Emotional Changes: Ninth Grade

Ninth Grade • While he's less self-conscious than he has been in the past couple of years, ninth-graders are still uncertain about how they measure up. Their physical appearance matters greatly to them (though they'll probably be more subtle about a perceived problem), as well as how they're developing.

• Ninth-graders who are sexually active may have an even shakier image of themselves: Some have said in surveys that having sex makes them feel more attractive and more important to their partners. Another study shows that teenagers who consider themselves good-looking tend to be happier and have higher self-esteem into their 40s than those who see themselves as plain during their teen years.

• Now also begins the time of greatest rebellion for most teenagers. While this rebellious streak is perfectly normal - and some say essential for normal development into autonomous adults - it will probably drive you up the wall. His display of independence could take many forms, almost all of which are designed to show you that he's a distinct individual and immune to your influence. He may not always actually want to rebel in the ways that he is; he may feel "forced" into it in order to prove his point.

• If he has younger brothers or sisters, know that your reactions are being weighed: If you let him get away with serious infractions, it's likely that little brother or sister will make a note of it and try the same thing themselves (probably earlier than your eldest did).

More skills and milestones:

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