Reuben playing

Testosterone Surge in Preschoolers; Fact or Myth?

23rd April 2017

I recently wrote a post about how raising Reuben when he was two was so much easier. At the moment we are still going through some tough times. They are not quite so frequent but when they happen, boy are they tough!

It’s difficult to put it in words how he is but I guess the best way to describe it is over-excited. When we have visitors he is like a wild child. He will run around, is loud and generally gets up in people’s faces. Not aggressively but because he is so excited to see them. As most of my friends have little girls they can be intimidated by him. It is something that I am trying to get him to stop doing but it’s not easy.

I had a friend over recently and he was in one of those moods. He was shouting, running and just not really listening. We were talking about it and she had mentioned that boys tend to get like this at around 3 or 4 years old as they have a surge of testosterone. I’ve never heard of this, but thought it seemed plausible. I decided to spend some time looking into it and trying to find out some more information.

Do Preschoolers Have Increased Testosterone?

I have spent hours trawling the internet for the answer to this. There are so many opinions on the matter but nothing that seems to be factual, let alone medical!

Most of the articles I have read appear to be from other Mummy bloggers, just like me, trying to make sense of their angels change in behaviour. One post stood out to me, the author had written about the differing levels of testosterone by age (you can read that here) Everything that is written sounds so plausible, she writes the following;

“At Age Four

At this age, boys will get a huge surge of testosterone – almost double their levels. Dads especially could love this – more fighting and wrestling, and active boy-dad activities. This is the age boys will use your lounge suite as a jungle gym, beds as trampolines and burglar bars on windows as ladders. Trips to the emergency room for bouts of stitches may be needed randomly too”

I read this and think “This is me, this is my life”.
Does that mean that Reuben has had a testosterone surge? Where is everyone getting their information from?
As I previously mentioned I couldn’t find any medical information about preschoolers having a testosterone surge.

Luteinizing Hormone

Then I found this article which is all about the Luteinizing Hormone which is (in the authors words) ‘the building blocks for testosterone”

Whilst this post says there is a rise in the Luteinzing Hormone in a 4 year old, it states that this has no effect on the behaviour of the child. This is purely something that happens in preparation to the child turning 10 or 11 when puberty starts. From what I have read Luteinizing Hormone levels are high after birth, but then fall. Then they remain low until puberty approaches usually between ages 10 and 14 years old.

So why has my angel turned into a hyperactive whirlwind?

reuben running in a field

So if not a Testosterone Surge, then what?

Have we actually considered it is genetics?

I found a couple of articles, one from Psychology Today and one from Babycentre. Both explain the development differences in boys and girls. But ultimately, boys and girls are different and there is a reason that they are different. Boys are naturally more energetic and aggressive, it is part of their ‘design’.

Conclusion

My conclusion is that whilst Reuben is currently a tornado of energy bouncing of the walls, he will only be this way for a short time. Whilst it is hard I need to try to help him make sense of what he is dealing with.
When Jessica is older I need to be prepared for a completely different scenario.

I think we spend so much time looking for reasons why our children act the way they do. From looking into this, all I have discovered is that Reuben is acting like a typical three year old. He is going to be boisterous and he is going to be full of energy, and why, because that’s what boys do.

I would love to know what you think in the comments below. Do you think we spend too much time looking for a reason why our children act a certain way?

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