EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 7, 2012

My 12-year-old son is maturing early -- should I worry?

Family Matters Dr. Larry Larsen
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Our son is maturing rather early. He is 12 years old and has reached height of an older boy. He is concerned about it. We told him it is nothing to worry about. Did we speak correctly?

Not only did you speak correctly, but there is some good news!

Many studies have been done on early versus late maturing adolescent boys. Bear in mind girls are well ahead of boys, generally by about two years.

The studies are comparative. That is, they measure early versus late maturing boys. These are statistical differences and should not be taken as fixed in stone. Here are a few tidbits.

No differences in grade placement, socio-economic status, or grades in school have been noted between early and late maturers.

There is some evidence that early maturers have a higher IQ.

Early maturers are generally rated by their peers as more attractive and better athletes.

Early maturers appear to learn social skills sooner. They exhibit more self control and greater interest in girls.

Early maturing boys do not have any greater likelihood of apparent emotional difficulties. There is some evidence of less.

So, tell your son the good news and make another point. When the hypothalamus and the pituitary start their thing, Mother Nature is speaking, and nothing can be done about it. Go with the endocrine flow!