Your 8-Year-Old Child: Emotional Development

An in-depth look at your 8-year-old child's emotional development

8 year old child emotional development - boy hugging dog
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For 8-year-old children, emotional development may be evolving at a deeper level than before. An 8-year-old may be capable of more sophisticated and complex emotions and interactions such as masking true emotions to spare someone’s feelings or occasionally working through a problem or situation without the close intervention of an adult.

Eight-year-old children may also be a study in contradictory and quick-changing emotions.

An 8-year-old may be very critical of others but may also be very critical of himself. He may be cooperative and cheerful in some instances and bossy or selfish and rude in others.

Eight-year-olds will be proud of the fact that they are able to do many things on their own and will increasingly express a desire for privacy. At the same time, 8-year-old children will still need and want guidance and support from their parents. Parents should make it a habit to routinely talk to their 8-year-old child about her day, any problems or interesting developments at school, or dynamics or conflicts in her friendships.

Eight-year-olds may veer between bouts of brassy over-confidence and uncertainty and doubt about their own skills. They may compare themselves to their friends and peers (“He is better at drawing than I am” or “She is a better soccer player”).

Your 8-year-old child may express an increased desire for privacy.

She may want to shower and get dressed with the door closed. Eight-year-olds may also want to keep some thoughts private, and parents may suggest that their child keep a journal or diary to write down their thoughts.

While parents should respect their child’s request for privacy, there are some matters -- such as going online or conflicts with friends -- that should be handled with a parent’s guidance, monitoring, and support.

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