Is the four year old testosterone surge real?
Recently I’ve noticed a big change in my four year old son. I initially thought that he was just affected by grief and that was the sole cause of the changes in him, but having helped him to work through that and also having chatted to a few friends with boys the same age, the consensus seems to be the same across the board, our boys are changing!
My sweet, kind and gentle little boy recently developed a new streak. A very pumped up, sometimes angry, loud streak. He’s still sweet and kind but now and then he has a new layer of something else, stroppy teen maybe? When he is in that mood, he seems to be incapable of walking past something without kicking it, or whacking it with a stick. It’s not malicious and often not even angry, it’s just, necessary somehow.
It can be very draining when he is in that mood. He talks back to me. A lot. And it’s almost as if he can’t help himself. I can see that he doesn’t want to be rude but also that he can’t seem to stop himself either.
There is also a fascination with karate. And rugby clashes. And any fighting scenes in films make him howl with laughter. All games with friends are ‘power rangers’ or ‘superhero clash’ despite never having seen either!
There are things that just make him a stereotypical boy, (stereotypes are there for a reason I guess!), he’s noisy, he likes, no loves mud, his knees are always scratched and bruised from various endeavors, but a few of his female friends like the same things, and yet they are somehow a little calmer with it and I’m wondering if that means there are hormones at play as well.
So is the four year old testosterone surge real? I have researched and it seems that a four year old testosterone surge was talked about in the book Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph but seemed to have come from nowhere and has since been debunked as a myth, and yet, why is it that so many people write about it and talk about such big changes in boys at this age if there is nothing in it? I wrote a while ago about my worry when I found out I was having a boy and about the boys that I saw in the playground running and shouting and crashing into each other that made me nervous…….and now my son can be one of those noisy crashy boys!
Although he is actually still my sweet boy underneath. He often takes my face in his hands and tells me I’m beautiful, he worries if I’m sad, he gets me glasses of water if I have a headache and is generally an absolute darling. He will be mindful of younger ones in the playground, (mostly!) and I’ve been told that at preschool he has created ‘gentler’ versions of his rough and tumble games to play with his female friends, all without prompting. He is also very caring and considerate and his loving gentleness with me when he is calm is heart melting. And my friends’ boys are just the same.
The thing is, that I genuinely believe that what is happening to my boy is out of his control. He seems wired sometimes, too much energy surging through his body to know what to do with. It’s been really interesting having a daughter first and then a son as I can really see the differences in them. Although she can also be completely hyper sometimes, she doesn’t seem to have that aggressive streak. She doesn’t seem to need to hit the ground with sticks, kick balls into fences or roar ferociously a lot. She does it because she wants to, to join in the game, but I can see that it wouldn’t bother her if she couldn’t whereas he seems to have to let it out.
When he has had a chance to expel that extra energy, he is calm again, and will sit and ‘read’ a book or do some craft with his sister, he loves baking and cooking and will happily sit and cuddle but if we don’t burn off some steam first we have no hope. My friend once said that boys are like dogs, you need to give them a good run in the morning and then they are ok for the day. It really made me laugh at the time but it’s actually so true! If hormones are not at play, why on earth are boys so different from girls at the same age?
I am really curious to know what your experiences of a four year old testosterone surge are. Has it happened to your son? Do you think it’s a real thing or not? Or maybe you think it’s utter rubbish! I’d love to know!