Parenting Ahead: Preparing Now for the Teen Years

Kristen Hatton
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Parenting Ahead helps parents with younger children build a foundation for their family based on biblical principles for the teen years to come. Readers will learn to practice redemptive parenting where their children grow to see the world through a gospel lens based on biblical truth.

As parents of young children anticipate the teen years, counselor Kristen Hatton helps them lay the groundwork so that having honest conversations, setting reasonable limits, and exploring issues of the heart will prepare them and their children for the next stage. Hatton helps moms and dads make the connection between their current parenting and future outcomes. By evaluating their parenting, they will see where their own fears, desires, and insecurities lie and how to pivot to practices of faith and trust in God.

Proactive, long-haul parenting will help parents and children be better prepared for engaging in the realities of peer pressure, decision-making, and recognizing the connection between behavior and the heart.

  • Evaluate your parenting style to identify whether you are under- or over-parenting.
  • Discover practical strategies for redemptive parenting and living out the gospel of grace in your home.
  • Encouragement to take wise, faithful steps while depending on God's grace for parenting mistakes and failures.


Kristen Hatton is a counselor and author passionate about helping families. She lives with her pastor-husband, Pete, in Dallas, Texas. Together they have three young adult children and a son-in-law. Kristen is the author of Get Your Story Straight, Face Time, The Gospel-Centered Life in Exodus for Students, and Parenting Ahead.

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"As we navigate a complicated time in our world, parents need wise guides and trusted voices offering help and hope for the journey. Kristen brings the experience of a seasoned parent and the wisdom of a trusted counselor to this book. It is a needed resource."
David Thomas, Therapist; bestselling author ofRaising Emotionally Strong Boys andAre My Kids on Track?

"While Kristen reminds us there is no perfect parenting formula, in Parenting Ahead she offers helpful perspective on what does and doesn't matter on this journey. As a mom of three teens and one preteen, I appreciated her encouragement to keep a long-range mindset and to continue my efforts to intentionally connect and communicate God's gospel love in our day-to-day family moments."
Heather MacFadyen, Host of the Don't Mom Alone podcast; author of Right Where You Belong

"Parenting teens doesn't start on your child's thirteenth birthday. It starts on the day they are born. In a world where culture is catechizing children and parents 24/7 into deformed notions of what it means to be human and what it means to parent effectively, Kristen Hatton offers up a hope-filled and biblically faithful corrective that helps parents understand the high calling and high privilege of nurturing our kids in the Christian faith. Thank you, Kristen, for helping us see what it means to parent with grace under God's Word in today's changing and confusing world!"
Walt Mueller, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding

"Most parenting books teach parents what to do only in the present moment. While these tips are necessary, good parenting means focusing on the big picture with our kids. In Parenting Ahead, Kristen Hatton helps parents be proactive with their younger children so they are better prepared for the changes and challenges of the years to come. Whether your child is two or twelve, every parent will gain important insight."
Meg Meeker, MD, Bestselling author of Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: Ten Secrets Every Father Should Know

"There has long been a pressing need for a grace-filled guide to the sanity-testing experience known as parenting teens. I thank God that Kristen Hatton answered the call with this brilliant, refreshing book. Jammed with helpful stories and hard-won experience, Parenting Ahead serves as a reminder that God's mercy extends not only to adolescents but to those who've been tasked with raising them. Highly recommended."
David Zahl, Author of Low Anthropology; director of Mockingbird Ministries

"Parenting Ahead is a gift to parents faced with raising kids in the current crazy culture. This book does much more than provide parenting techniquesÑit will help you understand the heart motivations behind what you and your children do. Hatton accomplishes this by providing a scriptural doorway through which to encourage, strengthen, and challenge parents. Parenting Ahead is not just a book to read and stick on a shelfÑthis is one of those books you read and then purpose to do!"
Marty Machowski, Family Pastor; author of The Ology, God Made Boys and Girls, Parenting First Aid,and other gospel-centered resources for church and home

"With the wisdom and compassion of someone who has been there, and the candor of someone who trusts Christ's grace for her mistakes, Kristen speaks gospel good news to ears ringing from toddler tantrums, inviting them to trade the tactics they use to make it to bedtime for grace and intentionality, cultivating connection instead of choosing convenience, and laying the foundation we need to parent our toddlers as well as our teens."
Abbey Wedgeworth, Mom of three (loud) little boys; author of Held and the Training Young Hearts children's book series

"Kristen Hatton writes like the counselor and teacher that she is. In Parenting Ahead, she gives moms and dads a rich theological foundation for redemptive parenting and offers practical biblical wisdom, all in a tone of warmth and compassion for parents who want to raise children who love Jesus. She does not offer useless formulas; rather, her own trust in Jesus encourages her reader to persevere in hope, knowing that his love for our children is greater than sin, the world, or our own weaknesses as moms and dads."
Anna Meade Harris, Senior Director of Content at Rooted Ministry

"In this winsome and gospel-centered invitation to be forward-thinking about the teen years, Kristen Hatton shows us Jesus and his compassionate pursuitÑjust the very remedy for our sin-ridden hearts that my husband and I hope to offer our own two girls."
Holly Mackle, Humor columnist for Lifeway's HomeLife Magazine; author of Bright Star: The Story of Esther

"Biblical parenting in today's culture requires a new level of awareness, thoughtfulness, and education. Backed by Scripture and counseling experience, Parenting Ahead offers parents practical ideas and principles that have the power to transform families from the inside out. The discussion on over and under parenting alone is worth the cost of the book. If you want to be a solid, healthy parent to your preteens and teens, this book is a must-read."
Krista Gilbert, Life coach; author of Reclaiming Home; cohost of The Open Door Sisterhood podcast

"I found myself nodding in agreement as I read Kristen Hatton's wise words. Her redemptive parenting approach is filled with wisdom, encouragement, humility, compassion, grace, and truthÑall qualities children crave from their parents. This practical parenting book is grounded in God's Word. Parenting Ahead is the guide parents of teens and preteens need. I highly recommend it."
Lori Wildenberg, Licensed parent and family educator; parent coach; author of several parenting books, including The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections

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4 Reviews

  • 5
    Proactive, gospel focussed, and intentional for parents of (almost) teens

    Posted by Wendy on 07 30 2023

    A really helpful resource for parents whose children are in the teen years, or will be in the future. Hatton writes a grace filled message that encourages and challenges parents to consider what their goals of parenting are, and how they are shaped by the gospel. Part 1 encourages perseverance and hope as the foundation. Part 2 focuses on some pitfalls that hinder, including parenting styles, idols, the influence of the world, and the avoidance of pain. Part 3 considers what living redemptively might look like - confessing sin, being open about our idols and our struggles, and offering mercy and forgiveness to each other - for parents and children alike. She proposes ways to continue to move towards our children, challenges families to consider where their time, effort and money goes, and encourages slowing down, saying no, and setting boundaries. Hatten is honest about her own failings, mistakes and regrets, but also shares wise choices and decisions that they made. Overall, she strikes a really helpful balance - acknowledging God is in control, we are sinful and will make mistakes, that no parent is perfect, and that there is no foolproof parenting formula. Yet, at the same time, there are things we can do as parents to be proactive, gospel focussed, and intentional. Worth a read for anyone in or entering the stage of parenting teenagers.

  • 5
    Helpful Book

    Posted by Anne Dryburgh on 07 12 2023

    After having raised three teenage children, Kristen Hatton wrote Parenting Ahead: Preparing Now for the Teen Years to share some of what the Lord taught her with parents who are still to reach this stage. Often parents of younger children are looking for advice and help because they are fearful of the teen years. The book is split into three parts: Part 1: a foundation for long range, redemptive, hope-filled parenting Part 2: some pitfalls that deter parents from living out the gospel or cause them to lose sight of it And Part 3: what living redemptively in the home might look like. Parenting Ahead is a very helpful book that touches on the basics of these areas. It would be useful to read this book with parents and then explore how to apply what it suggest to their own situations

  • 5
    Parenting Ahead: Preparing for the Teen Years with Faith and Trust in God - Book Review

    Posted by Elizabeth Brooks on 06 14 2023

    Parenting Ahead: Preparing Now for the Teen Years by Kristen Hatton is an excellent resource for parents looking to build a foundation for their family based on biblical principles for the teenage years to come. Hatton helps parents lay the groundwork so that having honest conversations, setting reasonable limits, and exploring issues of the heart will prepare them and their children for the next stage. The book is divided into three parts that build the case for long-range redemptive, hope-filled parenting, focus on pitfalls that deter us from living out the gospel, and encourage readers with what living redemptively in their home might look like in real-time. Hatton shares practical examples, helpful scripts, and role plays to teach parents how to proactively parent during one season to prepare for the next. Overall, Parenting Ahead offers a gospel-centered guidance on long-haul parenting, and I highly recommend it to parents who want to prepare for the teenage years with faith and trust in God. I have received this product from New Growth Press in exchange for my honest and unbiased product review; all opinions are my own.*

  • 5
    Parenting Ahead review

    Posted by Diana on 05 01 2023

    Excellent book on parenting! It's unusual to find a book so balanced in terms of focusing on the gospel/shepherding a child's heart, with very practical examples. Well worth the quick read!

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