Preteen years can be somewhat awkward - you're too old for elementary school, yet not quite a teenager. Here are 4 keys I've learned from raising one, and now two preteens.
1). Avoid the temptation to buy your preteen a cell phone. Their friends have them, they ask for one for Christmas, their birthday, Valentine's Day, from the tooth fairy. Cell phones rob children of their childhood. We still have a landline, that's the children's phone.
2). Preteens need to stay busy. Elizabeth participates in gymnastics, jumps on the trampoline and lives at church. Preteens get bored - very fast. They need to play outside, participate in sports, read books, and be very involved in church. If you let them, they'll sit in front of video games, TV and play on the phone. They'll have the rest of their lives for a phone.
3). Give them responsibility. Unload the dishwasher, fold clothes, vacuum, babysit, take care of the cat - chores should be expected.
4). Attitudes have consequences. The average preteen is smarter than you, knows more than you, and wants to make their own decisions. A bad attitude is the same as disobedience. The 5th commandment says, "Honor your father and your mother." Honor includes your attitude.
Rules and structure are always your friend. Make the preteen years your child's best years - they're still children.