"If you’re always tired, always under-rested, you’re not going to be capable of doing everything you need to get done.  You’re going to make mistakes more readily, lose your temper, or miss opportunities. " — Karen Jensen

I often run into parents of kids ages 9 and up who are asking that age old question, “What happened to my sweet little 8-year-old?”

And I don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but the truth is: they’re gone forever (sorry!).

Hey, if they weren’t growing and changing, something would be wrong.

Rejoice in their changes and their progress! Enjoy these years while you can – they will end soon enough.


Now, I happened to raise my sons through their teenage years as a single parent, since my husband died when they were 12 and 13. But I’m telling you, with God all things are possible! We had great teenage years, and both my sons are serving God to this day.

One important thing for you to know: your teenager is trying to grow up…not trying to drive you crazy! The problem is, they don’t know how to grow up, so they’re practicing! Some days they make great decisions and choices, and some days they don’t. Our goal during the teenage years is to help them learn to make their own right decisions and choices.

Let’s look at a couple things about the seasons of parenting. Our role as a parent changes as our children get older.

  • When they’re a baby, you’re the caretaker – you do everything.
  • When their 3-8, you’re the teacher – these are crucial years of learning obedience. YOU TALK TO THEM IN COMMANDS. This is the stage where “because I said so” works – and it should.
  • But once they turn about 9 or 10, they are changing into a different stage of life, and as a parent, you need to make the change with them! Now your role changes to being a guide.

In this pre-teen and teenage stage, “because I said so” doesn’t work anymore. Now they have to have reasons, because they are trying to learn to reason for themselves. If you continue to talk to them in commands, you’re going to have rebellion on your hands.

Keep in mind that everything is changing in their lives, their world, their friends, their bodies….it’s a time of CHANGE, and it can be scary. YOU have been there before – that’s why you’re the GUIDE.

At this stage, your teenager needs ENCOURAGEMENT more than ever. They are in uncharted territory. Don’t expect them to act like adults yet – their brains aren’t even fully developed! But be their biggest cheerleader. Respect them (surprisingly, they want your respect more than anything at this stage). Let them know they’re always loved, even if everything else is changing, and even if they blow it.

Remember too, they still need a parent! Don't be afraid to keep the boundaries as they are learning and growing -- just be willing to explain the boundaries, and always remind your teen that the boundary is in place because you LOVE THEM. And relax some of the boundaries -- give them a little room to prove they can be responsible. Help them earn your trust.

DISCUSS your reasons and policies with them, and as much as possible, get their input. For example, if they miss curfew, instead of just bringing the hammer down on them, say, "Ok, you were late - what should we do?" You may be surprised by their answers - they may be harder on themselves than you would. Instead of being the police, help guide them to their own right choices.

During the teenage years, it's crucial that you LISTEN TO THEM. Be a safe place to talk. Never show shock when they tell you something. It's okay to say, "I don't know -- let's find out more about that together."

The teenage years are not “us against them”….be on their side! You’re their guide to a life of serving God.

To find out more about the seasons and roles of parenting, check out Parenting With a Purpose (DVDs or CDs) in the bookstore at karenjensen.org.

What Parent's Are Saying

“My four year old son was out of control, to the point where I had to take him out of pre-school and stay home with him. But after just a few days of applying these parenting principles, he has changed dramatically!  Now he listens and obeys, and our home is peaceful – it’s almost miraculous! I am putting him back in school and able to continue with my own schooling.  Thank you so much!”  — F.L.

“My wife and I began putting these principles into practice right away and began to see excellent results. Our children respond very well to our godly way of discipline.  So much better for us. Thank you!”    — M.L.

“I attended one of Karen's seminars and it was far above everything I expected. It has equipped me with information that I needed to properly launch my children into their destinies.” — R.T.

“I have a 2 year old daughter and I didn’t believe in spanking until I watched Parenting With a Purpose and was made to understand the biblical purpose of spanking. Now I get it!  Now my daughter will benefit every day of her life – she’ll be able to fulfill God’s purpose for her life.  My home is now peaceful and calm with a loving and obedient daughter who will grow up obeying God’s Word quickly.”   — T.O.

“I learned SO much from Parenting With a Purpose about God’s view of parenting. I especially learned about correction and why & how to do it.  I can’t imagine waiting until my child is older before taking this course.” — K.H.

“After applying these principles of correction then praying with my son afterwards, he gave me a big hug and looked straight into my eyes and said, ‘I love you, Mom!’ I just melted.  He is 3 and has never expressed this kind of emotion before. I have taken many parenting classes and finally one that works! I now have the skills to help my child obey me so he will obey God." — M.J.

"Our 6-year-old grandson got his first report card at school this Friday.  The teacher had only positive things to say about him.  She said he is affectionate and helpful, both to her and his fellow sutdents.  He is obedient, attentive and a good worker. His big ‘turn around’ from being a rather disobedient and whiny troublemaker began when you came to our city and taught us how to raise children God’s way. My husband and I bought your Parenting With a Purpose CDs and gave them to our daughter.  Since then our grandson has never been the same.  I am so happy.  Thank you so much for coming!"  — L.K.