Parenting the Teens & Twenties
with Joy & Grace
Joy and grace don’t always characterize this often-bewildering time of life—as we navigate the turbulent teen years, walk with our kids through major milestones, struggle to find new ways of relating in all their budding stages of adulthood, and then adjust to empty bedrooms and quiet dinner tables, and branch out to rediscover ourselves, our priorities, and our interests.
But it is possible!
If you are a Christian parent with kids in the junior high, high school, college and young adult years, you are in the right place! This is an encouraging community of camaraderie and support where you can share both the joys and the struggles of your journey and find inspiration and help!
I’m Teresa Vining, and I am a Christian life and family coach, as well as a writer and speaker on topics relating to relationships, parenting, marriage and faith. I have published two books and numerous articles in publications such as Focus on the Family, Marriage Partnership and Today’s Christian Woman.
I am also the mom of four young adults in various stages of the launch process. Additionally, my husband and I were foster parents for over 20 years and adopted two of our children through the foster care system.
I work with parents, couples, teens and young adults.
I am located in Overland Park, Kansas, in the greater Kansas City area. However, I also work with clients throughout the United States and beyond through online coaching by video call. Local clients have the choice of meeting with me in person or by video, whichever works best for them.
Are you looking for a coach who shares your Christian beliefs and will support you in your faith?
Sometimes raising teenagers can feel like driving a runaway train! As the mom of four young adults and the previous foster mom of over fifty kids, I know what you are going through! Parenting teenagers today is hard, and even the best parents are struggling. So many things seem to be working against us! But even though it often feels like we are fighting against our children, we actually are fighting for them.
Whether you are trying to—
- help them learn the skills and wisdom to make good friends
- balance the use of electronics and social media
- help them manage anxiety, depression or a learning disability
- reign in disrespect or defiance
- address lying and dishonesty
- teach them responsibility in school and chores
- or protect them from alcohol, vaping, drug abuse and sexual dangers
—the goal is to help them grow into happy, healthy, well-adjusted adults.
Parenting is a process, and as long as we don’t give up, we haven’t failed. Each situation is unique, and there are no one-size-fits-all answers. But there is always room to grow in our skills and insight to make things better. And big improvement is possible!
Parenting Young Adults
Once a parent, always a parent. And when our kids become adults, we don’t love them less or care less intensely about their wellbeing. Letting go can feel like turning over a masterpiece in the making, which we have lovingly crafted for over eighteen years, to a new budding artist–who may not be ready for the job or fully realize its importance–to finish for us.
- So, how do we balance that with an adult child’s need to be independent?
- How do we help them without enabling or short-cycling the learning process?
- What accountability should there be if they are still financially dependent on us?
- How do we get off to the right start with spouses and significant others?
- What if they reject our faith or live with a different lifestyle?
- What if they don’t want us in their lives at all?
- What if they have addictions or are in trouble with the law?
- What if they aren’t actually leaving home or able to keep a job?
Whether your child’s launch is feeling more like the gentle ascent of a hot air balloon, the sudden explosion of a rocket, or the erratic flight of a kite on a windless day, it always involves an adjustment! I have heard many parents express that parenting adult children is the hardest parenting yet—and at the least, the transition can be. How we manage this transition can make all the difference.
It sometimes feels like we have no choices in our relationships with our adult children, but how we respond is always within our control. And whether it is in small issues or huge relationship challenges, our outlook changes the entire dynamic of the relationship. Working with a coach through this process can be powerful.
Growing in Your Marriage
It is so easy to put marriage on the back burner during the chaotic years of parenting teenagers and young adults. Marriage satisfaction is often at its lowest point during this stage of life, and many couples begin to drift apart emotionally.
This can set couples up for not having a strong relationship when they are faced with the empty-nest transition and can make couples in this stage of life prime targets for divorce. Sadly, I have seen this in too many couples that never thought it would happen to them. And still others settle for mediocre marriages in which they are lonely and emotional detached.
So, whether you have a marriage that is really struggling or a great marriage that you want to make even better, this is a wonderful time to start reinvesting in your relationship. When your kids finally launch, this is your opportunity to be newlyweds again! Don’t settle for mediocracy. Commit to making your marriage the best it can be in the second half!
There is hope! Patterns can be broken. Hurts can be healed. Passion can be rekindled. When we put the effort and intentionality into our marriage that we often reserve for the other areas of our life, the results can be amazing.
So, let’s start from wherever you are and build from there. Are you nurturing your relationship and remembering how to have fun together? Are you taking advantage of the strengths of your relationship and working on the weak areas? Are you overly critical of each other? Do you communicate well? Do you prioritize time with each other? Have you developed some unhealthy cycles of relating? Do you carry bitterness from the past?
I can help you take a step back to look at your marriage from a fresh perspective, explore where you are and where you want to be in your marriage, and identify next steps you can take. If you want something different, you need to do something different. And if you want something significantly different, you need to do something significantly different. I love helping couples take their marriages from mediocre to magnificent.
Finding Purpose and Identity in the Next Stage of Life
Raising our children has shaped our days for the last eighteen or more years. It has given us purpose and identity, connected us with friends and communities, and given us much of our entertainment and companionship. However, that changes with the launching years, and this can leave us feeling disoriented and confused about who we are now and what our purpose is.
Whether you have been scout mom, dance mom, soccer mom, band mom, homeschool mom, working mom, or a combination of these, it can be disconcerting to lose those identities and often the communities that come with them. Additionally, the emptiness of the hours that our kids used to fill and the loss of the entertainment and companionship our kids provided can leave us feeling lost.
That is why it is so important in this stage of life to revisit where our identity is coming from and start dreaming new dreams. We often can lose track of ourselves during all the hecticness of raising kids. Now is the time to reconnect with ourselves and reconsider what we want to do in this next stage of life, in which we may have more freedom than we ever have had before.
It is crucial in our next stage of life to work through letting go of the past and embrace the future. We then can start exploring our passions and values and awakening our imagination to new possibilities. We can decide what is important to us and explore different options, thinking creatively about the limitations we feel are holding us back.
Coaching for Teens and Young Adults
Is your teen or young adult struggling? It might be with–
- motivation or time management
- negativity and lack of resilience
- self-worth and identity
- unhealthy behaviors
- finances and responsibility
- faith and values
- relationship skills and communication
- failure to launch and life choices
- managing stress and anxiety
- finding purpose and meaning
- relating to you or others in the family
If so, I would love to help! I offer one-on-one coaching to help teens and young adults overcome challenges and move forward in healthy ways. Teens and young adults receive encouragement, mentorship, accountability, support, and a safe place to process their emotions and questions and discover new insight, skills, and perspectives.
When coaching teens and young adults, my relationship with them is based on trust and confidentiality, so that they can feel safe sharing freely with me. At the same time, I encourage family communication and involvement in the coaching process. And, when addressing family relationship issues, I strongly encourage coaching sessions with all parties to help build mutual understanding and healthy communication and facilitate relationship healing and collaboration.
Schedule a free consultation!
I offer a 20-minute, complimentary video-call consultation, and I would enjoy having the chance to talk with you to see if working with me would be a good fit.
“Teresa was absolutely terrific in coaching my teenage daughter and I through the communication skills to keep our relationship in tact and growing toward her eventual launch into adulthood! Teresa was a great listener and, at the same time, my daughter and I were both able to learn so much from her words of wisdom and put her ideas to practical use in our everday interactions with each other. I can finally see a light at the end after years of struggling with my teen! Thank you, Teresa! My daughter and I actually love spending time together now!”
“Teresa opened up a whole new world for my husband and me. She is a wonderful listener and helped me see things
from a different perspective and celebrate the small victories. I would highly recommend her.”
“Teresa is a God-send! This past year has been very difficult relating to my teenage daughter. Teresa has helped me see a different perspective, take responsibility for what is in my control and to release what is not in my control. She is very knowledgable and is a great resource. I hightly recommend her!”
“Teresa has been such a blessing to my young adult daughter! Just over a year ago, my daughter was struggling so much with anxiety and lack of confidence that she didn’t feel like she would be able to work any job that wasn’t work-from-home. Now, she has a wonderful in-office job and so many awesome friends. In addition, she is jumping into so many new activities that previously would have been completely out of her comfort zone. The availability of Teresa and the guidance she has given to my daughter has truly been life changing!”
“Using a step-by-step game plan, Teresa taught me effective strategies for navigating my relationship with my adult son still living at home and the parenting complications associated with old patterns of relating in my marriage. She didn’t dwell on the past and how things got so messed up but focused on the future and how to put together a plan to move forward and make progress. She has unique insight into using language, words, and tone of voice to bring change in the relationship. She is extremely knowledgable and selflessly shares her many resources gathered from her own experience and her training.”
“Honestly working with you was wonderful and exactly what we needed….You got us both from literally at divorcing to having hope and promise for the future. I especially enjoyed how you actually truely cared about us and our future….We would probably be separated and filed for divorce without your help.”