I Am That Parent | Rohini Ross
I Am That Parent

I Am That Parent

I started off my therapeutic career working with parents with adolescents who were struggling. I saw the impact of substance abuse, eating disorders, school refusal, violent outbursts, arrests, running away from home, suicide attempts, and self-harm on parents and families. I sat with parents who felt hopeless and scared, but who were also courageous enough to do things differently. Even in the intensity of fearing for their child’s life they chose to do their best to walk a path of love and connection rather than one of punishment, judgment and seeking control.


Now as the parent of teenage daughters I am that parent. And I see for myself how normal it feels to judge myself as a failure when my child is struggling. Being shut out and not knowing the whole truth looks like a failure on my end in an area where I don’t want failure to be an option.


I see that no matter how much I love my child, I do judge behavior and that is felt and taken personally. I recognize there is no such thing as judging the sin and loving the sinner. The opportunity to love it all has never felt so hard.


Someone said to me having a child is like having your heart walking around the world outside of your body. I don’t think there is any other experience in my life where I have felt this vulnerable. I am writing this because I am not alone, and I am sharing this so you know you are not alone.


I see now in my early work with parents I was sharing valuable truths. Pointing them in the direction of the healing power of love and relationship. Asking them to trust the wisdom in their child. Pointing them to their own wisdom and helping them not act from a place of fear. I stand by all of this today. The difference is I am humbled by the gut-wrenching challenge this can be. I have more compassion, understanding, and empathy for the humanness of losing your temper, breaking rapport, resorting to a power struggle, trying to control, being judgmental, threatening, punishing, bribing, manipulating because I am that parent.


I don’t mean to be that parent, but at times I am, and the damage seems so real. The behaviors are scary. It is hard to see resilience. The stakes feel too high. And what is required is always the thing that feels impossible to do.


And even with all of us having innate well-being and resilience not all of us survive our decisions. Death comes early for some. I have sat with those parents and held a loving space for their loss.


Recently I was part of a conversation about free will and how we have choice. On the human level, there are plenty of choices, and on the spiritual level, there is no choice. How to reconcile the two? It is my fault. It isn’t my fault. In the world of form, I could always be better. In the world of formless everything is unfolding as it should. How can both be true at the same time?


Sydney Banks would say we live in two worlds both occurring at the same time both real. This apparent enigma points me in the direction of oneness where seeming opposites co-exist. Where my human frailties exist, and I am perfect exactly as I am. Where terrible things happen yet everything is in divine order. My intellect can’t conceptualize this. I have to drop into the feeling of knowing this is true because my head just runs in circles.


This brings me back to the practical spirituality of the Principles. When I stay with my grounding, I do know that love is the solution. And even my imperfect way of loving is my best so it is good enough. I also know that each of my children are on their own journey of living life and waking up to all of who they are.


I have the blessing of sharing that journey with them and loving them however their journeys look. I get to learn how to love more fully and unconditionally. I get to wake up from my anxious thinking and feel more liberated to trust life, trust what is and know I have the resilience to navigate whatever life serves me whether I like it or not. I don’t get to control the menu, and I get to have the experience of choosing from the menu I’m served.


It is okay for me to be the imperfect mother I am and to love as imperfectly as I do. It is okay for this to be known and seen. My imperfections are only real from one perspective. Just like a rock is only solid from one way of seeing it. A scientist will tell me it is mostly empty space even though it feels real in my hand.


Everything is imperfect and perfect at the same time. Rocks are solid and empty  — both are true. I make mistakes as a parent, and I can’t damage my kids. Living in both worlds opens me up to possibilities. It opens me to the miraculous potential in each moment and helps me to settle into what is. — knowing I don’t see the whole picture. My human vantage point is limited. But, I can feel the truth of a larger context in which I am that parent, doing the best I can, with the level of understanding I have, and that is the expression of the oneness of all things. That has to be good enough.


Rohini Ross is excited to present The Soul-Centered Series in Santa Monica starting October 2018. She is passionate about helping people wake up to their true nature. She is a transformative coach and trainer, and author of Marriage (The Soul-Centered Series Book 1). She has an international coaching practice helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of well-being, resiliency, and success. You can follow Rohini on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, watch her Vlogs with her husband, Angus Ross, and subscribe to her weekly blog on her website, rohiniross.com


  • Monica Henderson

    18.06.2018 at 03:07 Reply

    Always inspired by your words! Waiting for your next book on parenting from the perspective of the three Ps!

    • Rohini

      05.07.2018 at 15:23 Reply

      Hi Monica, So wonderful to hear from you! Thanks for your comment!

  • Joan Hoedel

    18.06.2018 at 04:28 Reply

    Rohini, thank you for your honest sharing. The more we talk about this, publicly, the more lives will be saved. You have what it takes. Your light IS guiding her, helping her to remember who she is. Your love is far more powerful than your fear, and you are held. Your daughter is held too. Sending your Love!

  • Jane Storey

    18.06.2018 at 05:16 Reply

    This is so beautiful and so timely. I have a teenager who I see struggling with the challenges of life (as he sees it, and as I see it) and the angst I feel at all I know that will challenge him in the future. This exactly summarises my feelings of confusion about the practicality of the spirituality of the Principles. The knowing that ‘love is all we have’ but seeing that at times it (and all the wisdom in the world) just doesn’t seem enough, or answer the questions that arise in those challenging moments. Yet somehow, the imperfect love that we offer is actually all we have to offer so what else could the answer be? It is all we are meant to have, SO THAT they look to ‘wake up’. It’s kind of painful, but made easier by the acceptance of what is. Thank you.

  • Sue Lauwers

    18.06.2018 at 09:32 Reply

    OMG Rohini, this was so helpful, you reminded me that everything is perfect and imperfect at the same time. After feeling both incredible joy and anguish beyond your wildest imagination, I sit here reading your words crying because what you share is so familiar to me. Thank you so much for putting words to this.

  • Malka Arons

    18.06.2018 at 13:40 Reply

    Wow. That was so helpful to read! I’m sending it to all my friends with kids! Thank you.

    • Rohini

      28.06.2018 at 17:30 Reply

      Hope they enjoy it too! Thanks for sending!

  • Emma

    18.06.2018 at 14:12 Reply

    Love reading your words, Rohini. So spot on in terms of how we try & fail at being the perfect loving mother. Even saying sorry seems somehow wrong sometimes… as if we’ve become the child (I’m refering to me here really, of course, not that more comfortable ‘ ‘we’ ?). And the desire I had to keep all communication open, only to also find that I found it almost unbearable to hear about everything… perhaps it would have been better to have been that ‘innocent’ parent who things are hidden from, out of fear or respect or shame or love…

    • Rohini

      28.06.2018 at 17:26 Reply

      Dear Emma, Thank you for sharing your experience. It is quite a ride, and I think we just have to accept the perfection of what is even if we can’t see it. Sending you love!

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