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, 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 mom with kids in the high school, college and young adult years, you are in the right place! This is an encouraging community of camaraderie and friendship where you can share both the joys and the struggles of your journey and find inspiration and support!
Receive encouragement and insight on topics such as preparing your teens for successful launching, adjusting your parenting for older teens and adult children, working through the roller coaster of emotions, reinventing your relationship with your spouse, and brainstorming and setting goals to live the empty-nest years to the fullest.
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 am based in the Kansas City area, but I coach clients throughout the United States and beyond through video conferencing.
Drop Into the Free
Virtual Joy & Grace Café
Drop in for a quick pick-me-up and get to know other moms as we discuss specific topics regarding parenting teens, parenting adult children, improving your marriage, and finding purpose and identity. To receive an email invitation with upcoming topics and dates, fill out the form below.
Sometimes raising teenagers can feel like driving a runaway stagecoach! 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 nurture their faith, teach them responsibility in school and chores, give them the skills and wisdom to make good friends, balance the use of electronics and social media, help them manage a learning disability or mental illness, reign in disrespect or defiance, address lying and dishonesty, or protect them from alcohol, vaping, drug abuse and sexual dangers—the goal is to help them grow into happy, healthy, well-adjusted adults.
And there is always hope! 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!
But time is of the essence. As they say, the days are long, but the years are short in parenting. The decisions your child is making now and the way you are parenting matters. It is so important to know your parenting priorities and goals, to proactively increase understanding and connection with your child, and to learn new techniques to make positive changes. I would love to help you do that. To find out more, click here!
Parenting Adult Children
When I wrote my oldest son a letter on his eighteenth birthday, all the implications of him being an adult suddenly hit me. Intense feelings of grief and loss overwhelmed me. How did we get here so soon? How did I go from shopping, cooking, teaching, hosting his friends, and being intricately involved in his life to suddenly being side-lined? It felt like everything I had been looking forward to as a mom was behind me, and I was left trying to navigate the uncharted waters of figuring out what it meant to be the mom of an adult child.
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 it with different convictions? What if they don’t want us in their life 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. If you would like more information about working with me, click here.
Reinventing Your Marriage
It is so easy to put marriage on the back burner during the chaotic years of parenting teenagers. 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 difficult empty-nest transition and this, together with being relieved of the pressure of needing to stay together to raise their children, 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 in 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—even if you are not in a place in your relationship right now where the idea of being newlyweds again even appeals to you!
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, start from wherever you are and build from there.
Are you allowing your marriage to go from being kid-centered to being work- or activity-centered? 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?
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, even if they are small. 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. To find out more about working with me, click here.
Finding Purpose and Identity for 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 to 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. Then, we can choose the things we want to pursue and come up with the steps to get there. If you are interested in working with me to help you do that, click here.
“We are just one choice away from a completely different life.” – Rob Hill, Sr.