One of the quickest ways to affect change in your children, is to work on yourself. It’s easier to work on and change you, to fix yourself than it is to fix your child. This has always been my firm belief about parenting. The harder way is this route: “I’ll make you…” or “I’ll fix you by…”

While there is no doubt that there are children who need outside intervention and support, there are many instances in which, if parents did what they needed to do to heal themselves and resolve their own issues, change in children would be seen very quickly and with little angst and effort.

The thing about therapy is this: children respond brilliantly to the one-on-one attention they receive in these sessions, but they often go back home into the toxic soup that may be a part of the cause of their issues in the first place.

If this is the case, then complete healing is an uphill battle of one step forwards and two backwards. But, if parents sort out their contribution to the problem, their child can fast-track through the process and come out whole and healed on the other side, not having to do all the work themselves.

This is what I experienced with my own children, over and over again, and is often still the case now that they are grown up. If there was something presenting in my children, before intervening and disciplining, or ‘fixing’ them by sending them to an outside expert, I would look inwards and ask, “What is it in me that is reflecting in my child’s behaviour right now?”

It’s incredible how parental stress, or unresolved ‘stuff’ impacts on children. We need to become far more conscious of the parent-child bond, and what moves between us on every level. Children are perceptive and pick up on subtleties. Their antennae are always up; we get away with very little.

It really doesn’t matter how old your children are either. Whether they are babies, toddlers, or in primary or high school, the same principle applies. We, the parents, set the emotional temperature in our homes. We determine ‘the weather’. We have to take responsibility for this.

I promise you that parenting will be a lot less difficult and less complicated if you take this approach: taking responsibility for your part in anything that is going on, and fixing or resolving it. It also makes parenting less tiring and less demanding.

Grow and heal yourself and you will build amazingly honest, respectful and mature relationships with your children, because you lead by example. Our children come to us as mirrors and incredible teachers about life and who we are, if we allow them. Do you?


  • Interestingly, if you are having issues with colleagues at work, you can apply the same principle above. What are they reflecting about you in their behaviour that you can take charge of?
    • If there is something, at least you have spotted it and can deal with it.
    • If you can’t see any connection after a good, honest look, then that’s also okay. At least you were curious.


  • Your life partner and your children are mirrors for you. What are they reflecting that you may need to look at?
  • If you are triggered and repeatedly react emotionally when interacting with someone, this may be a message to look at your past. Is this person really triggering you or just hitting a nerve from your past? Healing past wounds always brings healing to our present, so it’s worth the work.
  • Remember to say ‘thank you’, even just silently, for the opportunity to heal. Gratitude can dissolve friction and tension, without much effort.

As a business and motivational speaker, I help leadership and teams to raise human potential – their own, that of those around them, and their children. Let me help you create better connections and greater peace of mind.

Much love,
Nikki Bush
Human Potential and Parenting Expert helping you to win at work and life

Enjoy the podcast of the Refiloe Mpakanya’s Weekend Breakfast Show on 702, where we discussed the topic of dealing with fatigue and depletion as a mother.