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Your Son's Voice Change

If your boy is suddenly croaking when he talks, it may be the first sign that (biologically, at least!) he's becoming a man. During puberty, a boy's voice box and vocal cords enlarge, causing his voice to deepen—with some cracking along the way. For a safe voyage through this rite of passage:

Get him laughing about it

Good-natured ribbing may make him feel more comfortable, as long as it's silly ("Is someone playing a trumpet?"), not shameful ("You sound like a girl!").

Consider his feelings

If your son is overly sensitive about his voice change, dig deeper. He may be getting teased at school or think that something's wrong with him. Let him know it's normal, and temporary.

Give him guy time

Encourage your son to hang out with his dad or other father figures. Boys this age need "biological mirrors," says Michael Gurian, coauthor of The Minds of Boys.

Check your emotions

Don't smother your son (though you may have mixed feelings about him growing up so fast) or push him too quickly into adulthood. Cherish this awkward, endearing time—it'll be over all too soon.