Kurt Johnston, the Jr. High pastor at Saddleback wrote a great (and short!) blog post on junior high kids’ behavior and survival instincts. Definitely worth checking out. Here’s a sample, find the rest here.
The junior high years are tough (remember yours?), and most young teens find themselves, consciously or subconsciously, in survival mode. They gossip because they think that helps them survive, they tease because it’s better to be the teaser than to be the teased. They are selfish because in order to survive middle school, they can’t afford to look out for anybody but themselves.