Preteen Parenting: 5 things you need to know!

Last Updated on February 16, 2020 by Diane Hoffmaster

My children are quickly growing up and I really thought that this would be a GOOD thing!  No more diaper changes, middle of the night feedings, toddler tantrums, or play dates from hell with the scary kid that bites everybody.  I should be HAPPY to have children who are almost into their teens, right?  Yeah…not so much!  I am starting to realized that stinky diapers are a lot easier to solve than stinky teenage boy shoes.  Honestly, I just soaked my son’s shoes in Fe-breeze and they still smell like something died in there.  So, if you are approaching the teenage years like I am (or you just want to know what you have in store for you in the years to come!) here are a few things to keep in mind about preteen parenting:

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Preteen Parenting


1.  Preteens smell…and there isn’t much you can do about it!  Honestly, I guess it is the hormones gone awry in their little preteen bodies because no amount of bathing and deodorizing can keep them smelling fresh for long.  I have told my son to stop closing his closet door and have invested in a room deodorizing spray.  I am constantly having to remind both kids to put on deodorant in the morning…because I do NOT want to be riding in the car with them after tennis practice if they have skipped the deodorant!

2.  You, the parent, are always wrong.  It does not matter if you have a degree in parenting from an accredited university or are a child behavior expert.  You will be wrong.  Always!  And your preteen will argue their ‘rightness’ until they pass out from lack of oxygen. Choose your battles wisely and learn when to ignore them.

3.   No matter how smart your preteen is, their vocabulary will become stunted during this time.  If you ask a question, their answer will be something along the lines of “yeah”, “huh?’, or some other single syllable response.  If you hope to have any interaction at all, ask questions that require more than a yes or no answer.  You might actually get 3 or 4 words in a row!


Preteen Energy Level- Sloth!


4.  Your preteen will have the energy of a sloth.  I remember days of chasing toddlers around playgrounds, running preschoolers from playgroup to soccer practice, and even hiding my head under the pillow when young children woke up before the sun came up. Now, my preteen gets out of bed in the morning and crawls to the chair…and stays there for a couple of hours glued to the TV.  When asked to go outside and find a friend to play with he looks at me with absolute horror…because I expect him to actually WALK the 2 blocks to find said friend.  When asked to please get up and put a dish in the dishwasher, the response is more appropriate to a request to build me a pyramid.  Preteen, thy name is sloth!

5.  Your preteen will eat you out of house and home.  The price of groceries is on the rise and since I buy a lot of organic foods, I realize my bill will be a bit higher than normal.  But, honestly, I just went to the grocery store the other day and got enough to last  a few days…and the bill was almost $200!  If I hear the words ‘I’m hungry’ one more time I am going to have to throttle him!  This food is obviously not being converted into energy (see above sloth reference!) so I can only assume that it is being converted into hormones to help produce the stank coming from his feet!


Preteen parenting has been a bit challenging and I am constantly telling myself ‘this, too, shall pass’.  Of course, it is also a very interesting time of development…at bedtime, he wants mommy to tuck him in and kiss him goodnight but he wants me to let him have a girlfriend, too.  Like any girl could stand the smell at hand holding distance!

Do you have a preteen?  Do you have any advice to help me survive the next few years?

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  1. Definitely agree with all of the above & it gets no better once they are teens!
  2. looks like I have a long road ahead, then!
  3. This is hilarious! I especially like #1. Great post, thanks. :)
  4. This is so true especially them becoming like a sloth. although the other day I took the xbox away for a whole day and whoa...I got a clean kitchen and a clean living room so I did give in later that night. Love your post girl....stopping by from PITM
  5. Oh no!! My son is a toddler.... things don't get easier?!
  6. That sloth picture is adorable! I don't have much to add because I don't have any pre-teens. Some days I wonder if I, myself, am all that much mature than a pre-teen. LOL!
  7. Grace Hodgin says
    Pre-teen is definitely a challenge and kids seem to be developing at an earlier age which makes it more difficult for parents. I'll send this on to my daughter who has a pre-teen
  8. Oh no! I can't believe this is what is coming my way, three-fold! :)
  9. Wow! This does NOT sound good. I think we're already there with the deodorant (or lack thereof...) issue already but haven't hit the others. I'm only wrong 94% of the time for my 11 year old daughter.
  10. Heather B says
    Diane, this is awesome! I'm totally busting a gut, all the while there's a knot in in that same gut recognizing the painful truth of what we're about to face with our own son approaching middle school/preteen/tween years. We are on a quest to educate ourselves so we at least have a better expectation and maybe a small chance to help our son succeed through these fun, smelly years. I love your blog. We've been reading a great new book that we are really excited about, so I just 
have to share. It's called "MiddleSchool: The Inside Story- What Kids Tell Us, But Don't Tell You," by Cynthia Tobias and Sue Acuna. It has interviews and feedback from middle schoolers, parents and teachers (and a little humor) to help us deal with faith, purity, puberty, communication, independence, discipline and accountability, tackling social media, technology, Internet, gaming, and deepening and strengthening positive, loving relationship. It's so rich in valuable help as we face these transitional years with our kids. I think everyone with a middle schooler or who will have a
middle schooler will benefit from it. I highly recommend it!

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