Fiona Ng, who runs Happy Me Parenting, specialises in ‘conscious parenting’, and has a long-list of high-profile clients who have sought help from Ms Ng over a variety of problems including temper tantrums, bad behaviour, issues with bonding, refusal to listen and anger issues.
From her home in Willington Quay, North Tyneside, Ms Ng deals with clients from across the world including Dubai, Australia, America and the UK. Courses usually last three months, but one-off sessions are a option too.
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“Conscious parenting has really taken off in America, but it’s certainly up-and-coming in the UK.
“Firstly, it isn’t a parenting method or a style, it’s about searching and recognising any negative parenting patterns we have picked up from our own childhood and upbringing, and learning how we can change them to improve our own parenting.
“It’s about connecting with your child and understanding why a child is behaving in a certain way, because there is always a reason.”
Ms Ng said there is still a misconception around how ‘conscious parenting’, or ‘gentle parenting’, works however – with people often assuming it means parents who believe in it are “pushovers”.
“Just conscious parenting doesn’t mean that your child will rule the roost,” said Ms Ng. “Instead we focus on handling children’s emotions without punishment, settling boundaries and and teaching emotional regulation.”
Whilst Ms Ng specialises in working with children aged 0-12, and she has a list of questions for her clients to answer before sessions begin, in order to understand their background better.
“I ask each person who comes to see me if they feel feel their emotional needs were taken care of as a child, and the majority say “no”.
“I help my clients to recognise what problematic aspects they might be repeating from their own upbringing within their parenting. Many people aren’t even aware that they are copying their own parent’s behaviour, so part what I do involves holding up a mirror to them and showing them where they need to change.
There are also people who seek out Ms Ng either while trying for a baby, or when they are pregnant, who are actively aware that they do not want to repeat that pattern of parenting with their own child.
“We’re born out of a generation who often practised punishment and discipline as a means of tackling a child’s feelings, or how they are expressing how they feel. That clearly doesn’t work. It just creates adults who struggle to manage their feelings, and then the cycle continues when those adults have children.”
A trained life-coach, Ms Ng said one of the reasons that she felt drawn to becoming a parenting coach was because she “didn’t want to raise her children how she’d been raised”.
“My dad was abandoned my his parents at three. He grew up in care homes, developed mental health problems and had numerous suicide attempts. His own childhood meant that he did the best he could with no real understanding of how to be a parent.
“He now acknowledges he made a lot of mistakes, and found his own path by turning to God. A lot of my personal healing involved understanding why he was the way he was.”
In August, Ms Ng’s expertise were called upon by The Only Way is Essex star Ferne McCann, who was struggling to handle her three-year-old Sunday’s frequent temper tantrums and outbursts.
Ms Ng starred in a episode of Ferne McCann: First Time Mum on ITV, where she travelled to Essex to work with Ferne on ways to be more present with Sunday and Ferne needed to help her daughter feel “seen and heard”, by validating her daughter’s feelings.
“It was a really great experience working with Ferne and Sunday,” said Ms Ng. “Sunday has a very unusual life in comparison to most three-year-olds, because she is in the limelight, so we talked about structuring some regular rest time for Sunday.
“I am still in contact with Ferne, and we have some things in the pipeline for the future.”
For Ms Ng, getting a chance to be on TV meant being able to “hopefully undo some of Supernanny’s work and her awful approach to parenting”, which she said reinforces the idea that children should be punished for expressing how they feel – by banishing them to a naughty step, bedroom or time-out zone.
“Thanks to the techniques promoted by the likes of Supernanny, we have years of relearning to do. If I can go on TV and influence other people struggling to learn about conscious parenting, why it works, and point them in that right direction, then I’ve accomplished my life goal.”
For more information or to book a service with Happy Me Parenting, visit here.
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