Out of Sync

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About Helen Peppe

Helen Peppe is a writer and photographer whose work has appeared in artistic, literary, commercial, and educational publications nationally and internationally. Currently a participant in the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast Writing M.F.A. program, she lives with her family in Westbrook, Maine.


  1. wow, thanks for sharing. My son is not even 3, my daughter just over a month. I wonder what story I would tell when I look back on his life, what can I do now to set that story into motion, can I? hmmm. My son remembers so much, it scares me, I often wonder about the times I have gotten angry with him, will those be set in his mind as bricks in a wall; how high must that wall get before I panic.

  2. Kathryn Gordon says:

    I greatly enjoyed your use of humor in your story. Also, I liked your clever parallel to JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Excellent, well-written story.

  3. Your writing is excellent! And this story is riveting. I couldn’t stop reading and rooting for all of you. The way you wove his progression back to the pedi-endo’s original statements was terrific. Thank you for your honesty. Look forward to more of your work.

  4. Edward Wolfe says:

    That was a moving and powerful article. I had to stop reading because it sounds a lot like my nephew, who is now 11 but over 5’6″, and I hear has a “huge bush.” I was worried and panicked, urging my sisters to read the story. Already, my nephew is asking my brothers and I about our sexual escapades and wants real detail. He won’t watch a movie unless there are breasts.

    But I am glad your story had a good ending. My nephew, unfortunately, is not as intellectually advanced as your son has been (or perhaps he is but we’re not encouraging it). He seems just as sexually and physically mature as your son. There is sure to be light at the end of the tunnel, but your article has let me know, and warn, about a potentially dark storm growing.

  5. This is a great account of your story. I will be watching this website or buying the magazine from now on.

  6. I had no idea about this condition but you really presented a full overview within a well-told narrative. I applaud your family’s generosity in sharing this story and your skill as a writer to help us see the complexity of an issue in a thought-provoking way.

  7. I find it extremely offensive that this woman would expose this information about her son. Did she ask him before she posted all the gory details on the net for all of his friends, employers and coworkers to read, in perpetuity?

  8. Benoit Denizet-Lewis says:

    Root: Yes, she received permission from her son.

  9. Root: Yes, my son approved the story and monitored what I put in and what I left out. With little to no information available on precocious puberty from a family perspective, both Alex and I (and his dad) thought it might benefit other families to read about our experiences.

  10. Thank you for a very engaging and educational story. I really enjoyed it. While I’m sure every family’s experience will be different, it is inspirational to know that these kinds of problems can turn out well in the end. Thanks for sharing.

  11. suzanne rosenwasser says:

    Your honesty ~ and Alex’s ~ is a lesson in how we progress as humans only through learning about each other’s lives. I have taught boys with precocious puberty, one who had a full beard at 14 and didn’t shave. He was a mild mountain of a boy-man who tried to hunch his size down into his chest by pulling his shoulders up to his ears. Eventually, life catches up to the boys, but as with all of us, lonely transitions are made building-blocks only when loving parents like you engage in the task. I really appreciate your story and its telling.

  12. Sharon Bergeron says:

    I had never heard of this condition but you really presented a well told story in a heartfelt way. I so hope that your honesty will help others. It’s wonderful when a family can share and help others so openly. The love and compassion that you and your husband have shows in this story. You are a skilled writer and I look forword to reading more of your work. Thank you for sharing and helping others.

  13. Alison Dehetre says:

    Great story, one never hears much said about percoious puberty and results of the person with this. It was interesting reading about his life turn events through his years. For you and your husband to be able to stay strong through this shows a great deal of compassion and love for your son. Hopefully others will read this story and learn that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Great story!!

  14. Daniel S. says:

    “Hey, my kid has a serious hormone imbalance, but instead of doing something to control it we just figure we’ll let it wreck havoc on our lives.”

    Sorry, sometimes being a parent means doing things your kids won’t like. You failed Alex by not giving him the chance to physically mature at a normal rate, in order to spare him a daily injection. I feel sorry that Alex had to go through this, but I feel no sympathy for you.

  15. Skru Yu says:

    Since there was no disclaimer that the pictures were of a model, I had little wonder if the doctor did indeed write “mother fails to see the seriousness of the situation.” No shit. This mother thinks her boy has blond hair. Still, I agree with their parenting. Alex seems to be as normal of a mature adult as they come.

  16. David Wise says:

    All’s well that ends well. God bless him.

  17. powermatic says:

    Let’s review:

    -ignore every single bit of advice given by medical professionals familiar with the issue

    -somehow manage to find, apparently, the world’s worst therapists, and then give up

    -in virtually every aspect let your teenager run his own, and your, lives

    -because he miraculously turned out less-than-thoroughly-deranged, give yourselves a big pat on the back for a ‘job well done’

    –and finally, spread his name, photo, and sad story to potentially every computer in the known world. Oh, wait, he gave you permission! Well, that should make it okay when his life is ruined, and god knows you couldn’t possibly have told this story and remained anonymous.

    In sum: Dumbest. Parents. Ever

  18. I think this story can help a lot of people in a difficult situation see that there can be a positive resolution, and that the search for a solution can be highly personal and complex.

    Daniel S. and Powermatic: in your rush to say mean things about people you don’t know you either didn’t read the article carefully or weren’t able to understand it (Dumbest. Reader. Ever.), as you both, in your “review,” got the facts dead wrong. If you take the time to re-read, which I’m sure you won’t, you will see, for instance, that the doctor chose the same non-medicated approach for his own son with the same problem. That is not “ignoring every single bit of medical advice,” quite the contrary. It as, at worst, not taking every chemical option available. Are you two into chemical solutions, perhaps?

    The same goes for every other point you both made.

    But this is the most important one: this is not a “sad story.” It is a very happy story, one that no participant is, or should be, embarrassed to be part of. She and her son told the story because they are proud of it, as they should be. Who wouldn’t want something they are proud of to be on “potentially every computer in the known world?” In what way could that ruin his life?

  19. This response page has taken a kind of catty turn. The negative comments inspired me read this story again, perhaps more carefully. And I still think it is a great story. I think the author’s pride in her son shines through from beginning to end.

  20. why didn’t the kid get a beating from dad after he put his hands on mom?

  21. A concerned pediatrician/physcian says:

    I am sorry to be a critical voice, but this article highlights a difficult time for a family, and some horrible choices parents made for their son, as well as the consequences of the parent’s poor choices. ( I speak as a pediatrician.)

    Even though a child goes through precocious puberty, they are no closer to being intellectually and mentally adult than any other child. (We don’t have full maturation of our brain until our early 20s- thus explaining the poor choices and lack of foresight towards consequences most teenagers have.) As parents, you should have realized this. No child will want to deal with a chronic disease, inc. shots as a 9 year old. That is a parents responsibility- you understand the far reaching consequences of your decisions, unlike your son. Make the responsible choice- treating your child- and don’t worry about being their best friend, or inc. them in your decisions. This is a very common problem with all adolescents- they lack the insight in to their disease.

    That goes for allowing things like free, unlimited, access to internet porn. THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR SON’S DISEASE- and everything to do with poor parental decisions. At no time does precocious puberty excuse a child from being guided and disciplined by their parents. I do not understand the guidance your endocrinologist gave you, and I would seriously question the actual knowledge he gave you. Precocious puberty doesn’t mean that your son suddenly discovers he has a penis. All boys know this. Additionally, all boys experiment with masturbation. But, not all boys have sex with homeless 21 year old’s when they are 15. That was due to your poor parenting skills.

    The disease is thus: your son develops mature gonads, hair, height early. You ALLOWED him to make this maturation early due to including him in the treatment decisions. The choices you made as a parent are what guided him to have sex early. There are many, many teenagers out in the public who go through puberty- either early or in a normal time line- who are not banging older homeless women. Please stop blaming a disease for your poor parenting decisions and the exposures YOU chose to allow your 9 year old access to. Your son’s story is much more a reflection of your poor frontal lobe maturity and poor parental choices vs. an actual disease natural history.

  22. powermatic says:


    No, you need to re-read the story, and my response (“though I’m sure you won’t”). My analysis was accurate given the details given to me by this missive. Though I am mot a medical professional, my points are, in the main, consistent with the “pediatrician” who posts later. And if you can’t understand how a 19 year old can be tormented by stories about his masturbation proclivities or ‘poor personal hygiene’, you’ve lived a very, very sheltered life.

    But if this is a blog where everyone is encouraged to nod agreeably and voice enthusiasm for the OP, and dissent and common sense is frowned upon, you’re right-I shouldn’t be here. Good luck.

    And I’ll stand by my “meaness”-incredibly, amazingly, Dumb.

  23. this is, without a doubt, the most f-ed up story i’ve ever read. “precocious puberty” aside, what kind of parent gives their 11 year old CHILD unlimited access to porn? and in what world is the mother living where porn = pictures? her lack of intelligence and common sense astounds me. hell, i’m only a 20-year-old french major and i could have been a better therapist (and parent) for alex. the only good thing that i garnered from this article is that your son never ended up raping anyone. uhm, job well done folks.

  24. I feel that the author felt she had to “fix” a son that wasn’t broken, but merely different. Yes, if he had gotten a girl pregnant at 9 or 10 years old, it would have been awful, but he didn’t. However, the potential of such a possibility led to over-parenting and the eventual overreaction/stunted maturity that is a natural outgrowth for children going through puberty. Your son dated a girl you didn’t like when he was 15? I’m aghast at his thoughtlessness! The only people who date girls their parents like at 15 are crazy christians who would clap, cry and pray for babies if their fifteen year old got engaged.

    Quit whipping yourself in a public forum to try and gain sympathy. Your son appears to have turned out pretty well. Lots of parents who have over-parented as much as you wind up with abject fuck-ups. How about giving your kid some credit for living with his differences rather than pouting that you had a son who wasn’t “normal”.

  25. I didn’t even know precocious puberty existed, and I am glad I was made aware of the problem. It explains the behavior of people I have known in the past and may be helpful to know in the future.

  26. Beautifully told, Helen. I’m incredible impressed with the patience and tolerance you and your husband showed your son during his formative years. I have come to understand how much of an alien territory the mind and emotions of a teenage boy are to most mothers and that many find it very challenging to allow their son to become a man, as if the mothers are experiencing a sense of less in seeing their son cross that bridge to the shores of manhood. What it must have been like to have that transition into manhood happen SO EARLY! Wow, quite a story.

    Thank you for your open-hearted sharing

    Eivind F S

  27. I’m glad A concerned pediatrician/physcian wrote in. The choices made by these parents are horrific and I’m sorry that Alex had to deal with a difficult medical condition as well as parents who really set him up for failure. I’m glad he was able to overcome their poor choices.

  28. Being a parent myself, I don’t believe anyone has all the answers, and I worry about my own decisions all the time. This story must have been very difficult to live and to write. I appreciate your honesty and the fact that you shared your story. It is inspirational.

  29. My son had precocious puberty, although I don’t remember his doctor calling it that. In those days we didn’t have internet porn, but we had everything else. My husband and I tried to police our son’s every choice and punish his every misbehavior with horrible results. It was a terrible time in our lives. Our relationship with our son was damaged, and is still strained although he is now well into his adult years. It looks like your family will come out better. Good luck. I feel better for having read your story.

  30. the only therapist my child will see before the age of 10 or so will be a paddle, a belt or a heavy hand.


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