Have you ever noticed that there are a ton of parenting books for infants and very few for teenagers? I've always found that a little odd, even more so as I became a parent of a teen because the truth is that it is so much more difficult to navigate the teen relationship than it is the infant one. I'm so thankful that Connie Albers took the time and energy to create this book, Parenting Beyond the Rules.
She does a great job of encouraging and directing parents of teens with this book. Since she's navigated that territory before, it's almost like sitting down with a friend that has been there done that. She encourages and challenges. The overarching theme of this work is to listen and to remember that in just a few short years, these young people that share a roof with us will be on their own and making decisions for themselves. If we just make all the decisions for them through the use and implementation of rules, how does that benefit them in the long run? I should say that Albers does not call for the end of all rules, we encounter those in every aspect of life, from uniforms for work to speed limits. She is saying that if we want to win our children's hearts for Jesus then we need to be very aware of how we interact with them. Becoming a warden that is out to make sure they're punished for every misdeed does not foster a loving relationship.
Albers does an excellent job of walking through how to become a trusted confidant. She covers many areas in the life of a teen and how to counsel and direct your children without having to make very strict rules that address behavior without ever addressing their heart. And I think that is what is at the core of this book, we spend so many years when our children are younger directing their behavior and the teen years are when we have to trust that they've learned how to behave and to keep a close eye on their heart. There are so many different people and agendas that are vying for a piece of our teens, it's important that we give them a safe place to express themselves and discover who they truly are. We can go from people that take care of their needs to ones that are a safe harbor in the midst of life's storms. And becoming a harbor can create a relationship that will not only persist but thrive into adulthood for our children.
Throughout the book, I would bring up some ideas expressed to my daughter, to get her opinion. At one point she asked if I was reading this book because I thought I was a bad parent. My response was no, it's so that I can be the best parent for her. And that's what this book does, it's not meant to fix a broken parent though I may very well be able to. It's not meant to fix a broken relationship with your kids, though it could do that as well. I believe that this book is to make sure that you stay the course in regards to raising your children. It's meant to remind you in the times in which it's easy to get caught up in behavioral issues, preference exploration, and so many physical, mental, spiritual changes that you can do it! You can continue to be their parent and work towards letting them live a life that they are proud of and that you're proud of as well. You can do it! You can raise your child and let them go. You can trust in the work that's already been done in those years leading up to the teens and know that when they discover their freedom, they will use it for good.
I received a copy of this book from NavPres through Netgalley for the purpose of review. I'm never required to give a good review but always thankful when I can.