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Why is Year 9 the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year?

Why is Year 9 the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year?

A few years ago when, not coincidentally, my oldest was in Year 9, I made a meme for the Mumlyfe Facebook page:

It’s our most shared, most commented on, most liked, most talked about meme ever.

The truth has a way of uniting us all.

A mum messaged me this week to thank me for the asshole kid article. “My son is in Year 9 so… you know,” she wrote.

No other words were needed. Any mum who has ever had a kid in Year 9 knows.

Matter of fact, my youngest is currently in Year 9 and right now I really, really know.

I thought I’d be off the hook this time around because she’s young for her year. I thought the Year 9 cyclone wouldn’t hit until Year 10, but I was wrong. It appears Year 9 is not an age thing, it’s just a thing.

So, I asked around to get some feedback on just why parents and teachers (yes, teachers all shudder when you mention Year 9, too) dread this year so much. Here’s what they had to say.

1. So much sass

Year 9 is the year when the kids are well and truly grown out of wanting to please us (bring back those sweet three-year-olds, please!). Instead, they only want to please their friends and parents literally suck (do not, under any circumstances, point out that their use of the word literally here, and in most cases, is incorrect…).

They’ll notice all of our flaws and are only too happy to point them out to us. This is the year where the phrase “OMG, you’re embarrassing yourself” is the stock response every time a mother opens her mouth. Closely followed by “you’re too old to get it” and “well, you chose to have children”. Little did we know that when we chose to have said children, we’d be signing up for a  full year of back talk, ridicule and derision. Sigh.

“I haven’t been able to have a conversation with my son without him talking over me this entire year,” says Beth. “He’s such a bloody know-it-all I’m tempted to leave him to self-parent. He would definitely tell you that he’d do a much better job at it than me.”

“Everything I say, everything I do, my daughter has an opinion about it,” says Sam. “And none of those opinions are nice.”

“This has honestly been the worst year of my life as a parent. WAY harder than the previous years put together,” says Katie. “I told her about two months ago that I’ll be leaving home before she will at this rate!!!”

Beware the sassy Year 9 student

2. So many hormones

Puberty may have started years ago, but for sure it peaks in Year 9. These kids have more highs and lows than a 50-year-old perimenopausal woman… wait a minute.

I previously wrote extensively about the foolishness of our generation ‘delaying having children’ so our kids could hit puberty at the same time we hit perimenopause. It’s an epic disaster being carried out in homes across the country. Add Year 9 to that mix and things really blow up.

“My 14-year-old son is like a raging bull at the moment,” says Claire. “He blows up over the slightest thing and it’s like the world is caving in. His anger is terrifying, but not quite as terrifying as my own. Send help.”

“If the car door doesn’t get slammed at drop-off in the mornings, I figure my daughter is still in the car,” notes Michelle.

“The main reason every high school teacher dreads getting a Year 9 class is the endless emotional burden of a room full of 14/15 year olds,” says teacher Ms K. “Every class there will be tears from someone, punches thrown by another and at least half the class not speaking to the other half. Trying to fit the lesson plan in can be next to impossible.” 

“I’m a teacher and I refuse to teach Year 9. It’s the worst,” says teacher Ms H. “I’m too old to deal with that level of crazy.”

3. So much sensitivity

There is not a more sensitive soul on the planet than a Year 9 kid. I wish I was referring to sensitivity towards others, but alas, these are teens we’re talking about. Their sensitivity is all directed at themselves. So don’t comment on any aspect of their lives as they will fall into a heap of self-loathing. In fact, it’s best not to even look at a Year 9er if you can possibly avoid it.

“My Year 9 Maths program chiefly consists of moving kids around who can no longer bear to sit with each other,” says Mrs R. “There are more fights and falling outs in Year 9 than all the other years combined. Boys and girls are equally as bad, with boys perhaps tipping girls out when it comes to being overly sensitive.”

“I can’t say a word to Miss 15 without her telling me that I’ve hurt her feelings,” says Sam. “And hurting people’s feelings is the worst. thing. you. can. ever. do. Except be seen with your mother in public, of course.”

“Worst and only bad year of my parenting experience,” says Suzie. “Even my daughter admits she doesn’t know what happened or why! Thank God it is well over.”

Beware the Year 9 look

4. So much rudeness

Your kid hits Year 9 and every manner you ever taught them is instantly forgotten. They push, they yell, they interrupt, they mumble and they’d literally rather die (again, no comment) than say please or thank you for anything.

Our young ‘uns are experimenting with independence, but they’re still too young to understand that steamrolling people is not the way to get what you want. So out comes the heavy machinery.

“There’s a look a Year 9 girl will give you that is basically the equivalent of being shot on sight,” says teacher Mrs R. “We call it the ‘dead look’ and anyone who has ever been on the end of it will know exactly the look I’m talking about.”

“I don’t know what happened to my smiley, chatty girl, but she’s no longer with us,” says Angela. “We hope to meet her again somewhere down the road.”

“I can’t ask my son to do anything without him screaming at me,” says Brodie. “He goes from nought to one hundred in an instant and it’s on. I told him he treats us like staff and he’s the worst boss ever.”

“My son was quite a nice boy until Year 9, then he seemed to lose the ability to speak to anyone over the age of 16,” says Indira. “I get grunts at best and completely ignored the rest of the time. I actually get quite jealous when I hear him laughing and hooting with his friends. It makes me sad.”

5. So much negativity

The world of a Year 9 teen is a very cruel and sad world indeed. They struggle to find anything good about, well, anything.

Instead they spend their days sighing and complaining about the most trivial things and expecting you to drop everything to listen for hours (see #4 above). Let me tell you, listening to an endless stream of negativity would bring even Pollyanna to her knees. I know this because I am Pollyanna and the weather down here is constant rain.

“I just want her to stop whinging!!!!!!” says Beth. “Please!!!!!!!”

“There could be 100 good things happen in a day, but my daughter will only tell you about the one crappy thing. Over and over, for hours and hours,” says Anna.

“Nothing good ever happens in Year 9,” says teacher Mr M. “At least, not according to the kids.”

In summary

“My mammy used to say if you could bury your kids at 13/14 then dig them up again , life would be so easy,” says Jacqueline.

Which pretty much sums the whole thing up.

After all, Year 9 is a beginning, not an end… sorry!

Feature image by Annie Spratt; bird flip by Markus Spiske; girl  by Maria Lysenko 

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