How many people does it take to raise a child?

There is a lovely African proverb that says: ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’

African culture recognises that parenting is a shared responsibility – a communal affair – not just the concern of parents or grandparents, but of the extended ‘family’.


About the Book

Kids Life Coach, Zelna Zeal, sheds light on the painful issue of what it means to have a fundamental choice taken away – the choice of being a biological parent.

In this eye opening snapshot of her views on life, parenting and childhood, she whispers out loud the secrets which once held her back from finding and living her purpose fully. This gripping and poignant book reveals the previously hidden story behind her lonely and challenging healing journey through being childless, depressed and labelled as mentally ill.

As she travels this road, she shares the interwoven stories of other peoples’ children whom she had the privilege of coaching. All of them have two things in common; they rebranded their childhood by learning how to make better choices relating to the parts of their lives they were able to control. These children were the inspiration behind Zelna finding the strength to do the same.

Full of uncomfortable truths, “The Secret Parent” shows you that your real worth is derived from who you choose to be, even when life has different ideas for you.

Chapter 1 The mother of many

Chapter 2 Kids in the attic

Chapter 3 Taking a bath in cold jelly

Chapter 4 Condom boy

Chapter 5 When you’re hungry, eat cake

Chapter 6 Pain behind the veil

Chapter 7 The circus ring-master

Chapter 8 The diplomat who misplaced his son

Chapter 9 No building tall enough

Chapter 10 Stripped to the bone

Chapter 11 Empty vessel full of sand

Chapter 12 Puppet on a string

Chapter 13 The ghost in the fireplace

Chapter 14 Secrets whispered out loud

A Word

From the Author

Serious mental illnesses can manifest during childhood, but yet children are taught little to nothing about mental health. How can we expect our young people to grow up strong, resilient and able to break the cycles of trauma, abuse, violence, substance use, and internet overload without early intervention and guidance? The World Mental Health association predicts that by 2020 mental health problems in children will increase by 50%.

My book, THE SECRET PARENT not only shares the lessons derived from the children I have coached but it presents the uncomfortable truth of how society judges and labels those with mental health problems yet is doing little to educate, enable, empower and equip. The amount of pressure placed on children to be perfect can be overwhelming, and this coupled with so many negative external influences results in highly anxious children. I believe parents need all the support they can get when it comes to giving their children a true reflection of life and the importance of taking care of their mental health. Children are faced with many challenges outside of their control which are causing side effects such as self harm, suicide, bullying, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse.

THE SECRET PARENT presents a sweeping action plan for achieving the best from children and for harnessing their full potential so that they can grow up strong and resilient and able to break the cycles of potential mental health problems. This all starts with laying a foundation for making healthy lifestyle choices at a young age. It all starts with every adult taking steps to be a “Secret Parent” in a child’s life. No matter the context, every teacher, sports coach, counsellor, social worker or kids life coach is a role model and in order for children to live a genuinely happy life, they need tour guides who are doing the same and showing them how it should be done.

– Zelna Lauwrens


Zelna Lauwrens is the founder and CEO of The Kids Life Studio® and The Kids Life Coach Academy. With almost 100 life coaches for children around the world representing her methodologies, programmes and materials, she has become a world-renowned expert at being an inspired contributor to children globally. Not only is she considered a world-class Kids Life Coach for the children of celebrities, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and high profile personalities, she has also coached children who have been involved in human trafficking, living on the streets and in orphanages.


If you are a member of the media you can download the SECRET PARENT media kit and press release here.

For podcasts, radio, speaking engagements or television interviews please contact Zelna and her team on