260 weeks remaining…

In case you haven’t noticed, your eighth grader really knows a lot.

In fact, if you ever forget how much they know, they’ll remind you. Possibly with an eye roll and a hint of exasperation. After all, it’s exhausting being smarter than everyone else. This is a critical time for teens to begin personalizing what they believe, so don’t be afraid to challenge them from time to time to help them discover more about themselves. Attempts at conversation with them might be met with frustration or looks of disgust, but don’t give up! Your taciturn teen wants adult conversations every once in a while. Be available, even if the only words you’ve heard recently are “uh-huh,” “no,” and “I know.”

They’re also trying to figure out ways that they can be independent. When they feel too limited, their reaction might remind you of what it was like parenting a toddler. Whenever possible, present options for your teen. Give them the freedom to make choices about things that affect them.

Your eighth grader is changing


  • They still need 9-11 hours of sleep every night but may get tired easily and develop headaches.
  • Hormones continue to cause changes in height, body shape, body odor, and muscle mass for both guys and girls.
  • Girls experience a growth spurt and often outpace guys in development.


  • They can solve complex problems and enjoy seeing two sides of an argument and forming and sharing their opinion.
  • They can evaluate and critique themselves.
  • Have a growing ability to organize.


  • Tendency to overschedule their time.
  • More interested in leadership roles and teaching younger kids.
  • Physical performance and appearance might be emphasized.
  • Their sense of humor starts to lean more toward sarcasm and becomes a bit more sophisticated.


  • Might display more interest in current events, pop culture, and politics.
  • They’re becoming more like adults. They’ll need other adult influences (that aren’t parents), want to negotiate the rules, and aspects of their personality will start to seem more grown up.
  • They’re more concerned with how they look than how their environment looks. They’ll probably look a lot more put together than their bedroom or locker.