Review: Parenting Beyond the Rules by Connie Albers

Since taking a new call, my responsibilities have expanded to include youth and family ministry. As such, I’ve become much more intentional about ministering to parents than I ever have been before. I’ve also become much more aware of resources for parents.

What I’ve learned is that there are lots of books written about parenting littles. There are far fewer written about parenting teens. For that reason, I was excited to read Connie Albers' Parenting Beyond the Rules: Raising teens with confidence and joy.

Parenting Beyond The Rules

As the mom of a three-year old, I really appreciated Connie's perspective on raising teens – especially that we need to celebrate (rather than dread) the teen years. According to Connie, “As parents, we have the privilege to help them become the person they were made to be so God can use them for the purpose he created them for.” She wisely suggests that the “key to their hearts comes by way of relationship, not rules.”

Connie spends the rest of Parenting Beyond the Rules exploring strategies for developing your relationship with your teens. She begins by helping people identify whether they are naturally authoritative, permissive, helicopter, hovering, or lawnmower parents. As Connie says, "each style has its strengths and weaknesses. But regardless of which you are, recognizing how you naturally parent will enable you to see where and how you depend on rules rather than relationships to parent your teen."

From there, Connie then walks readers through how to form relationships with their teens by understanding their world, listening, monitoring your mouth, tackling tough topics, squashing your fears, and staying engaged.

As a youth worker trained in areas of adolescent development, much of what Connie said was review for me. However, I have no doubt her strategies and lessons will be a lifeline for many parents – especially those who have been dreading the teenage years ever since their child was in the womb.

My only real criticism of Parenting Beyond the Rules is that I wish Connie would have included more stories and less bullet points. Despite that, Parenting Beyond the Rules helped me become even more excited for when my own daughter, Hope, reaches her teenage years. It’s also a book I will have no trouble recommending to the parents I minister to.


Thanks to the Blog about Blogger Network for providing me with a copy of Parenting Beyond the Rules to review. All opinions are my own.

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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Jen's Books

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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