Before entering the teen years, children are beginning to test boundaries and are becoming more social. Peer influence starts to play a bigger role in their lives and they can be influenced in both positive and negative ways.  

Supporting and guiding your child

Children may be starting to gain a sense of independence; they need support and guidance through this time to assist developing positive behaviours. Parents have a role in ensuring that there are clear boundaries and rules in place to follow. 

During the final years of primary school, preparation will be needed in transitioning schools and peer groups, and entering the teen years.  

Children will be starting to develop their own point of view as an individual but will be influenced by teachers, parents, peers and extended family. They will look for guidance in developing their identity, especially from parents.  

Family communication, rules and consequences

Having clear communication and rules in the family home will assist children to develop appropriate behaviours and relationships with people and the world around them.  

Some themes that may help with this age group include: 

  • Having clear rules and limits with appropriate (and consistent) consequences. 
  • Having clear and open communication.  
  • Providing praise and positive reinforcement for appropriate decisions and behaviour. 
  • Having realistic expectations of the young person. 
  • Be a positive role model. 
  • Choosing your battles i.e. “Does it really matter? Is it really worth it?” 
  • Be firm and consistent in enforcing house and family rules. 
  • Be available to connect with them. 

Want to know more? 


The Raising Children Network – Pre-teens behaviour