You'll notice your child: • Wanting to be a member of a peer group. By fitting in with a group of friends, she will have proof of her acceptance and be privy to accepted standards of behavior, dress and musical preference: You name it, she'll try to conform to it. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; she needs to learn the "rules" of teenage life in order to feel control over her social existence. The biggest downside to hanging out within a group is the increased possibility that she'll be introduced to risky behaviors such as experimental drug and alcohol use.
• Assuming that his peers are watching - and evaluating - his every move. Therefore, waking up with a pimple can be a tragedy ("Everyone is going to make fun of me!"), while he could expect that his new skateboard will provoke a standing ovation ("The guys are gonna freak when they see this!"). Meanwhile, they're all just as preoccupied with themselves so that in the end they hardly notice each other.
• Usually "dating" in groups. Since the group is the focal point of all social activity in eighth grade, dating usually either springs from a relationship within a mixed-sex group or is actually done all together. It's not uncommon to see triple or quadruple dates, for instance, which decrease the chance of sexual intimacy. This tends not to be the case if there's a significant age difference between the girl and boy: Middle-school girls are sometimes "asked out" by high school boys, who can seem more mature and exciting.
More skills and milestones: