208 weeks remaining…

The start of high school comes with new academic challenges and an increased expectation of personal responsibility. Grades now matter more than ever as students work toward high school diplomas and for some, college admission.

It’s also a year where friends start changing. Between the change to a new school and a variety of extracurricular activities, you’ll probably start to see some unfamiliar faces as your teen connects with new people.

Encourage your teen to figure out what they love and to try new things. Let them explore their talents and offer encouragement as they look for acceptance. Whether they’re auditioning for choirs, bands, or dramas, trying out for a sports team, or joining an academic team, tune in and rediscover who they’re becoming.

Your ninth grader is changing


  • They still need at least nine hours of sleep every night but might struggle to fall asleep before 11 p.m.
  • Guys develop more hair, body odor and muscle mass. May have strange dreams, increased acne, and voice changes.
  • Girls will look more like adult women and may be near their adult height.


  • Increased ability to focus, organize and remember information.
  • Wired to take risks.
  • Avoid potential embarrassment at all costs.
  • May be overly self-aware and think that everyone is watching them.


  • Strong preference to feel empowered through choices vs. bound by rules.
  • Looking for experiences that create strong emotions and feelings.
  • Motivation may change.
  • More vulnerable to addition, self-harm, alcohol, and pornography.
  • May still have bodily insecurities.


  • Dating relationships tend to be short but there’s a greater interest in sexual expression.
  • As a parent, they might want you to listen more than they want your advice.
  • May be tempted to change their behavior or physical appearance as they look for acceptance.
  • Girls begin wearing make-up regularly.