10 Things Your 10-Year-Old Should Not Do

rules for kids

It’s completely natural that your tween wants to rush into all the things he or she sees older kids doing. But slow down. Just because a particular choice is the “norm” these days doesn’t make it a good choice. Think about these ten areas where you may need to hold your child back—for her own good.

We’ve put together a list of 10 things 10-year-olds should not do to help you spot the danger zones for kids of this age range. We realize that all children mature at different rates, and there may be some exceptions to the rule, but this list gives you a place to start in determining if you need to put the brakes on your tween in some areas.

1. Having unrestricted Internet access.

The Internet is everywhere: the family computer, the family TV, that tablet on the coffee table, and on every smartphone. But with all that educational good and convenience come some real risks. Consider this:

  • According to a study by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one in five Internet users ages 10-17 received a sexual solicitation or approach over the Internet in a given year.
  • One in 33 received an aggressive solicitation including trying to arrange a meeting, gifts of meals or money, and phone calls.
  • One in four had unwanted exposure to sexually explicit material.

Bottom line: Giving your child unrestricted, unmonitored access to the online world is asking for trouble. Get your head in the game by reading iMOM’s Ready, Set, Internet! Guide.

2. Drinking diet drinks.

In the war against childhood obesity, some kids and parents have turned to diet sodas to satisfy that craving without the added sugar and calories. But it’s a lousy trade, it seems. Research is emerging which suggests that artificially-sweetened beverages are addicting and may actually increase food cravings and contribute to weight gain. Of even greater concern is that there has been almost no research on the effects of these sweeteners on the still-developing bodies and brains of children.

3. Drinking sugary drinks.

At the end of the day, the great majority of our calories should be eaten, not drunk. But if your child is enjoying several sugary soft drinks, sports drinks, or energy drinks each day, he or she is getting tons of sugary calories and zero nutrition in return. The American Heart Association recommends that children consume no more than three teaspoons (12-24 g) of added sugars (not including naturally occurring sugars in whole foods like fruit or plain milk) per day. That’s about 50 calories. The vast majority of sugar-laden drinks marketed to children far exceed that limit in just one serving.

4. Sitting for hours on end.

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology determined that children spend about 8.6 hours per day or 62% of their waking time being sedentary. While some sitting time is necessary (mostly at school), their time outside of school should be spent in moderate-intensity activities like helping to prepare meals or household chores or in higher-intensity activities like outdoor play or sports. Need some help to get them going? Read 10 Tips to Get Your Kids Moving.

5. Watching PG-13 and R-rated entertainment.

Kids are working hard to develop a sense of self at this age and will model a lot of what they see. Tweens are heavily influenced by television and movie characters they deem “cool.” Movies and television rated for older audiences will feed your child a steady diet of sex, drug and alcohol use, and violence before they have enough life experience to even put those images in proper context. And take note: Gritty sex and violence aren’t the only negatives in entertainment at this age. If your tween is watching sitcoms and other tween shows whose characters are disrespectful to adults, or use sarcasm and insults to get laughs, you can expect the same from your child. Use our iMOM Movie Monitor to filter movie and music choices for your child.

6. Using social media (Facebook/Twitter) or texting.

Your child wants a social media account to peer into the lives of others, especially older kids they think are cool. The problem is that these older kids aren’t always a good example. Also, your child is not mature enough at this age to be responsible for his or her own posts. The same goes for text messaging. Kids seem to say things on these platforms that they would never say in person, and that’s not a good thing. Tweens who spend time engaged in social media are at greater risk for bullying, humiliation, and sexual experimentation {Tweet This}. Set up some guardrails to keep them safe like the ones in iSpecialist Mark Merrill’s How to Create Boundaries for Your Children.

7. Wearing provocative clothing.

While there’s little official research on this topic, it doesn’t take a scientist to realize that provocative or revealing clothing promotes sexual thoughts, interest from boys, and earlier sexual experimentation. Regardless of what the trends may be, you have every right to reject the status quo and set higher standards for your tween. By teaching her to dress modestly, you’re sending the message that she is more than her body and that people should value her for her heart and mind. Teach her to respect herself and the world will follow suit.

8. Playing teen-rated or mature-rated video games.

Every respected medical association in the country—from the American Medical Association to the American  Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry—took part in a joint statement to Congress in 2000 which cautioned parents about violence in the media and it’s negative effect on children. Their report states that exposure to violence can elevate aggressive feelings and thoughts, especially in children and that these effects can be long-term. Find out how to keep violent games out of your home, and know what they’re playing at friends’ homes.

9. “Going out” with a girlfriend or boyfriend.

You may think of it as harmless, or even cute, but allowing your child to claim a romantic attachment this early is a bad idea. The tween years are a major period of developing an identity and a self-concept for kids. A University of Denver study found that allowing romance into your child’s life at this stage can cause an unhealthy mingling of romantic self-concept and overall confidence, particularly in the areas of appearance and peer acceptance. What’s more, a bad experience in the romantic arena can have negative consequences for your child in other domains. Learn how delaying romance can help to keep your child sexually pure, too.

10. Getting less than 10 hours of sleep per night.

No child can perform well at school, keep up with after-school activities, do household chores, and maintain a pleasant attitude without sufficient rest. Yet that’s what many 10 to 12-year-olds are trying to do, day in and day out. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sufficient rest is about 10 hours per night at this age! Help them sack out by creating good sleep routines in your home. Do you have others to add to our list?


  • Roslin J.Fields

    Thank you for your great and important parenting tips.

  • Justin

    I did all of these things when i was 10

    • Kim Marie Murano

      dont worry me too i did them when i was 9

      • dawhoda

        and you two are proud of it?

  • coolgirl10

    i do all of these things

  • Lilly

    I do all of these things except 7, 5, and sort of 1. I don’t see what’s wrong with it!!!!!!!!!!! It’s irrational………ALL tweens drink sugary drinks……………

  • Jay Feather

    Every tween does all of these things it doesn’t do anything except unhealthy eating habits witch causes obesity but that can be gotten rid of with sports or just walks.

  • Kim Marie Murano

    I’m almost 12 and I do most of those things…

  • Hannah

    I only semi agree with the whole movies thing. My Dad once made me shoot a gun so I’d know how to do it, and if it weren’t for watch the show, “Agent Carter”, I would have fled and his somewhere. The bottom line is, I didn’t particularly want to be like Peggy Carter, but if I HAD to do something that she would do, then I would have her as inspiration to do it.

  • Brandy

    Great points! I too did many of these things as a tween but now that I’m older and a lot wiser I’m hoping to do better with my kids. Life is too short to always be in such a big hurry to grow up and that’s what a lot of these are about. Kids wanting to act older than they really are. If the average lifespan is 80ish, we spend more than 3/4 of our life as a grown-up with adult responsibilities. Why not enjoy and savor the precious little time you have to live a carefree life instead of always trying to be more mature.

  • Saehna The Warlock

    well do all exepct going out i’m always on comp and i’m 10

  • Saehna The Warlock

    and always wear normal clothez

  • SherriLynn

    Wow tweens – thanks for sharing your thoughts….you need to spend some time in English class and work on your grammar. You have time to do all these things but you don’t have time to learn how to express yourself in written form.
    When you are all grown up and have kids of your own, you’ll understand the wisdom in these concerns. I have a 9 year old daughter that wants to be 14 or 18. Whatever the age, I remember wanting to grow up quickly too. Take your time. There is nothing but work and more work when you get older. ENJOY BEING A KID!

    • dawhoda

      yes that very ignorant of you to belittle rather than teach the Youngsters on their writing skills .Way to go teach them well! smh

      • Latard Odom (Emir of Africa)


  • dancergir1984

    telling a kid that the clothes make boys want them sexually is saying boys can’t control themselves and women/girls have to do the work to keep the boys from thinking bad thoughts which shouldn’t be there to start with.

    i was once asked why i didn’t dress like my ‘friends’ (i was at a biker rally with the bikini team but i was not part of the team). i told them because my eyes are up here not down there. i was wearing a tight sleeveless shirt and still had guys talking to my chest.

    the highest rape rates are in countries that have restricted clothing and socialization rules or even laws for women. a.k.a the highest rates of rape are on women who wear burkas (full body coverings). skin showing does not make a woman get raped, not teaching your son to respect himself and others causes rape. a wolf whistle is sexual assault. it is not a compliment it is objectification of women.

    • dawhoda

      yeah well that’s the difference between you being a female and not understanding that YES from a very early age males tend to be interested in girls and how they dress will leave a question of the girl portrays herself or body .Its reality not your own opinion when I was in kindergarten I had a crush on this blonde girl in my class and we walked across the small field to where we lived and on the way I held her hand and at one point even kissed her lips .I remember this vividly because it was my first embrace as a make to reflect on my feelings for women

    • Winnie Cooper

      “A wolf whistle is sexual assault” is a very dangerous statement. A wolf whistle does not hurt you and is meant as a compliment however unclassy it may be. No one has been put in jail yet for exhibiting low class. Smile and walk away and nobody gets hurt.

      This new generation was never taught the old adage: sticks and stones nay break my bones but names will never hurt me.” this includes whistling as well.

      Here’s another wrong statement: “women/girls have to do the work to keep the boys from thinking bad thoughts which shouldn’t be there to start with.” What I feel you are saying is that it’s wrong for boys to have sexual feelings. People lately are so far removed from nature that they have NO CLUE what is nature/natural. Have you ever seen the woods when the deer are in rut? No one is saying those buck are naughty… Yet that is exactly what is happening to teenage boys. We are demasculating our young men and they have no choice but to become sterile metrosexuals who walk and act like women. Sad.

  • dude thatsawesome

    im 10 but u to protective

  • mimi

    I did them to it is just rubbish on this website I did it when I was 9

  • Romell Owens

    fuck all of u

  • PoppyPopz 9

    This is the dumbest list I’ve ever seen in my life. You just said all kids mature at different rates and then you repeatedly say “not mature enough” and “not ready” and “not enough experience”. I hope you know most 10 year old that doesn’t have strictly overprotective parents have done all of that or almost all of that. I understand things like not wearing revealing clothing, but no texting? Really? No PG-13? Really? This is even more overprotective than common sense media!

  • no,YOU are not smart

    my 10 yr old does none of these things yet she’s the sneakiest child ive ever met she lies and is incredibly selfish. she has literally everything under the sun yet I cant even get her to be honest about brushing her teeth. I have 3 other children, none of which are anything like this. I don’t know what to do but I don’t want to deal with it anymore. any advice?