muscular, and their beards are growing and voices have cracked. But none of this has happened with me. It’s so embarrassing and makes me angry when my friends mock me and call me a girl. I’ve noticed that I’ve started taking it out on my mom and snapping at her even though I know it’s not fair. I feel lost! Teentalker , 15-year-old
Ah, the joys of being a teen! You’re not a boy, and not yet a man – everything you’re describing is a natural outcome of this in-between phase: waiting for your beard to grow, your voice to crack, your biceps to develop. Even the increased irritability with your mother and sensitivity to your friends’ teasing! I know it’s so frustrating because all of these changes are totally out of your control! And there’s no point in me telling you that puberty is a phase and before you know it you’ll be a man (possibly feeling nostalgic about your 15-year-old-self who didn’t have a beard to trim every morning!), because you know this, and yet you aren’t feeling reassured – this difference between your feelings and knowledge is also so typical of puberty. If I could tell you one thing, it’s that everything you’ve shared is normal – even if you feel like the only one struggling, I promise you that’s simply not true.
In the meantime,:
- Shift your focus on to things you can control.
- Take up a sport or exercise that you enjoy – this will make you feel more confident about your body and stimulate your growth hormones.
- Eat healthily and drink tons of water. Your teenage years can make your skin go wild too, so take care of it!
- Your sweat glands are also extra stimulated these days so buy a good antiperspirant and don’t re-wear your clothes more than once!
Puberty strikes everyone at different ages – some boys start sprouting underarm and pubic hair at 11 whereas others don’t start till 14. Every body change is dictated by your hormones, which are unpredictable and often follow a similar pattern to the males in your families – so you could ask them when they started noticing hair and voice changes. Read up online about puberty changes in boys and you’ll read so many similar experiences where they compare themselves to their more filled out friends and feel bad. Do ask yourself though, given that puberty is a natural phenomenon that strikes everyone at different rates, is it fair to compare your body with anyone else’s? Even when your friends themselves are highlighting the differences between you and them – logically does that mean you’ll never have muscles, a deep voice or facial hair simply because they have it quicker? Sure, at the moment your friends are calling you a girl, which sucks! But like any teasing, it’s short-lived and let’s think of ways to tolerate it better.
Some teens retaliate with sarcasm, others initiate jokes about themselves to vaccinate against any potential mean comments, using the logic “I’ve already said it, whatever they say now won’t hurt”. Some people simply walk away. Others directly tell their friends to back off from commenting. With regards to your mother, on a day that you’re feeling calmer, initiate a conversation with her about your mood swings – chances are she is already taking every comment with a pinch of salt because parents know how unpredictable teenagers can be! Take a step back and think for a second which tool suits you best – and then actively make it work for you!
Hope this helps, if you have any other query do connect online for chat between 11am-8pm or drop us an offline message.
Expert Teentalk India