The 8th Grader

The Eighth Grader
How They Grow in Eighth Grade


Is your thirteen-year-old on track? Below are some general development milestones to help you understand your child's progress over the school year. Keep in mind that every child is different and may not fit perfectly into this framework.

Growth Patterns

How does your 13-year-old grow? With one-word answers and rude behavior? Or are collections of music, jewelry, and make-up taking over her room? Read below to find out answers to these questions.



  • Kids this age have high physical energy.
  • Skin problems are emerging; hygiene is a key issue.
  • Girls: Reach 95 percent of mature height; menstruation has begun for most.
  • Boys: Voice change for many; growth spurt about a year behind girls.



  • Neatness is a key issue with personal appearance, but not with personal environment.
  • The mirror is their best friend and worst enemy.
  • Kids this age are often quieter than 12- or 14-year-olds.
  • They like to be left alone at home.
  • Their feelings are easily hurt and they can easily hurt other's feelings.
  • Kids this age are often mean when they're scared.
  • Close friendships are often more important to girls.
  • Boys hang out in groups.
  • Girls are more interested in older boys.
  • Both genders have a strong interest in sports.
  • Telephone, computer, video games, and other electronic diversions are a major time factor.
  • Music is becoming a major preoccupation.
  • Peer pressure increases regarding dress, language, music, in-out, being cool.
  • Kids this age worry about school work.
  • Their humor is highlighted by increasing sarcasm.
  • Horseplay and practical jokes are still popular with boys.
  • Girls enjoy collecting things (jewelry, make-up, CD’s).


  • Kids this age give one-word answers to questions.
  • Street language/peer language is important.
  • Their language can be extreme and voices can be loud.
  • Kids this age are often perceived as being rude.


  • An eighth-grader's withdrawn and sensitive nature protects her developing self-concept and intellectual ideas that are not yet fully formed.
  • Abstract reasoning and "formal operations" begin to come into play in some 13-year-olds.
  • Kids this age take a tentative approach to difficult intellectual tasks; they're not willing to take big learning risks.
  • They like to challenge intellectual, as well as social, authority.

From Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom Ages 4-14 by Chip Wood, © 1997 by Northeast Foundation for Children