Today, I asked a friend to share an excerpt from her new book with you here on my blog. I’m so glad she said “yes.”

One of my great joys is getting to know other speakers and authors. Connie Albers is among those. We have a lot in common. In fact, check out this statement from this excerpt. If you’ve read my new book, Start with the Heart, you might think I wrote this: Rules are important, but you want to be able to dig deeper than that, to see who your child is and prioritize the relationship so that the rules don’t rule you.

Especially if you have teens or are about to, I recommend you purchase Parenting Beyond the Rules. I predict the subtitle will motivate you to check it out: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy.

Your Teen is a Masterpiece in the Making

Often, we parents are so busy managing life that the small, everyday things in our relationships with our children get overlooked. We find ourselves jumping from one crisis to another. We might have even been told that the small things don’t really matter. Because our lives are so full, we accept this statement without really questioning its validity. But as you parent your teen, I urge you not to reject what you can learn from the small things. I know how easy it is to overlook the eye roll, the disrespectful comment, the little white lie, or the forgetting-to-turn-off-devices-at-bedtime rule—or to simply address the action and not the motive underneath. As tempting as it is to ignore the little things, I urge you to look more closely at why your teen does what he or she does.

Your child is a masterpiece in the making. And God gave you the opportunity to add little touches here and there as you navigate this critical season of parenting. There will be times you have to use large brush strokes with bold colors to lay foundational truths. Sometimes you will need to step back and let the paint dry so you can see what else needs to be added. Other times, you’ll want to use smaller brushes of insights and redirection to add accent colors, drawing attention to a specific area of the painting. Every parenting word, action, reaction, and angry outburst adds to the painting.

Parenting beyond the rules means knowing the brushes you have to work with and the colors you want to include but investing the time and valuing your relationship with your child so you can improvise in the midst of intentionality. Rules are important, but you want to be able to dig deeper than that, to see who your child is and prioritize the relationship so that the rules don’t rule you. When you parent this way, intentionality and improvisation will work together as you paint a beautiful canvas, one that will be enjoyed for a lifetime. You are creating your family’s legacy.

Most parents don’t feel fully equipped for such a task. But you are! God has prepared you for this journey. Granted, some days will be more challenging than others. I can guarantee it. However, I promise you this: You are able to overcome whatever setbacks you encounter along the way. You can pull out the colors of forgiveness, grace, humility, and love and ask the one who formed and fashioned your child to help you paint over the areas that need a little something.

Are you ready to pick up your brush?


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Connie Albers spent 25 years parenting her five children and 20 years working with teens. She is a popular speaker and writer dedicated to strengthening families, parenting, homeschooling teens, faith-filled living, and leadership. Her practical content inspires and equips parents in the trenches. Connie has been a spokesperson for a Fortune 500 company as well as serving as a director and board member for a nonprofit state homeschool organization. Follow Connie at  

Here’s my endorsement of Connie’s excellent book: Parenting beyond the Rules will inspire, encourage, and strengthen you. Connie beautifully illustrates her truths with relevant illustrations and stories. They make the book easy to read and help you understand why teens behave the way they do—and how to best respond. Her ideas will help you stay connected to your teens as you prepare to launch them into the next phase of their lives. That’s a definite strength of this book. For example, her practical ideas about being aware and available so your teens will engage with you are excellent. Read this now!