My work captures the age-related “stages” children go through. It is when children act up and act weird at age-related times. Per the theory of many, these are times of internal growth. My work attempts to capture both the “irritating” behavior and the new abilities that seem to come with it. This is the page for 9+ year olds.

This Nine Year Old Milestones were last updated on July 24, 2024.
The Ten Year Old Milestones were last updated on March 27, 2023.

Quick Links

Nine Year Old Milestone 1: 9.0.0
Nine Year Old Milestone 2: 9.4.0
Nine Year Old Milestone 3: 9.5.2
Nine Year Old Milestone 4: 9.7.2
Nine Year Old Milestone 5: 9.9.1
Nine Year Old Milestone 6: 9.10.2
Nine Year Old Milestone 7: 9.11.0

Ten Year Old Milestone 1: 10.0.1
Ten Year Old Milestone 2: 10.0.3
Ten Year Old Milestone 3: 10.2.2
Ten Year Old Milestone 4: 10.4.1
Ten Year Old Milestone 5: 10.5.2
Ten Year Old Milestone 6: 10.6.0
Ten Year Old Milestone 7: 10.7.4
Ten Year Old Milestone 8: 10.9.1

Nine Year Old Milestone 1 (9.0.0-9.1.1) — Persistent Responsibility
: 9.0.0
Most Intense: 9.0.2 – 9.1.0.
Ends: 9.1.4
Irritable Period Summary
Extreme relationship issues with other children
• This continues to be a difficult milestone.
• They continue to have extreme relationship issues with other children.
• If another child won’t play with them or talk to them, it’s devastating.
• If their sibling has a friend along but they have no one, they are very upset.
• A particular friendship that’s been going poorly might finally get to a head. They might get into a fight with the other child or finally end the friendship.
• They absolutely seethe if a child makes a mean comment to them.
• They might yell at their teammates on their sports team when something goes poorly.
• They can be nervous to enter a room full of children, especially if it’s a new situation for them.
• They might not want to be seen with their parents right now.
• They are hypersensitive now, over a lot of things.
• They might sense a detailed thing better, such as how a word is spelled. They might be really upset that it’s spelled “hour” instead of “ow-er.”
• The mere voice of another child annoys them.
• They are sensitive to how observant they might be. They challenge themselves to watch a movie and understand exactly what is going on. If the movie makes no sense (as many don’t), they get very frustrated.
Disinterested, out of it, to a point it is dangerous
• They might be highly disinterested in things.
• They might not want to play games they used to enjoy.
• They might be completely uninterested in any homework.
• They can’t take instructions from their teachers well, such as taking directions on what to do on their homework.
• They stop listening to you when you read to them, which is highly unusual for them.
• They might zone out when they should be listening to important instructions, such as what to do at archery class. Because they don’t have the right information, they might do something dangerous, like walk out on the range.
• They don’t watch what’s on TV. They are all over the room, wiggling, etc.
• They might fall out of their bed, because they got out face forward. As you inquire about it, they say they “forgot” how to get out of bed.
• They are very prone to be zoned and out of it! Supervise accordingly!
Moody, snappish, overresponds
• They are moody and overrespond to the smallest of slights.
• They can be moody all day near the intense period, just stewing, growling, and upset.
• They can utterly seethe if they don’t want to do something or don’t know the answer to something (while doing normal homework).
• They can get frustrated if they lose a game, particularly if their strategy didn’t work or luck wasn’t on their side.
• If they sign into an online class and find out just then that they need something they don’t have, such as an email account, they might get very, very upset. Their pain over this can last well into the day after the offending incident happened.
• When others try to help them, after they are zoned, they can be snappish.
• If you ask them to take a bath, they stomp off to a closet and sob they have no control over life (despite being as child-led as you could ever possibly be).
• They really want control over everything now. If you move a chair of theirs, as to help them, they snap at you that they didn’t give their consent to do that.
• They really want to do their own thing right now!
• They also need a lot of help with following instructions or homework right now.
Physically aggressive
• There is a propensity towards being aggressive.
• When they see a friend dressed up in a funny costume, there is a propensity to come over and, say, punch them on the arm.
• If you mention the word “punch,” they immediately punch your arm.
• They take the hair straightener right out of your hands to do it themselves (which can be dangerous).
• They might be so overcome by irritation by others that they pick up a chair and start threatening to throw it. When you ask them later what was going through their mind, they sincerely don’t know.
• The fact that they are so out of it and yet prone to aggression might make this age a very difficult parenting challenge.
Physical growth
• They might get taller.
• They might start eating a lot.
• Their food preferences might suddenly change.
• They might outgrow clothes you bought them just last month.
Sleep issues
• They can sleep all day.
• They might go to bed very early.
• They stay up super late.
• They get super sleepy and drag themselves to bed and look positively out of it.
• They might have “crazy dreams,” perhaps that you called them, except it was several months ago, when they were away on vacation.
New Abilities Summary
• They are stunningly responsible and joyful, day after day.
Stunningly responsible and even organized
• They were disinterested and moody in the irritable period, but they are now stunningly helpful.
• If you host a party or an event, they help clean up at the end and also make sure you don’t forget anything.
• They very much like to organize and deep clean their room.
• They have creative ideas on how to better organize their room or the house.
• They help secretly arrange a surprise for Father’s Day or a birthday.
• With step-by-step instructions, they can do their own laundry.
• They are very responsible about schoolwork. You can ask them to do one workbook page per day (say of a spelling workbook), and they commit to doing it every day, with little prompting.
• They like doing homework, as long as it’s to cool music.
• They are very excited to take certain classes at school.
• They have more stamina. They used to get overwhelmed after 45 minutes of rougher play, like jumping on trampolines, but now they can get an hour and a half.
Asks for or comments on tools to get through rocky situations
• They notice how to handle weird, rough, or emotional situations. They actively ask for tools to help them when emotional.
• You might read Robin Hood and note that Robin and Marian had to break the law to save Robin Hood. They might relate it to that book they saw, “Misbehavior is Growth!”
• They are upset they “can’t stop crying.” You ask if they want some tools to help and they say, sincerely, yes. You recommend that they identify what they are feeling. They say, “I am angry and sad.” And they notice, “Oh, that did help.”
Proud, confident, self-aware, pushes the bounds
• They actively remark that they are proud of themselves for improving. While working towards a goal they note, “It’s amazing how much you can improve in just two months.”
• They push the bounds. The swim further than you allow them to. But, they handle it well.
• It’s deeply meaningful to them if you take an interest in their ideas, perhaps even recording what they have to say.
• The various creative ideas they have impress even other adults.
• They note that doing things like laundry is “easier than it looks.”
• They might separate themselves from the group to try out their ideas. They don’t need contaminants, like their younger sibling, messing up their ideas.
• They can identify now that they are flustered or in overwhelm.
• They are proud to think that if they were given $100, they would give it away to an orphanage.

Nine Year Old Milestone 2 —“Even if I fail, I can get back up”
: 9.4.0
Most Intense: A few days towards the beginning
Ends: 9.5.0
Irritable Period Summary
Physically accident prone
• They are a bit physically clueless.
• They might fling their blanket around them, knocking over a drink.
• They fall down more.
• It doesn’t help that they want to go everywhere on roller skates.
• A bit more aggressive around other children
• Might “poke” other children or otherwise insert themselves somehow
New Abilities Summary
Matured thoughts on failure
• They have pretty deep thoughts on what happens when things go poorly.
• They might say, “Even when you make big mistakes, it’s better to think you’re still good. You do better when you think you are good at something.”
• They might joke that you might not get well after being sick until next year—but at least you’ll be well by then.
• On death they might say, “I am OK with my own death.”
• When you talk to them about how to heal humanity’s ailments, they light up like no other. “YES! We have to study HUMANS better! And get to know how they work!”
Weird Conclusions
• They start to draw very random, weird conclusions.
• For instance, if they drink too much liquid, their poop would become liquidy
• Or a particular medical solutions removes their stomach ache but gives them a headache
• Or “This painting is gibberish to an adult but a toddler would understand it.” I mean, would they?
Takes over situations
• They like to figure out new situations.
• They might want to figure out how to brush another sibling’s hair.
• They might try to figure out ways to have fun with other children that are genuinely fun for the other child, while they do something totally outside of what they would normally see as fun.

Nine Year Old Milestone 3 —Wellness in Larger Situations
: 9.5.2
Most Intense: Perhaps the whole thing, on and off
Ends: 9.5.3
Irritable Period Summary

• They are very, very moody.
• If you don’t do something the way they like it, they get very angry and seethe under their breath, “That’s not what I want!”
• Maybe you set down a new food by them for them to try. Or put their drink next to them on the sofa. Or brought them what is typically their favorite lunch.
• Now is an excellent time to get them making their own food and getting their own drinks.
• They can get more aggressive, rough housing a bit more.
• Might swing things near other children
• Might “croak” their voice more
• Something hormonal clearly is going on.
New Abilities Summary
A growth in wellness as set against the larger situation
• They have a genuine desire to see things go well in the overall situation.
• When they go to the dentist, they tell you every single thing the dentist said and did. They absorb all of it, to have healthy teeth.
• They are very excited when other people do well.
• They take over situations to make them go well. Maybe some kids are arguing over a rule in a game. They go in, stop them, and forcefully state what the rule should be. All kids nod in agreement that they are wise.
• They coach you if you have a life situation that hurt you.
• I see them as all but wearing a Darth Vader cloak as they go around, masterfully maneuvering the environment. Except, you know, a good Darth Vader.

Hard on themselves
• They can get highly self reflective and hard on themselves. They might say “no one noticed them.”

Nine Year Old Milestone 4 (9.7.2-9.8.1) —Personality, Puns, and Plans
: 9.7.2
Most Intense: 9.7.2 – 9.7.4-ish
Ends: 9.8.1
Irritable Period Summary
Aggressive, can’t back off
• They can’t back off and it can be irritating.
• They might swing things, in a way that they can’t back off, and in a way that it goes near other people’s heads.
• They are again back to rough housing.
• They might bend someone else’s hand back, for whatever kid-like reason, and they bend it way too far.
• They can rough house and play hard, without an ability to back off, even when riding as a passenger in a vehicle. This can be annoying and even a safety hazard. (Asking them to bring a book to read might help.)
Touchy, misinterprets things
• They can be extremely touchy. For instance, they might get upset if a classmate makes fun of their glasses.
• They might slam their club down when playing mini-golf when they don’t do well.
• They blame others or other things for why they failed: the piano keys were too sticky, their brother was talking too much, the teacher or coach was going “too fast.”
• They think other people are “judging” them negatively, when they aren’t.
• They take offense to being called a “weirdo,” even though it was said casually and without ill intent.
• They can be moody and snappish, e.g., outside with bugs irritates them greatly.
Clumsy, absent-minded
• They can get food out and totally forget to put it back, which is unlike them.
• They can get clumsy.
Physical growth and changes
• They get taller.
• They breathe heavier, especially when sleeping.
• They might hiccup more.
• They might have an intense headache at some point.
• They can just plain be LOUD now.
• Vivid dreams that they can describe. Random people show up in random places
• Their cleaning ladies might show up in their favorite TV show.
• A Star Wars ship with some odd features has another random character show up on it.
• In their dream, they are all of a sudden playing frisbee in their backyard with their dad.
New Abilities Summary
Pitches new jokes
• They actively pitch new jokes.
• They might tell puns. They love to know they get jokes, any joke. “Did you hear the one about World War Pun?” “They are going to Bolivia. Can you Bolivia it?”
• They can make up jokes on the spot that are legitimately funny. You ask them, as a philosophical question, if they can prove they aren’t robots in a simulation. They tell you, “I can tell if you’re a robot! Tell me how many of these pictures have a car in them …” (as is the security test on some websites).
• Or perhaps, as you are eating, you say you have to “clear some things off of your plate,” and they point to your plate and say, “Literally.”
• The jokes they come up with can have you legitimately buckled over laughing.
• They try on many different personalities, flexing this new part of them.
• Maybe they go around pretending to talk like a French scientist.
• They pretend to smoke with a lollipop stick and make up a funny joke about it, “This fake cigarette is going to give me fake cancer.”
• They have a lot of optimism.
• They want to jump over things that are hard to jump over.
• They always want to do “experiments!” They insist you do some with them.
• If they figure out something you can’t, like how to inflate a ball, they throw their hands up, “I HAVE MORE SKILLS THAN MY MOM!”
• They take a lot of initiative. They might just slip off in a public place, to use the bathroom, on their own, without telling anyone, for the first time ever.
• They can reliably make their own breakfast, get some of their own food, and make a drink for themselves.
• If you have to step away for a bit, they jaw droppingly offer to take care of other children, doing what you typically do. Maybe they offer to read a book to their younger siblings. They apply their new personality and animate the story well, as well.
• They take the initiative to do something truly impressive, like teach themselves stop-motion animation.
• They put together their “life plan,” including if they will go to college, get married, etc. It’s realistic and inspiring.
• They might play practical jokes still, like yelling “Boo!” to scare people.
• They, again, pitch jokes to see if they get laughs.
• They talk, a lot. They talk out loud, whether or not you are actually listening.
• They talk non-stop when doing something, such as playing any game.
Interested in words
• They are highly interested in words, as is. They might love to learn about adjectives, for instance, and to go find some on their own.
• They can, however, get surprisingly confused over words. They spell easy words like “knife” wrong. Sometimes when they are working on a new skill, stuff like this happens.
• Their vocabulary explodes. They drop words like “elusive” and such now. Or they describe that there is a “fiery ember” of something that still remains with us.
Listens quietly and intently
• They listen to everything adults say.
• They are especially interested in solving worldly problems (as based off of hearing adults discuss them).
• Like, why can the smartest of smart people figure out plastics engineering but not _ (fill in).
Harshly introspective
• They can be so harshly introspective of themselves that it takes you by surprise. They might say, plainly that they are “shy.”
• They might say they are “going to fail” at something. (I recommend doing positive affirmations with them for this.)
• They might note their emotions. I suspect every child treats their own emotions differently. But they might perhaps say, “I’m sad and I’m mad that I can’t make myself not be sad.”
Solves problems
• They solve problems and ones that are more worldly yet relate to humans.
• They might wonder why so many people are overweight. They conclude that the problem is fast food.
• They then put together a plan for everyone to follow: go on a walk every day.
• Also, some plans are far too hard to follow. Giving up [insert food group] entirely would be way too unrealistic.
• Or they suggest you sell x product because then you can have a “passive income”—their term
• They get quick in how they solve everyday problems, as well. If you two normally talk and sometimes you get distracted and have to walk away, they get their point in quickly before you leave.
Dirty humor
• They take an interest in words, adult themes, and jokes. They might get a kick out of “dirty” words or jokes.
• They point out to you “Dick’s Sporting Good.” No, did you see the—the “Dick’s”—part?

Nine Year Old Milestone 5 (9.9.1-9.9.2)— FIERCE Independence
: 9.9.1
Most Intense: 9.9.1 – 9.9.2+
Ends: 9.9.3
Irritable Period Summary
Moody, slow to transition
• They are supremely moody
• When they wake up and you go to talk to them, they grumble, “I just woke up 5 minutes ago!”
• They are slow to transition. They normally do something at a certain time every day, and they’ve done this reliably for years. Now they are slow and moody to stop doing what they were doing to do the other thing.
• Or, they might refuse, say, to give up their phone when they really should, such as before a sports game. And when you ask them to give up said phone, you will get “attitude.”
• They can get very angry to be asked to go to bed—even though it’s 1:30 in the morning
A total confusion about space, time, what was said, what was asked
• They can be a total space cadet or, rather, completely confused about things.
• You pull into the grocery store and they want to bring their school book bag in. (They would not need this at the grocery store).
• As you leave a building, they try to get into a vehicle that looks like yours but isn’t.
• You tell them they can have some food when it’s ready. It’s not ready yet but they still keep trying to eat it.
• You tell them you are about to put a movie on if they want to watch it. They ignore you and walk to their room. Fifteen minutes later you tell them the movie is on and they bark, “You started it without me!?”
• When you do ask them to get dressed to go out for the day, they seem entirely confused and upset about what is being asked of them.
• If you tell them that you will leave after they are done getting dressed, they won’t get dressed. They feel they can take however much time and you will simply leave when they do finally get dressed.
• You hand them a menu and point out to them where it lists what they can eat. They then say, exasperated, “What do they have to eat!?” What they meant was, “What do they have to drink?”
• Quite simply, their ears aren’t talking to their brain and their brain is not talking to their mouth right now.
A bit persnickety about justice, rules, expectations, and requests
• Out of nowhere, they are now unusually obsessed with things being fair to them (whereas, before they were rather understanding).
• Can they get their electronic at the disallowed time? Or is that just their younger brother?
• If they can’t win a game or they think something (very minor) is unfair, they get very upset and moody over it. For instance, they think children are going in the “wrong direction” when playing Duck, Duck, Goose.
• Extremely upset when asked to do something that they don’t want to, such as entertain themselves for a bit
• If you ask them to clean up before you cook together, they “feel like a mere house wife.”
• They only agree to things if they “make sense.”
• If you promise something and then don’t do it, they might get really painfully upset.
• Confusing instructions will upset them big time.
• They really don’t like being somewhere they don’t want to be. They are even prone to getting sick after being somewhere they don’t like for too long.
Rude and blunt
• They can be rude and blunt to other children.
• They tell their sibling that they don’t like what they drew.
• They inform their sibling that they WERE NOT the thing to invent something that the sibling thinks they invented.
• They walk around antsy.
• They might not be able to sit at a dinner table. They get up and walk around.
• They might not sit down for any lesson. They get up and go do their own thing.
Physical changes and growth
• They might show some pre-adolescent changes, such as acne.
• They clearly get bigger and stronger.
New Abilities Summary
Fierce independence
• They show jaw dropping independence. Their favorite video game isn’t working. So, they do an internet search to see if it was down. Turns out—it was.
• They help you with a recipe. However, this time instead of waiting for you to tell them what to do, they read the new recipe on their own and start getting out the ingredients.
• If you are icing cookies and can’t get the gel icing up, they find their own solution to it. Maybe they get a baster to help. No input from you, nothing. They just do stuff like this. They identify the problem, on their own, and find the solution, on their own.
• They are interested in the science of why things work. For instance, they contently read why a particular recipe works.
• They disagree with you more. Before they took any suggestion you had whatsoever. Now you recommend a particular home remedy. They looked it up and an internet search said it doesn’t work so they’re not going to do it.
• They get bored, even angry, if a lesson or challenge given to them seems too easy or, perhaps, babyish.
• They LOVE a bigger challenge, perhaps roller skating around a rink.
• They can become impassioned to win at a particular sport they are in.
• Towards the end of this brief but intense milestone, on their own, they can actively calm themselves down. They might exaggeratedly take a deep breath to deal with a distressing situation. And just about every situation can be distressing right now.
Stunningly wants to try or see rather illicit adult things
• They have clearly been watching everything for weeks now (and they still are). They are judgmental, pro-active, curious, and they’ve been just a bit mischievous for a while. They might stunningly want to do rather adult, rather illicit things.
• They might tell you they want to try caffeine, in order to stay up later at night. I know, it’s just caffeine. But they are essentially saying they want to try a drug.
• They are fascinated that a recipe calls for wine or beer in it.
• When I was in school, I remember this exact age and some of the boys started smoking cigarettes. In doing this research, I can now say that I am not terribly surprised that this happened at this age, which seems rather young to most. (It’s fourth grade.)
• They might want to watch an unusually violent movie. When I was a kid, it was Batman. Now, they might shock you and ask to watch Hunger Games.
• They are unusually perceptive when watching any of these movies with more adult themes. It’s plainly obvious to them what the characters will do. They are stunningly right, much of the time, predicting the next move or what will happen.
• You might think they’ve seen the movie before, with how well they predict what is going to happen. Personally, I think movies are so ridiculously divergent from natural life that the ridiculous plot easily reveals itself, and kids are naturally more intuitive about this.
An interest in changing from child to adult
• They can be really interested in what type of things mean they are growing up.
• They might take to something innocent and funny, such as no longer eating a particular kid’s meal and instead eating a more adult meal, as a sign of their maturity.
• They might really love a book like Peter Pan, which deals with growing up (and dating and other things).
• Even if they don’t talk about what makes them grown up, they might really give off the vibe that they are rapidly turning into a man or woman—even though they are only 9.
Wants all the time to do all the things—even chores!
• When they are asked if they want to do something new, say take an art class, they become very conflicted. You see, this would eat into their time when they do _.
• Some of their moodiness might be chalked up to this. It’s not that they are “addicted,” to, say video games. Nor is it that they “just want to do what they want.” They are actually very forward moving and proactive now, wanting new challenges. It’s just that they have trouble moving one thing over to do another thing.
• Verbally telling them that you see how important it is for them to have time to do all the things they want and the difficulty they are having in choosing what to do might be deeply meaningful to them.
• They might even actively tell you they want to do more chores and to limit their screen time. On their own, they might start ordering water instead of milk, “because it’s healthier.” Truly, they are maturing—in that bizarre way that children do.
• They like to embellish everything. When writing, they exaggerate their letters, making them very long, for instance, and with curlicues.
• Their drawings might have many intricate lines, such as intricate wings coming off of a superhero.
Says words funny on purpose
• Similar to how they embellish, they change how words sound.
• “R”s might get replaced with “W”s. So, you might hear, “dwagon.”
• The sound, “oo” gets exaggerated. So, you might hear “tooooooowa” for two or “toooooool.”
• “Y”s gets added randomly. So, you might hear “poppy-corn.”
• They might make up a language with another child where they say “berb” a lot.
• They might even tell you that their mouth makes noises that they have no control over. For instance, when they say “s,” they can’t help but whistle.
• They tell little white lies—out of nowhere and for little reason.
• They might say they brushed their teeth, when they didn’t.
• Or that they did their homework, when they didn’t.
• They might also pull pranks.
• They might ask to make their brother popcorn and then load it up with salt.
• They might leave out a trail of your favorite drink or food and when you get to the end, they “caught a wild Mom!!”

Nine Year Old Milestone 6 — Life Observations
: Around 9.10.2
Most Intense: It is mild and doesn’t last long and is more marked by distinct new skills coming.
Ends: 9.10.3
Irritable Period Summary

• As they grow in their new life skills, they might decide everyone needs to do as they do. “Stop being so scared of heights,” they admonish their younger sibling.
• They get much taller
• Their shoulders are broader.
• They can get very lanky.
• They can get so lanky that from their knees down splays out a bit and it seems a bit awkward for them at first.
New Abilities Summary
• It is marked by many life observations, observational, humor, and definitely many deep, big questions
Interesting Observations
• They say something like, “A circle has 0 sides or infinite sides when you think about it.”
• Or, “Engineers can be totally right or totally wrong.”
Observational Humor
• You accidentally drive over a steep drop off with your vehicle. When you look at the damage, they notice the marks on the road and, with a huge, knowing voice, say, “OhHh yeah! You bottomed out!”
• Someone they know goes on an elimination diet and gives up a food group for a period of time. They get on a rant, “What are you doing? How can you give up an entire food group?” It has the vibe, “What are you doing with your life!?”
• They have this wise, light-hearted, but a bit sarcastic, “OhHhHh! So THAT’S happening” to them. “OhHhHh! The game has an UPDATE!”
• It’s not just that they are engaged in observational humor. It’s that they know they are.
• They are very proactive in their environment.
• If they see a lid to a garbage can blew off in the wind, they move to put it back. When they see it’s very heavy, they figure out to roll it on its side.
• They might love to help their younger sibling learn something new, such as how to swing on a swing.
Many questions that they work through
• As this milestone moves into the next milestone, they start to think of, answer, and ponder many questions.
• They notice that as you cube a number, it keeps getting bigger and bigger by a large scale. They might even do the math to figure out how big of a jump you make from 1^3 to 2^3 to 3^3.
• They wonder if a magnet can stop a cannonball.
• They can work through more formal academic work with much more rigor. They really commit to solving complex math problems/puzzles, for instance.
• They can get hard on themselves and how they think. “I could have just subtracted!” you overhear them say, admonishing themselves.
• They might tell you their mind is racing with so many complex things that simple things are hard for them. This is a sign we are in new brain growth, which indeed, will deliver us into the next milestone, which is a bit more intense than this one.
• It really does seem like their brain is going from “little kid” to “teenager.”

Nine Year Old Milestone 7 — Code Cracker
: 9.11.0
Most Intense: 9.11.1, maybe. This milestone is under construction.
Ends: ???
Irritable Period Summary
Heavily distracted
• They are very easily distracted. They might be saying something, get interrupted, and then forget what they were saying. They even say now, “What was I saying?”
• They forget what they were supposed to do. You ask them to put on warmer clothes then come put their shoes on. They put on the warmer clothes and then wrap up in a blanket.
• They forget that they were supposed to be doing something that they have to stick with, say a homework assignment. Instead of hanging around, they keep trotting off. You find yourself yelling at them to come back. The first instances of this are easy to handle but as it keeps happening, it can get more and more frustrating.
Highly sensitive to physical stimuli
• They can become highly sensitive to environmental stimuli and get dizzy more often.
• The lights in your vehicle come on at night and the brightness all of a sudden really bothers them, even though they’ve been in this same situation dozens of times before.
• They twist a swing up and then let themselves go, to spin, and it all of a sudden greatly bothers them. They sit down, dizzy, and they say they want to throw up. This feeling doesn’t shake for a while.
• They might get unusually frustrated if asked to do something, like get off of their computer.
• They get frustrated that some project is going to “take forever.” Maybe they are digging a ditch for a garden and they are overwhelmed by how long it seems it is going to take.
• Entrapment is just what kids do when they seek out a smaller space to feel comfortable and safe in.
• When little, they hid under tables and such. Now, well, they might still do that.
• They also wrap up in a blanket. True, it might just be that they are cold, but they also seem to find warmth and safety in it, especially during new developmental stages.
• They continue to get taller.
Changes in diet
• Their preferred diet was probably very plain for a while, preferring simple carbs. Now, all of a sudden, they salivate over meat, perhaps steak.
New Abilities Summary

• They continue to have lots of questions. How do light sabers stay stable?
Code cracker, system breaker
• They might say something like, “If a king claims his power is from God but most of the population is not religious, then they can’t claim that power.” You say they are very perceptive. They say, “Woo hoo! I beat the system!”

Ten Year Old Milestone 1—Needles Adults about Adult Things
: 10.0.1
Most Intense: It’s mild overall
Ends: 10.0.2
Irritable Period Summary
Physical growth and other issues
• They get taller
• Their toes get longer
• They might have some pre-teen issues, such as acne
• They might be sensitive to other children not playing with them or not following the rules.
New Abilities Period Summary
Needles adults about how they do things
• They get critical of how adults do things
• They might make fun of scientists for using unnecessarily big words.
• They might take adults to task about their behavior.
They take a responsible leadership role over younger children
• They are very understanding and compassionate about younger children’s growth.
• They are tolerant and respectful of younger children’s imaginary friends.
• If another child insults or hurts another child, they move to protect the other child.
Climbs tall things
• There is a strong propensity to climb up tall objects, perhaps a tall wall with a fence, which they then hop over.

Ten Year Old Milestone 2—Responsible and Reasonable Planner
: 10.0.4
Most Intense: It’s mild overall
Ends: 10.11.1
Irritable Period Summary
A bit angry
• If they can’t do something, say a new move at sports practice, they can get a bit mad.
Moody, out of it
• You ask them a question and they take forever to answer it.
New Abilities Period Summary
Shows great reasonableness in making plans
• They are very understanding and reasonable about daily and regular plans.
• You can ask them to do something daily, such as math practice for 30 minutes every day, and they do it, without resistance.
• They are very accepting of a change in plans, say something is delayed until later or even something they were looking forward to is canceled altogether.
Exceedingly responsible
• They are very responsible. At an event you were going to, they remembered to bring all the stuff they needed, even stuff you forgot.
• Before leaving anywhere, they say, “Wait a minute! We have to check and make sure we have everything!”
• They voluntarily clean up after themselves.
• When other children spill something, they step in to help.
• With some help if they need it (reaching high places, etc.), they can do the dishes.
• They do their own research. It was driving them nuts that they didn’t know how to pronounce “bugler,” so they looked it up.
• When in stressful situations, they come up with solutions. They feel stuck forever at [school/camp], but a watch would help.
Kind to younger children and animals
• If you ask them to favor their sibling over something, they say, “Yeah, sure. After all, it is her day.”
• They willingly go easy on younger children when playing games.
• When they see a new animal, they can be exceedingly gentle and caring. They wait for the kitty to warm up to them, earning its trust. The kitty then willingly curls up in their lap.
Good with their hands, even when they can’t see
• They can use their hands well, even if they can’t see their hands.
• They can, for instance, put goggles on that interlock in the back.
• They might be super good at doing something intricate with their hands, such as a ball maze.
Strong interest to learn
• They ask to learn about something, say the elements. They want to learn about ALL of them.
• They bring books and other learning material with them in your vehicle, so they can read and learn.
• They can read book after book right now.
• They show they really want to spell things right and get their homework assignments right. They also show great reasonableness as they work towards that and even let you correct their mistakes without getting upset.
• They are highly curious: what does the inside of an electronic spider repellent look like?
• If put in a new situation, such as to learn a new sport, they might do exceedingly well.
• They come up with theories on things. Perhaps, “Staying calm is the key to everything.”
• Or they notice, “Malls are just designed to sell you stuff you don’t need.”
• They might become obsessed with something. They might listen to a song over and over again, for instance.

Ten Year Old Milestone 3—Too Cool for School
: 10.2.2
Most Intense: 10.3.0-10.3.3
Ends: 10.3.3
Irritable Period Summary
Hates public defeat
• There is a strong element of hating to be defeated in public, i.e., in the eyes of others.
• They get overwhelmed and upset if they lose.
• If they lose, they might rationalize it away or lie, “I didn’t want to win anyway.”
• They get attached to how they did things. They spent so much time learning something, but it didn’t work. They don’t want to change, however, because of how much time they spent doing it.
• They can get a wee bit too aggressive when upset. It is temporary, however.
• If they are looking for something and can’t find it and then you find it easily, it can be painful, upsetting, and embarrassing for them.
Out of it
• There is an element of not being with it, as if their head is elsewhere.
Physical and other issues
• They want to try new foods again, and a lot of them. They might eat so much of something it ends up giving them a headache.
• They all of a sudden go to bed early.
• They sleep more (always a sign of new growth).
• They continue to bulk up and fill out, overall, with muscles.
• They look more like a teenager every day.
• There is potentially a noticeable head shape change around 10.3.0.
Bossy, moody, judgmental
• If you say you are going to do something they tell you, “Then go do that!”
• If you say you are trying a new diet, they are on you to follow it.
• They might get mad at other players on their team who they perceive as not trying or doing poorly.
• They will increasingly find activities that are more appropriate for children about aged 9 and under (more open-ended play) as baby-ish and boring. They want and need bigger challenges, big time.
Too cool for school
• It’s hard to get them to do things. Getting them off their computer is difficult. When you do, they just curl up somewhere, unresponsive.
• They don’t want to participate in, say, a play. But when they see it’s fun, they join in.
• You point out someone is doing something cool and they bark, “I don’t care!”
• Their answer to any of your questions is, “I do NOT care!”
• This “too cool for school” attitude definitely separates children 10 and over from children under 10, in my experience.
New Abilities Period
• From my notes, “It’s how forward they are and how much they want to be funny that is of note.”
• There is a stunning new desire to set their own goals.
Self-initiated goals
• They set goals for themselves that makes any parent’s heart soar. They want to get off the computer, so they aren’t around blue light so much.
• When they hear their favorite snack has bad ingredients in it, they simply say, “Well, no more of that for me!”
• They want to get their “lazy butt” to do more stuff. This is surprising, because you’ve never once called them “lazy.”
• They can put down book after book.
• On their own, they develop an elaborate plan to teach their younger brother how to play one of their favorite video games.
• They ask for more money in a video game. They did all the math and found the most affordable option.
• They also learn new things that are worldly. They seem to read news headlines more. It’s moth week, they tell you. Or, it’s Amelia Earhart’s 125th birthday.
Pushes through difficulties
• They can learn new things, even if flustered. They might learn how to do a flip turn when swimming. At first, they end up upside down, trying to push off the wall in the water (which can be disorienting). They quickly realize their mistake, try again, and nail it.
• They put their heart into everything. They chase the soccer ball on a day when the heat is scorching.
• At a restaurant, there aren’t enough seats. On their own, they go get another chair.
• They keep reading a book to their siblings, even though they have a cough.
Bursts in on people more
• They “burst in” on people. They come up to you and others, to talk or play.
• They playfully “jump scare” you while you are outside on the patio.
• They burst through your bedroom door. This is quite the surprise, because they haven’t done this in years.
• They are more active and more talkative.
• It might be a “laugh factory” with them. They just constantly think of ways to make people laugh.
• They are just fully alive. A delight and very active.
Fluid and funny
• They are very fluid in their personality. They are talking to you at dinner and they ask for a calculator to do the math to get exact numbers on something they are trying to explain. It’s that they are so in the moment, talking, asking for calculators, getting right numbers, etc., that is of note.
• They walk around a bit like an adult now. They are given a radio to do an audio tour and they hold it to their ear like a cell phone, put their hand in their pants pocket, just kind of walk around like they are much older than they are.
• They make funny comments in daring situations. They might make jokes around friends or with a teacher. When a teacher is reading about how your body is made up of so many amazing things, they pipe in, “Hmm? I’m special?”
• They listen to a story you tell, with exaggerated interest. At the end, in the most dead pan way, they say, “Uh-mazing.” It’s very funny. For as cringe-y as they could be when aged 9, they are very funny now.
• They can make running jokes with dry, observational humor. “Looks like that bus just got a haircut!” they say about a movie in which a bus went through a bridge and had its top torn off.
• Telling them Chuck Norris jokes, perhaps “Chuck Norris can divide by 0” will be very funny to them.
Many statistics in their mind
• They can have a lot of statistics in their mind, perhaps, “One kid scored 5 goals; I assisted with 2 goals,” etc.
• Note that I am sure what is in their mind changes kid to kid. But the ability to size up a situation quickly, with details, is probably at the core of this new growth.
• Now is an excellent time to teach them math such as multiplying with 3 or more digits. They might even use this to quantify real life problems they see. (We focused on mental math and math games up to this age.)
• They love interesting and hard math word problems.
• They can explain multiplication to younger children by drawing out an example, such as 3 x 3 is 3 pepperonis on 3 pizzas.
Self-reflection, with updates
• They can reflect on their own behavior and update, with feedback.
• They all of a sudden playfully say, “I hate my jokes!” This punches you in the gut, because it’s funny. You tell them saying this is the funny part of the joke. They can update and apply it, later, highly effectively.
• They continue to be much more accepting of having their mistakes corrected.
• They note that they really like to read when they have to wait a long time.
• They marvel that they look small compared to a large formation of rocks but somehow it makes them feel powerful.
• I believe this is the end of a “hill.” A hill starts out with them being highly imaginative and ends with them being highly practical. The high amount of problem solving and self-initiated goals seen at this milestone is a sign of an end of a hill. The very end of a hill is this self-reflective behavior. The sleep issues seen in the Irritable Period are a sign that the next hill is brewing.

Ten Year Old Milestone 4—Overthinks
: 10.4.1
Most Intense: 10.4.1-10.4.2
Ends: 10.5.0
Irritable Period Summary
Overthinks things
• They overthink the details of things. They have ordered chicken tenders at a restaurant every week of their life for the past several years. All of a sudden, when ordering, they say, “I’ll have chicken tenders…chicken fingers….” They can’t decide between the two what it’s called.
• They are taught to put commas around appositive phrases and they start putting commas around every prepositional phrase.
• In sports, they seem just a bit off. They take too long to kick the ball, etc., almost as if they are putting too much thought into it all of a sudden.
• They don’t see why they are being asked to identify if certain sentences are exclamatory or a command. A sentence that is a command can also have an exclamation mark at the end. They aren’t wrong—and also why I abandoned this type of grammar lesson.
• They can be moody. You ask them to come over and they just stay in their blanket.
• They seem upset and bothered to be at certain places.
• If an idea of theirs doesn’t work, they can get terribly upset.
Wants to be noticed
• They very much want to be noticed.
• They love when you do something for them, about them, perhaps make a video of them.
• If they feel left out, they might say, “Well I’m glad someone finally noticed my existence.”
New Abilities Summary
Mindful, perceptive
• I named this milestone “Overthinks.” “Overthinking” is sometimes given a bad reputation but I don’t intend it as an insult. It’s just something that happens sometimes. I think it’s a sign that they are thinking about things in a deeper way and will come up with better, more nuanced way to do things.
• When they are talking to their brother about what rank they are in a sport or video game, they say, “Um, I don’t mean to make you feel small but I am a few ranks higher.” They go out of their way to be particular when talking to someone, to avoid hurting their feelings.
• When their younger sibling is trying and failing to do something, they come up to you, “Um, mom, I think he’s really trying. I think it’s just hard for him. Maybe we could reward him just for trying.”
Gets irony
• They get intentionally ironic things. They understand that a character in a book is bragging about humility—thereby making them not humble.
Very independent—doesn’t need you at all
• They can do laundry entirely on their own
• When they get something new, say a new Halloween costume, they can figure out how to put it on entirely by themselves.

Ten Year Old Milestone 5—Out There, In-the-Moment
: 10.5.2
Most Intense: ?
Ends: ?
Irritable Period Summary
Hormonal changes
• They might go through some slight hormonal changes. Boys might get the slightest amount of facial hair.
Lies, thinking they are doing something good
• They blatantly lie, thinking they are doing something good. They purposely give their little brother water, instead of milk like they asked, thinking water is healthier.
• During a game, they purposely try to trip or trick other players.
Moody, easily frustrated
• They are unusually upset to be taken from an activity they enjoy.
• If they get an answer wrong, they are prone to rage or whatever they do when they get hard on themselves.
New Abilities Summary
A vacuum for knowledge
• They take in any amount of knowledge. It feels like you are feeding wood to a wood chipper as you give information or lessons, they just absorb it, dissect it, and learn it.
• When you offer to give a lesson, they enthusiastically come over, getting a close up view.
Fully adopts the role of someone else
• Imagination drives child development and it fascinates me how this evolves as children get older. When they were little, they had imaginary friends and wild fantasies. Now they imagine themselves as someone else, as they do things. They adopt it so wholly that it might shock you in what they say and do.
• When they watch a movie, they note how they are very much like one of the characters in the movie. They have the same physical characteristics, etc. They seem to quite imagine themselves in that role. They get very frustrated if the character is not doing well, etc.
• They speak in ways in which it seems like they are saying something about something happening right now, but their mind is literally in another time or place. They tell you, “I just stay in and keep my opinions to myself.” You are flabbergasted by this—they don’t do this. But then you realize they are talking about what they would do had they lived in a time when scientists got persecuted for their beliefs.
• They are fully in the moment, in a heroic way. When you note they are getting faster and more graceful on the soccer field, they tell you, “Yeah! I feel like a cruise missile!”
• They adopt a striking new role. They, for instance, become exceedingly polite, going out of their way to thank people, wish them a happy holiday, etc. It seems almost like an entirely new character for them.
• They imagine themselves attaining a big goal, like graduating from Harvard.

Ten Year Old Milestone 6 (10.6.0)—Life Cognizance
: Around 10.6.0
Most Intense: Around 10.6.1
Ends: 10.6.2
Irritable Period Summary
Zoned, out of it, head is elsewhere
• They are zoned. Their mind seems elsewhere.
• It’s hard to get them away from anything they are into. And, even if they do leave it, their mind is still with it.
• Asking them to do any homework problem can be a challenge. They forget what they were doing and ask you about whatever is on their mind.
• They don’t do their homework. They are convinced they can do it later. They then forget.
• They ask laundry gets put in the washing machine or dryer first. Like. Dude.
• If a homework problem or game is a bit too difficult for them, they can get frustrated. They want to solve it quickly but they have difficulty.
• They can get a bit aggressive.
• They start hitting someone with a pillow and won’t stop.
• They are again a bit too rough in their rough housing. They don’t know their own strength.
Physical growth
• They bulk up.
• They might suddenly go up a size in pants or shirts.
• They might show off with how many push-ups they can do.
New Abilities Summary
• They are self-reflective of what they are doing itself. This is seen in their life actions as well as their schoolwork.
• They are cognizant of their actions themselves. They might say something like, “When I notice I have to go to the bathroom, I will.”
• They are aware they are bored—so they do something about it. They set up an experiment for them and their brother to do.
• They inform you that you didn’t give them enough to drink during the day. So, they are guzzling water at dinner.
• They personally want to improve. They might tell you they want to not be on their computer so much. They suggest doing projects with their dad as something else to do.
• They joke about things like, “I’ll get a degree—that I’ll never use.” It’s—as if—they are paying attention to adults talk.
• They really like the idea that they could get paid for their work.
“On top” of educational lessons
• When they have a problem when doing homework, they can explain cogently what the issue is. The directions don’t make sense, they don’t know what that one symbol is, etc. After talking it through, they might even figure out their own problem on their own.
• They ponder about and make observations about the educational approach itself they are engaged in. Perhaps, “Why are you giving me busy work?”
• When they can’t do something, say tie a balloon, they figure out a way to help themselves, such as using a pencil to help them.
• They spontaneously fix their own grammar.
• They can not only set up lessons for other children but also explain the idea of the lesson to the younger children.
• They want to know what everything means on the things they see or are learning. What is this word “cumulative”? What does it mean? How does it relate to the chart I am looking at right now?
• Doing grammar exercises come a lot easier to them now. They are basically being asked to see how something is written and how it is right or wrong. They are amazed at how easy they find this now.
• They use words like “sentient” and “non-Euclidean” now.
• When they or anyone is doing anything, they comment on what it actually is. Say you, the adult, are a child developmental researcher. They comment, “So basically what you do is you compare the three of us children and see what behavior is the same to about two weeks.”
• As they master core skills, they can get frustrated with them a bit. Here, they are “on top” of their own lessons. They can explain what they did, itself. However, this might frustrate them. In a game, they show they know that 8/12 is 2/3. When you ask them to explain how it resolves to 2/3, they get frustrated. When you explain how it happens, there is a glimmer in their eye. They KNEW that. They ALREADY DID THAT. It’s a bit like it’s as if they can speak a certain language but go cross-eyed when asked to read it. But when you show them how they are related, they get it and are grateful.
“On top of” things, in general
• They are aware of their environment, their responsibility in it, and want things to go well.
• Before leaving a restaurant, on their own, they check everywhere to make sure everyone got everything.
• They bring your phone to you when you almost forgot it somewhere.
• When they see their little brother’s shoes are too small, they find your stash of shoes and get him a bigger size.
• They can nearly bake a cake entirely on their own. As in, just hand them the box with the instructions and let them go. They might need a few “buddy checks” to make sure they understand anything they otherwise didn’t.
• They spontaneously do their own laundry, entirely on their own.
• They very willingly clean up their computer area once per week.
• They spontaneously thank you for doing special things, say putting up the Christmas tree.
• They are exceedingly grateful if you do something different, as to accommodate them. Say they hated the spelling book they were using. So, you bought a new one. They are very grateful for this. They are just very aware of their environment and what they are doing in it.
Ponders just to ponder
• They ponder just to ponder things. What is “pi”? Why is it 3.14?
• Why is 5 a prime number? 4 is 1.25. 3 is 1.66. 2 is 2.5. Yeah! It is a prime number! (They were dividing 5 by 4, then 3, etc.)
Perceptive insights
• They come up with perceptive insight such as, “If we ate candy all the time, we wouldn’t like candy.”
• They have perceptive questions such, “What separates a house from a mansion?” Can you answer them?
Wicked fast, in particular at identifying things visually
• They are wicked quick at spotting things visually. As you rapid flip through movies on the TV, such that they are flying by in a whir, they spot exactly the one you are trying to find.
• When playing “Fraction War,” they can identify that 5/7 is larger than 9/11 in about 30 seconds.

Ten Year Old Milestone 7 (10.7.4) — Wants—Needs—Big Projects
: Around 10.7.4
Most Intense: 10.8.1 to 10.8.2
Ends: 10.8.2
Irritable Period Summary
Doesn’t want to be …here
• They are moody and don’t want to do the things you ask.
• If you ask them to do something they don’t like, they just utterly glare at you.
• They are in another “No” stage, but it’s way more entrenched than when they were little. Do you want dinner?” “No.” “Do you want to play a game with us?” “No.” “Do you want to watch your dad do something?” “Die.”
• They “hate” school.
Frustrated easily
• They get VERY upset if instructions are vague or confusing. Get better, adults.
• They are annoyed you walked in front of them when they were watching TV.
• Their reactions can be over the top.
• They can get in other children’s face about “stealing” their stuff, which isn’t theirs, perhaps that their sibling is using the internet too much and stealing their bandwidth.
Prone to aches and pains
• They slept on their shoulder funny and it hurts.
• They start to become more prone to getting sore muscles. This is the first I’ve noticed this. I have never noticed five year olds complain that their muscles are sore, for instance.
Makes jokes that aren’t funny
• They make jokes that aren’t funny. They want to pause a game at just the right time to show something funny, but they end up ruining it for another person.
Physical growth
• They continue to look more like a teenager. Their lips get fuller, for instance, making them more “pouty.”
New Abilities Summary
• They want—need—big projects.
• They see the unseen and hear the unsaid better.
Initiates/does big projects
• They start to make a new video game, on their own.
• They want to make their own YouTube channel.
• They want to try out a 3-D printer.
• When asked how their projects are going, they say, “Oh right,” and voluntarily go research something about it themselves.
• You mention to your spouse that you need to do their laundry. They respond, “Oh, no problem, I’ll do it.”
• When asked to do it, they readily read a large or complicated book.
• They get excited over the idea that they could get paid for their work.
• When they read a book about digging, they want to go out and dig.
• They take responsibility for things in the house. They refill saltshaker, arrange the couch cushions nicely, etc.
• They can take on a big project, such as a project for a science fair. They can do some of the analysis work, do a simple write up, and, with help, set up the presentation.
• They take pride in being given a job, say cutting cake at a birthday party.
• When asked what they want to do, they directly say they want more projects to do.
• They get things done. When asked to plug in an electric pencil sharpener, they do. They put it somewhere different, because it looks better there.
• There is a “Self-taught, no lessons” aspect to this milestone. They take on big projects and the way they do them, it’s as if knowledge is magically coming to them.
Sees the unseen, Hears the unheard
• They get the overall situation better. You said they need to do homework after they are done with their video game, but they keep winning at the game. You comment about it, as your whole family is watching and cheering them on, and they smirk, “Well, I guess no homework!”
• They can come up with truly impressive things. They can come up with an equation, on their own, to solve how to win a math game. They continue to add to it, as they find new issues and nuance.
• Their observations are unusually perceptive and seem to come out of nowhere. Ask them, for instance, where they would want to fall off a mountain: at the bottom or top? Their insights might impress you.
• Their writing gets smaller and neater.
• They spontaneously start writing with better grammar: complete sentences, correct capitalization, etc.
• They might start writing, spontaneously, on their own. They might voluntarily do a creative writing project or explain an idea they had in their head, in writing.

Ten Year Old Milestone 8 (10.9.1-10.9.3) — Invites the World In
: Around 10.9.1
Most Intense: 10.9.2 to 10.9.3
Ends: 10.9.3
Irritable Period Summary

• They can get confused. They say one thing but mean another. They might say “4” when they mean “3.”
• They forget things or don’t notice things. You did try to wake them up, but they accuse you of forgetting to do it.
• They can’t make up their mind about which movie to watch.
Grumpy and angry
• They can be grumpy and angry, especially if they lose at something
New Abilities Summary
Invites the world in
• They invite the world in. It’s as if their eyes are smiling, inviting in life, with how “up” for life they are.
• As they go to some place new, they announce, “It’s time for an adventure!”
• As they go to a brand new competition, they are eager and excited. They are keen to make sure they get there on time, etc.
• They might do something to carve out their own place. They finally move their laptop to their own room, for whatever reason. As they use it, they marvel, “I get to play (or talk) with all my friends!”
• They are guaranteed to accept a challenge to try the most sour or bitter food.
• They might grumble while doing things but they almost always willingly do things.
Pushes you away
• They are up for the outside world, but they pull away from you, their parents, big time. Indeed, such as moving their computer away from you and to a place where they can be more with their friends.
• They might literally push you away if you stay too long somewhere, where they think your presence might adversely affect them.
Nonchalant and funny
• They are much more nonchalant about things now. As they are playing a brand new game, even though they are losing, they are ok with it. Completely ok. It’s a noticeably new type of calm.
• They are funny in a way without needing to be told they are funny. They mouth things to themselves, as if to entertain only themselves.
• They find some parts of their homework delightfully hilarious.
• To be funny, they might do something like “chug” salt from a salt shaker.
• They “slurp” their noodles. Basically, they are up to no good.
• They think about large sums of money and say, nonchalantly about it, “Yeah, it’s a cool 3 bil.”
Writing explosion
• The explosion in their desire to write continues. They might find it novel that they can write out their thoughts, when speaking is difficult for any reason.
Physically grows—walks with a swag
• They grow again. Although they are only 4’+ tall, sometimes it looks like they are now 7’ tall.
• They walk with a bit of a swag. Their muscles grow and they seem to notice it.