What’s Going on With My 6th Grader?

The 6th Grade Year is an exciting year filled with the transition from childhood to adolescence. Here is a guide to help give you a glimpse of what might be going on inside your brand new 6th grader.

PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

  • A “Hormone Cocktail” kick starts puberty and prepares the body to begin the process of growing into adulthood.
  • These hormones are not released consistently and may cause “wild mood swings,” brought on by this hormonal imbalance.
  • Boys may begin to grow facial and pubic hair.
  • Boys may notice their voice “cracking” and sounding deeper.
  • Girls may grow pubic hair and develop breasts.
  • Girls may get their period.
  • There may be a high energy level, but it is balanced by a high need for rest.
  • Girls typically experience growth spurts before boys do.
  • Bones and muscles are not growing at the same rate, which may lead to feelings of awkwardness and clumsiness.
  • There is an increased need to pay attention to personal hygiene.

EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The 6th grader may:

  • Become moody and easily frustrated
  • Experiment with “off-color” humor and silliness
  • Show more concern for body image
  • Begin to express feelings more frequently
  • Experience emotions in extremes
  • Be characterized by curiosity
  • Become more socially expansive and aware
  • Express less affection for parent
  • Encounter periods of sadness, depression, and desperation, which can lead to poor coping habits

RELATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Friendships change, due to new schools, boyfriends/girlfriends, and change of
    affinity groups.
  • Girls tend to build friendships in groups of 2-3.
  • Boys tend to build friendships in “packs” of 8-10, based on affinity.
  • Boys struggle with being “loners” if they do not find a pack of friends.
  • Wild mood swings cause relational turmoil in friendships.
  • Struggles occur with being rejected by a friend or left out of a group of friends.

SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Concrete thinking begins to give way to abstract thinking, which creates a new world of questions about faith and spiritual things.
  • The desire to question and disagree with their parents’ beliefs arises, but it is tamed by fear to express those doubts.
  • Their major concern for God is how He can help them in their daily lives.
  • There is a struggle to see the relevance of the Bible in their daily lives.
  • Through relationships with significant adults, spiritual lessons are more “caught”
    than taught.