Mental Health Blog

Boundaries with Pre-teens

Posted by Alan Godfrey on


Being the parent of a child will seem like a blessing and a struggle all at the same time. From what I hear from parents and child-development, that’s normal and you’re not alone or “doing it wrong.” If you have a child who is considered in the “pre-teen” stage (age 10-12), if you have one that is almost there, or just want to know more what healthy boundaries are and a few ways how to set them, these may help.

The phrase authoritative parenting gets thrown around a lot these days, and it will be helpful to shift your style (or continue it) into this parenting style. Authoritative parenting in short is “these are the rules, these are the reasons for the rules, we do this because we love you, and these are the consequences.” If there are solid boundaries put in now, the teenage years may end up being much more manageable. Now flexibility in the rules in extenuating circumstances is necessary, but a pre-teen needs to only hear the rules and consequences once. It is up to your household to be on the same page and decide what the house expectations are, and to lead by example, but here are some helpful guidelines that have worked well for other parents:

  1. A consistent set bedtime & electronic use for each school day, i.e. 9pm lights off
    • Asking for electronics to not be in the bedroom is a parent’s prerogative
  2. Chores that are daily and chores that are for weekends
    • Either with a reward or with more freedom given afterwards
  3. Knowing and meeting friends and/or the family your child is spending time with
    • Both online and in person, letting them know it’s because you love them that you care
    • Your child hasn’t developed a good sense for safe people yet, but you can teach them
  4. No surprise consequences, letting everyone know what the expectations are and asking them for their input too.
    • This helps them buy in and own more, to not find hypocrisy (they can sniff that out like it’s chocolate), and they might have a good point of view and feel heard.

The books, Positive Parenting with a Plan, and Help! I’m a Parent are great resources if you’re wanting to learn more about boundaries and overall helpful parenting. Moms and Dads need to be on the same page, and I hope you find this helpful.


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