When your kids are 11 or 12, they will start turning towards their friends for all things wise and wonderful instead of you. This is natural as they begin the process of separating and individuating from you.
Before this happens, you want to have established yourself as the loving authority figure in your home. Just because they are almost teens does not mean that they no longer have to follow the family rules.
It is certainly easier to influence a teen’s behavior if you’ve established yourself as the loving authority figure when your child is much younger. For example, if you tell a 3-year-old you will be leaving a friend’s house in 5 minutes and then when the time is up he puts up a fit, you can simply pick him up and take him home. If you tell a 13-year-old he needs to be home from a friend’s house in 5 minutes and he doesn’t want to leave, carrying him out isn’t an option!
If you need help setting firm and loving limits with your kids, check out Priceless Parenting’s online parenting classes. These classes can help you and whoever else is helping parent your kids get on the same parenting page.