High School

Grades 9 - 12 Behavior

What do I need to know about my child's education?

Each child is unique in her emotional and behavioral development. Children may show behaviors that are above grade levels in some areas, and below grade levels in other areas. Children 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.


Children at this age...

  • may struggle with being independent and emotionally secure, and fitting in with their social groups.
  • may choose social activities, friends, peer groups, cliques, and "following the crowd" over homework, family, jobs and sports.
  • are often fragile and may be like a roller coaster with constant ups and downs.
  • tend to want independence and may act out to obtain it. Sometimes they struggle to accept the responsibility that comes with independence. They are not always able to predict and rationalize like an adult.
  • may be insecure, moody and painfully self-absorbed.
  • care greatly about appearance and may experiment with self-expression through hairstyles and dress.
  • may become sentimental and concerned as high school comes to an end. In some cases, teenagers may give up on their work before the school year is over.


The Michigan Departement of Education requires children in high school to work on the following skills:

  • Identify the characteristics of positive relationships and analyze their impact personal, family and community health 
  • 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 herself 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 herself or others
  • Demonstrate the ability to express emotions constructively, including use of anger management skills
  • Develop short-term and long-term personal goals and aspirations
  • Apply decision-making and problem-solving steps to generate alternative solutions regarding social situations that could place her health or safety at risk
  • Predict the potential short- and long-term effects of each alternative solution on themselves and others and defend the healthy choice(s)
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply listening and assertive communication skills in situations that may involve parents, family members, other trusted adults, peers, boyfriends/girlfriends and health professionals
  • Demonstrate how to respond constructively to the anger of others
  • Describe the impact of showing empathy for another person's emotions and point of view
  • Assess personal behavior and how they demonstrates character traits
  • Develop a personal plan for maintaining or improving her demonstration of character traits
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of health-related decisions