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 April 12, 2022.
The Ten Year Old Milestones were last updated on August 8, 2022.

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

Nine Year Old Milestone 1 —Persistent Responsibility
: 9.0.0
Most Intense: On and off throughout but the mounting frustration might cause it to explode near the end
Ends: 9.1.1
Irritable Period Summary
Extreme Insecurity and Jealousy
• If another child won’t play with them, it’s devastating.
• If their sister has a friend along but they have no one, they are very upset.
• If they sign into an online class and found out just then that they need something they don’t have, such as an email account, they might get very, very upset.
• Their hurt and pain over this can last well into the day after the offending incident happened.
• 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.”
• 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
• 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 might fall out of their bed, because they got out face forward. As you inquire about it, they “forgot” how to get out of bed.
Moody, Overresponds
• Might be moody and overrespond to the smallest of slights
• 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 might be so overcome by irritation 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 be a very difficult parenting challenge. No amount of explanations helps to resolve anything and yet the are threatening to throw chairs.
• You might choose (as I did) to deliberately get in their face, because no amount of talking gets through. I can say this behavior DOES end and remarkable skills are on their way. Knowing this might help.
New Abilities Summary
• Stunningly responsible and joyful, day after day
Stunningly Responsible
• They were disinterested and moody in the irritable period, but they are now stunningly helpful.
• If you host a party or an event, they might help clean up at the end and also make sure you don’t forget anything.
• 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 are proud to think that if they were given $100, they would give it away to an orphanage.
Extremely Astute
• They are extremely astute about what they read in stories, see in movies, or watch in real life.
• Not to toot my own horn, but my oldest said, a few times, “Well, misbehavior is growth!” This is the name of my book series related to these milestones. He said this, for instance, when Marian breaks the law in order to save Robin Hood. “Nothing is more true when you think about it” he said. He recognizes that rocky times of transformation or even law breaking led to something better. He saw the book laying around at our house and diligently tried to make sense of it.

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 —Personality and Puns
: 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 can rough house and play hard, without an ability to back off, even when riding in a vehicle. This can be annoying and even a safety hazard.
Physical growth and changes
• They get taller.
• They breather heavier, especially when sleeping.
• They might hiccup more.
• Might have an intense headache at some point
• They can just plain be LOUD.
• Vivid dreams that they can describe. Random people show up in random places
o Their cleaning ladies might show up in their favorite TV show.
o A Star Wars ship with some odd features has another random character show up on it.
o Then they are all of a sudden playing frisbee in the backyard with their dad.
New Abilities Summary

• They tell puns. They love to know they get jokes, any joke.
o “Did you hear the one about World War Pun?”
o “They are going to Bolivia. Can you Bolivia it?”
• They try on many different personalities, flexing this new part of them.
• Maybe they go around pretending to talk like a French scientist.
• 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.
• 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 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 might play practical jokes still, like yelling “Boo!” to scare people.
• They 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 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 and 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. 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 — FIERCE Independence
: 9.9.1
Most Intense: 9.9.1 – 9.9.2
Ends: 9.9.2
Irritable Period Summary

• 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.
• 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.
• Supremely angry to be asked to go to bed—even though it’s 1:30 in the morning
A bit persnickety about justice and rules
• 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?
• Extremely upset when asked to do something that they don’t want to, such as entertain themselves for a bit
• 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 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. They seem like they are “rapidly turning into a man”—even though they’re 9.
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.
• 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 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.
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. 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 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.
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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.

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—Self-Initiated Goals
: 10.2.2
Most Intense: 10.3.0
Ends: ?
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.
• If they lose, they might rationalize it away or lie, “I didn’t want to win anyway.”
• They get overwhelmed if they lose.
• 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. An opportunity is here for major life lessons.
• They can get a wee bit too aggressive when upset. It is temporary, however.
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.
New Abilities Period
• 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.
• They have 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 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 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.
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 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?”
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.
• 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.