2 weeks ago I had to go to France for business – (with my other hat on as a lawyer). Since I took a step back from City partnership, I travel far less than I used to – but as an aviation lawyer, travel is a natural part of working life – after all, you go to where your clients are.

The girls were upset.   Nowadays I largely work from home, so I tend to be here when they get in at least 3 days a week, and am rarely home after 8.30pm. So the thought of me being away for the night was disruptive and disturbing for them, particularly Tiggy.

Naturally, I took a while to explain why I was going, what I would be doing whilst I was there (not playing in a swimming pool without them), and when I would be back.

“It’s ok Mama, “ she said, “I understand. It’s like when Kaia and I were arguing all the time and you left and went to Spain.”


Let me be clear – I have never,ever done that – and I never would (even if at times I really feel like it…).

A couple of years ago, I did go to Madrid for work – only 2 or 3 times and never more than 2 nights.

But Tiggy was insistent. However much I explained that I had only ever travelled for work, she wouldn’t budge. She was convinced I left because they were arguing. It was only when I got Chris involved that she began to accept that she might be mistaken.

To be honest, it really shocked me. I am really taken aback by the idea that for the last few years Tiggy has lived with the belief that if things get too much, I might just walk out the door. (Although it doesn’t seem to stop her from arguing with her sister..).

It has been a stark reminder of how innocent situations or remarks can be completely distorted in a child’s smaller world view.

I recently worked with a young man who was suffering from night terrors. Now in his early 20s, he’d suffered since his teenage years. His parents were first told that he would probably grow out of it but this was not to be.   His father contacted me out of desperation.   Not only was his sleep disturbed, but he would fly into a rage in his sleep. A few nights before I was contacted, in the midst of one of these episodes he had twisted his iPad with his hands. He was scared to go to sleep for fear of how he might behave, and was surviving on only a couple of hours per night.

In our session, he described always feeling as if there was a man in his room who was coming to hurt him.   Whilst in trance we got to the root of the problem when he remembered a time in his childhood when his mother had told him off for running off saying that “she was scared some man would come and take him away”. That one statement had clearly sunk deep into his psyche and then manifested itself later in such a remarkable and traumatic way.

Obviously there are few parents who would make that type of comment nowadays, (although heaven knows, I still say things I regret) but it is a good example of the unintended impact that our words (and actions) have on our children and indeed, how our beliefs can have such a significant impact on the quality of our lives.     And let’s be honest, we have no possible way of understanding how they might perceive the most innocent and everyday conversations or behaviours.

We can’t police everything – not only do we not have the time but we simply cannot have the awareness to allow us to step in when necessary. Tiggy’s latest mic-drop has simply made me more determined to create as many helpful Papalona recordings as I can – to help parents set the record straight.