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Do boys have a menarche equivalent?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
My oldest is only 7.5 so this is a bit early, but I was wondering yesterday if there's anything like menarche for boys? My son was asking me when he could get his ears pierced; I always figured I would allow my daughters to make that choice once they started menstruating, but I wasn't sure what to say to my son. Is there some kind of obvious physical change that happens to boys during early puberty which I could use as a similar landmark?
post #2 of 17
Underarm hair? Or maybe when he needs to start shaving his whiskers? That's a little tough because menarche can happen at different times, even in a sibling group so it probably wouldn't be the same age for everyone. Likewise, your DS might get underarm hair at 11 but other kids might not get it until 14.
post #3 of 17
I've been wondering about this as well. Having 2 boys and 2 girls I've been thinking more and more (as my kids get older) about ceremonies and rituals that will celebrate certain points of growth in their lives. Totally Subbing...
post #4 of 17
The only thing that comes to mind is first ejaculation, only because many cultures view it the same an menarche. As in a girl becomes a woman when she can have kids (aka starts her period) so a boy becomes a man when he can have have kids (aka start ejaculating). I highly doubt your son will tell you when that happens though. He'll probably tell his male friends, maybe brag about it in some way, but family tends to be off limits for that topic outside of factual information related to reproduction.

I would advise against waiting until he needs to start shaving, if he's like 90% of males that won't happen until he's 17.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well, my brother had a full beard if he didn't shave at 14... but even that seems a bit late. The only girls I've known who menstruated at 14 or later had issues to deal with and in several cases didn't begin until they began hormone therapy. I'm also inclined to doubt that I'll know when first ejaculation happens. I was thinking that for ear piercing I could just set a number, but there are other rites of passage and I have no idea when I might be able to tell that a boychild is pubescent.
post #6 of 17
I believe one reason why many groups use age and/or ability as a mark of "manhood" is because it is so hard to tell when boys are starting into puberty.

I would can my attitude about "when you start your period." What if one daughter gets it at 10 and the other 16? Both would be well within norms.

I would say an age like 12-13. For our house that seems to be the age that they decide they really care about their looks for the most part.

I doubt your son will tell any one if he ejaculated. That isn't something that is talked about.

As for shaving - My son is 15 hasn't needed to. His best friend has needed two for almost 2 years.
post #7 of 17
I figured it had started in my son when he began to have strong underarm oder. That's a pretty good sign that the hormones have started pumping. He copped a serious attitude around that time as well!
post #8 of 17
Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
The only girls I've known who menstruated at 14 or later had issues to deal with and in several cases didn't begin until they began hormone therapy.
Just as an FYI - it is not at all abnormal for a girl not to start menstruating before 14, nor does it indicate a need for hormone therapy, etc. It's really only considered a concern if she hasn't started by ~16.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
I didn't say I've known girls who were put on hormone therapy at 14, I said the only ones I've personally known who didn't menstruate at that age had problems and that many didn't menstruate until they began hormone therapy. I know it's within the range of normal, but in the cases of girls I have actually known in real life it's always been pathological. Please don't read more into it than I've written.
post #10 of 17
I've told my ds he can get his ear pierced when he is 13. If he still wants it.
post #11 of 17
You can say either double digits : 10 yo
or teenager : 13yo
post #12 of 17
In our family we have phrased things that when you hit 10 you begin the journey to adulthood, and that lasts 10-14, then you are ready to take on the responsibilities of a young adult. For us it is about respect, about treating them as people in charge of their lives and bodies. We don't want them to feel 'parented' and oppressed through their teen years (13-19) and then suddenly be expected to be mature adults.

(our eldest will be 10 soon.) we think treating them as respected young adults first will help them act as such.

As for the ear piercing, I'd want to chat with him about why, and if he's ready to care for it and manage it, whatever age suits. I can say all that with children who have no interest in piercings but we really try to parent from a place of respecting their choices, and if they want such a thing, it's not really harmful so go for it.

When my kids were younger I had big ideas about not allowing stuff I felt was too mature (hair dye, etc) but as they age I find I need to re-think my outlook on all this stuff, so I don't limit them in ways that are disrespectful. If they want it, they want it.
post #13 of 17
For us (we were all girls, but this would work for boys too) we were allowed to get our ears pierced when we entered junior high.

post #14 of 17
Voice change.
post #15 of 17
I told my dd she could get her ears pierced when she wanted to and was ready.

If you are set on waiting until they are a certain age I would just use a certain age so it can be the same for all kids.
post #16 of 17
Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post
You can say either double digits : 10 yo
or teenager : 13yo
That makes the most sense to me. That way its the same age for boys and girls. Waiting for signs of puberty seems a bit weird to me.
post #17 of 17
eilonwy this is my philosophy regarding piercings. of course i only have a girl.

i would do it when my dd knew exactly what she was getting into. she did at 3. she told me exactly what it meant and the aftercare she would need to do to her ears. she knew it would hurt and she was willing to put up with the pain.

so i dont really let a number hold her back. mind you though i come from a culture that pierces ears at babyhood. so my cultural perspective might be different.

i say this because i have read your previous postings. and in your case i find even tho your son is 7.5 - he is really more like a 9 year old. he is one of the matured ones on the board. please correct me if i am wrong because i base this on your musings in your posts here on MDC.
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