Social Skills: Ninth Grade

Ninth Grade • Your adolescent is becoming less egocentric in her views, and that gives a greater ability to compromise, to stay composed when she's in disagreement with someone, and to be generally more tolerant and even-tempered. This lessening of self-absorption means that she's thinking about the human condition and will be developing her own sense of values. Her sense of morality will be affected by yours: Sometimes she'll mimic it and at other times oppose it.

• Her view of her world will settle first on the friends she has around her. She may find that she no longer has as much in common with her group from middle school and may want to branch out among the more diverse student body in high school. The friendships she develops during her freshman year will be more lasting and intimate than the ones she had even a year ago: There will be fewer boundaries between her and her friends.

• She will also start spending more time in mixed-sex groups, though her primary clique will be single-sex. She may speak of male "friends," and you'll immediately wonder (if not ask) if she has romantic feelings for any of them. Girls tend to be ready to date when they're 14 years old and boys a year or so later.

• There does tend to be some pairing off within larger groups, and she could be dealing with emotions that she's never felt before. Even though these relationships are usually short-lived, they can be intense. Avoid teasing or minimizing her pain when and if they do end.

More skills and milestones:

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