Hallway Kids

8th Grade Behavior


Each child is unique in his emotional and behavioral development. Children may show behaviors that are above grade levels in some areas, and below grade levels in other areas. Children also do not develop at a consistent rate. They may seem to show no growth for a long time and then show a lot of growth in a short span of time. The following social and emotional expectations are general and to be used as a guideline to help you understand your child's development.

What to expect from your child in 8th grade

Children at this age...

  • are very driven by their peers, value peer approval and input very highly, and want to fit in with their peer group.
  • begin to become competitive in all areas including sports, academics and in peer groups. This can lead to putting down others who are not "as good" as the child based on his assessment of the peers' performance.
  • demonstrate longer attention spans, but still struggle with long-term planning and recognizing the consequences from their actions that are not immediate.
  • tend to be self-centered and struggle to relate to other's feelings.
  • want increasing levels of independence both in and out of school. They like to have the ability to stay home alone and to be responsible for getting to and from school without adult supervision.
  • begin to care about personal appearance.


The Michigan Department of Education requires children in eighth grade to work on the following skills:

  • Distinguish between passive, aggressive and assertive communication and demonstrate the ability to use assertive communication skills
  • Describe the warning signs, risk factors and protective factors for depression and suicide
  • Analyze situations as to whether they call for simple acts of caring among friends, or require getting the help of caring adults
  • Demonstrate how to ask trusted adults and friends for help with emotional or mental health concerns for himself or others, including the risk of suicide
  • Demonstrate the ability to locate school and community resources to assist with problems related to emotional health concerns, including when someone is in danger of hurting himself or others
  • Describe the signs and symptoms of stress and use stress management techniques
  • Explain internal and external factors that help to determine how he acts toward others
  • Demonstrate using the problem solving steps to solve a problem
  • Demonstrate ways to show caring and respect for others, including those with real or perceived differences (ex. cultural differences, disabilities, gender, sexual orientation)
  • Apply conflict resolution skills to real or hypothetical situations involving peers
  • Describe essential character traits needed for personal success and well-being
  • Apply skills to manage strong feelings
  • Evaluate behaviors, including his own, to determine if they are examples of essential character traits
  • Advocate for a school environment in which everyone treats each other with caring and respect


Bright Futures
Michigan's Behavior and Learning Support Initiative
Michigan Department of Education's Health Education Content Standards and Expectations
Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention
Wisconsin RtI Center