How do you parent pre teens?

I have twin step-daughters from my husband’s first marriage. Before that, I wasn’t a mom. We had been dating about six months (we have been together four years now) before I met them, and at about a year of us dating, the kids asked if they could start calling me mom; I had told them they could call me whatever they choose, but of course, I’d never replaced their mother. Their real mom had custody at first, so it was hard because we knew she’s was abusive, but we could never prove it until we could. Then not long after, Covid hit, and I convinced her since we don’t live in the city to let them stay here, and she could continue to collect child support. She agreed. They have been with us a year now, and we just had our first daughter together not too long ago. The kids have stepped up and love being a big sister and absolutely love their sister, they are excelling in school, and they have been gaining weight that was needed. But they are going to be turning 11 this year, and I know there are about to be a lot of changes. And with their dad being gone for a week at a time for work, I’m on my own. Does anyone have any advice? How do I discipline them when I know they grew up? Be firm but not too firm? Be understanding and gentle but not too gentle to where they don’t take me seriously? They don’t have phones and don’t really have any kids their age to hang out with either. I do make time for them, and we have ‘girl time.’


If have to punish them send them to room are something thears still time out and corners are what’s so ever and just talk to them as if you would you lil one when get older , and don’t for get about how you was as a teen

Trust your instincts momma, the fact that you are so sensitive to their situation and how to best approach it means you are doing it right!! Kudos!


Sounds like you have it down. Continue what you are doing. Love is the most important and Listening.


This worked for my son , it’s not for all kids but if he had to go to his room / time out he would just yell he wanted out well my rule was your time dosen’t start till your quite, this did not work for him and I felt he was focused more on getting out then why he was in . So I started tell him he could get out when he could write a paper / story abt what he did and what the consequences could be and how he could do better . I started this at abt 2nd grade and expected more as he got older . It did two things

  1. He was now in charge of when he got out , no more yelling .
  2. He had to think abt his actions and solutions abt his actions.
    He was a smart young man and this worked wonders. Plus I keep it all in a note book so we could read it later and see his growth .
    Just one idea

I find the most important part of any punishment is the conversation after. My kids are 13 and 10 and punishment is usually taking away devices. The initial response is always them (and me) being upset. There is not a lot that can be communicated when emotions are running high. Once things cool off I have the “you are punished because
the rule is x and you did y.” Then finishing up with “because as your mom it’s my job to teach you… “ and lastly “because I love you very much.”

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Have them write apology letters to who they hurt in whatever they did…be it themselves, you, dad, neighbor, whoever

Remember, they are human first. I have to remind myself that even I have bad days with bad attitudes for no reason. I recognize it tho, and that is what I teach my 11 yo daughter. There are going to be bad days. Let’s talk through it, work through the feelings. And sometimes, she’s just being a little shit and needs reminded I’m the mama bear… It’s balance.

If there are no problems now don’t make any enjoy your life one day at a time just love them


You may get lucky and not have a lot of issues. I have twin daughters (now almost 18). One, I’ve not had a single issue out of. The other, I had some attitude issues mid-teens, but other than that, no issues. I’ve always been extremely open and honest with my girls and in return, they have done the same. If you aren’t so lucky, just use compassion, you were a pre-teen/teenage girl once also. Always make the punishment fit the crime.

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Sit down with your step-daughters n talk about it.

One thing you don’t want to do is use their past as an excuse to let them get away with stuff. Be a parent and don’t be too soft or they will walk all over you. Of course be fair. Children needs discipline, rules, and structure. Oh yeah and also be fun.


There isnt a one size fits all for parenting. Depending on what they did would determine the punishment. That can range from loss of cellphone privileges, taking away things they really enjoy using at home, grounding and so forth. It can be hard to find a middle ground especially during puberty stages. Don’t punish out of anger and try to see where they’re coming from when making a decision if they get into trouble or come to you for something. As far as girl time, that could be any time the baby is gonna sleep for a few hours, you can just spend those few hours with them doing whatever they like at home


It sounds like you’re doing a great job and the most important thing is to care and love them. I read a lot of great parenting books by Meg meeker I would highly recommend her!


Love that you are there for them when they need you the most. You are doing a great job so far. I believe that if you are open and honest with them and continue to encourage them to be then things will work out. Keep up the great job. God Bless


All sit down with dad and have him lay out rules and punishments written down and gone over w everyone in agreement! If they refuse the consequences of punishment then they deal with dad when he gets home.


Sounds like ur doing great as it is. Parent them as u would parent ur own. The only thing that will really change in the next few years is puberty. Explaining that will be the hardest part. Other than taking cell phones and grounding them from friends and weekend activities u should be fine until boys become an issue. Lol because they were abused though it’s a really thin line on whooping them and u have 2 know when they are pulling the emotional card 2 get their way.

I have twin girls that are now 15 let me tell you something I have found for them that the same punishment does not work for both of them. I was trial and error. However speaking to them has always been the first step and also asking them once they realized their error I asked them what they thought their punishment should be. I didn’t always accept what they thought but it was always considered

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Be firm and loving. Stay consistent

If there’s no problems don’t discipline them