How Does a 15-Year-Old Boy Typically Develop?

Reviewed on 7/2/2021
By the age of 15, your son may prefer to spend time with friends over family.
By the age of 15, your son may prefer to spend time with friends over family.

You might be amazed how soon your cute, little, naughty son has turned into a handsome hunk. You might find it hard to believe that your son is not just a school-going child but also an adolescent. Adolescence is a phase just before adulthood, which is also time for major physical changes and intellectual, social, and emotional development. Although a typical developmental milestone may vary from boy to boy, there are some general development milestones to look for.

Physical characteristics

At this age, boys continue to grow in height, and they

  • Need excess sleep.
  • Get taller and more muscular.
  • Eat a lot and are almost always hungry.
  • Can be clumsy because they are growing.

Sexual changes

  • Bigger Adam's apple
  • Pubic, underarm, and facial hair
  • Deeper voice that sometimes cracks
  • Larger penis and testicles that start to produce sperm

Intellectual characteristics

Your teen's thought process becomes complex by 15 years of age. Some of the changes include the following:

  • Starting to make their own decision
  • Developing a sense of right and wrong
  • Understanding the long-term effects of their decisions
  • Developing a passion for something and cultivating deeper interests
  • Starting to set a goal for the future
  • Appreciating other's opinions
  • Developing the ability to solve problems
  • Successfully juggling school, outside activities, and work
  • Frequently challenging and questioning school and parental rules
  • Exploring new music, jobs, religion, political issues, sexuality, and social causes and experimenting with clothing fashion

Social and emotional characteristics

Your son might search for an identity -- a sense of who they are. They want to be more independent and in control. During this age, they may also do the following:

  • Give preference to friends over family.
  • Spend less time with family and more time with family or alone.
  • Be excited and at the same time overwhelmed by the possibilities for their future.
  • Want to try new things such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
  • Have strong sexual urges and may become sexually active.
  • Become more aware of their sexual orientation.
  • Get depressed -- but sadness lasting more than 2 weeks is not normal.
  • Want to argue more and talk less.
  • Start dating.

Speech and language

Most 15-year-old boys are interested in conversing with their friends rather than family members. Most 15-year-old boys can do the following:

  • Communicate in an adult fashion.
  • Hold appropriate conversations.
  • Use more sophisticated communication skills.
  • Understand and use sarcasm in their speech.
  • Have a liking for text message and social media.
  • Find writing or blogging to be a helpful way to express themselves.

What can parents do to help their 15-year-old son?

As a parent, you can do the following things to help your teen during this time.

  • Talk with them about drugs, tobacco, and alcohol.
  • Be ready to address their concerns and problems.
  • Involve them in setting household rules and schedules.
  • Continue talking to them about dating, sex, and the importance of safe sex.
  • Encourage them to volunteer and get involved in community activities.
  • Set rules about media use.
  • Encourage them to get enough sleep and physical activity.
  • Talk about body image and self-worth.
  • Encourage them to eat healthy foods and be active.
  • Compliment them and celebrate their efforts and accomplishments.
  • Respect your teen's opinions and listen to them without judging them.
  • Respect their need for privacy.
  • Support their gender identity and love them.
  • Know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of eating disorders and other mental problems.

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References
"Teen Growth and Development, Ages 15-17." SutterHealth.org. August 2019. <https://www.sutterhealth.org/health/parenting-preteens-teens/physical/teen-growth-development-ages-15-to-17>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Teenagers (15-17 years of age)." Feb. 22, 2021. <https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/adolescence2.html>.

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