Parenting Children Through the Preteen Years

Parenting isn't for wimps, especially when children hit the preteen years. If you have a child approaching (or in the middle of) the tween years (ages 9 through 12) you might need a little assistance. Below are some tips that will help you while you're parenting children through the tricky in-between years. 


Prepare Your Child for Middle School

Father and daughter using a laptop
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Parenting children through the preteen years means making sure they are ready for the challenges of middle school. Middle school often means an increase in homework, as well as social challenges, such as making friends and dealing with bullies. Talk with your child about the ups and down middle school will bring, and be sure your child knows how to develop strong and healthy friendships.


Parenting Children: Help with Puberty

Most likely, your child will deal with puberty during the preteen years. Knowing what to expect will help your child understand the changes and cope with them.

More on Puberty and Tweens


Keep the Parent/Child Bond Strong

The parent/child relationship may change a little during the tween years as your child looks for acceptance outside the family. Be sure to allow your child to develop strong friendships and his or her independence, but keep the parent/child bond at the same time.

To strengthen the parent-child bond, set aside time together, and take time to learn about your child's interests and hobbies.

Parenting children has its challenges, but it should also be fun, too.


Help Your Tween Learn New Skills

The tween years are an ideal time to help your child learn new skills, and develop even more independence. Be sure your child helps out around the house with household chores. It may even be time for your child to find his or her first job. Parenting children through the tween years means helping them grow and enjoy taking on responsibilities.


Brush Up on Discipline Techniques

Tweens aren't always perfect and can be known for occasional bad behaviors. If your child talks back, frequently becomes angry or just doesn't listen to you, you'll need to take action. Discipline is a must to help your child develop into a teenager, and eventually, into a responsible adult.


How to Support Your Growing Child

The key to helping your child through the tween years is by supporting him or her. One of the best ways you can support your child is by allowing him or her to develop a sense of self, as well as a healthy self-esteem. Resist the urge to control your child's interests or hobbies. Supporting your child means knowing when to take a step back​ so that your tween can shine.

5 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. What Is Bullying?

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. What Parents Can Do to Support Friendships.

  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. Physical Changes During Puberty.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Middle Childhood (9-11 years of age).

  5. Masselink M, Van Roekel E, Oldehinkel AJ. Self-esteem in Early Adolescence as Predictor of Depressive Symptoms in Late Adolescence and Early Adulthood: The Mediating Role of Motivational and Social FactorsJ Youth Adolesc. 2018;47(5):932–946. doi:10.1007/s10964-017-0727-z

By Jennifer O'Donnell
Jennifer O'Donnell holds a BA in English and has training in specific areas regarding tweens, covering parenting for over 8 years.