What’s Going on With Your 9th Grader?

The 9th grade year signals the beginning of the high school experience and the last stage of the adolescent journey. This is a look into the world of your 9th grader.

PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

  • There is a heightened sensitivity to appearance and its social value.
  • Boys and girls have a propensity to diet.
  • Upper body strength begins to develop in boys.
  • Boys and girls level out in height.
  • Girls have fully developed physically into their adult bodies.
  • Boys have more of a growth spurt to continue.
  • Sexual desire is awakened, and the temptation to be sexually active is common.
  • They have a need to develop exercise routines and healthy habits.

EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The 9th grader may:

  • Have a desire for more control over aspects of their life
  • Have a more evident “adult” personality
  • Have an idealistic viewpoint of the world at large
  • Love to try new things in an effort to discover identity
  • Obtain a strong sense of accomplishment from being involved in various activities
  • Be easily “bored”
  • Exhibit impulsive behavior with friends and peers
  • Not respond to adult lectures, feeling they know better what is going on than the adult does
  • Become better at setting and achieving goals

RELATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Less time may be spent with family, while more time may be spent with peers.
  • Competition with outside groups is preferred over competition with friends.
  • Relationships with parents become focused on a negotiation to get what they want.
  • There is a strong desire for conformity
    with peers.
  • Girls have a tendency to be interested in older boys.
  • Popular peers, adults, and celebrities are strong influences.

SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Their capacity for self-discipline increases.
  • Summer camps and mission experiences influence them spiritually because of the peer connections that those events create.
  • They begin to imagine what life would be like as an adult away from their parents, and they begin deciding whether or not their faith will be a part of that.
  • The ability to fully process abstract thoughts gives them the ability to engage God
    personally.
  • Rather than being told what to believe, they need spiritual leaders to ask their opinions and let them develop their beliefs.
  • Their interest and commitment to faith change rapidly back and forth, signaling an internal struggle on whether or not to accept it.