About us

Established in 2004, we've have grown to be a respected voice at the forefront of the parenting world.

Drawing on the latest thinking in psychology, neuroscience and psychotherapy our team are trained in parenting and facilitation skills and have vast experience in parenting training. We work with parents and carers, schools and nurseries, corporate and business clients.  In addition, we expand and enhance the skills of parenting professionals with our Train the Trainer courses.

Everyone at The Parent Practice is a parent and encounters the everyday challenges that all parents face. Our own family lives have been enriched and transformed with the parenting skills we teach, so our aim is to pass on our skills to help parents bring up children to be happy and the best they can be.

Melissa Hood

Melissa Hood, Director

The founding director, Melissa is head of training, programme design & development. 

Born in Australia, she was educated there and in Singapore, moving to London with her husband, John Hood. Melissa's degrees are in Law and History and she worked as a solicitor. She and John are the parents of a daughter and two sons. When her youngest was born she changed career to spend more time at home, working part time as a decorative painter.

Melissa completed the Teacher Training Programme (New Learning Centre) in 1998. She was a Parenting Facilitator there for 6 years, running parenting skills classes, workshops and parent and family consultations.  Melissa is an Effective Parenting Educator as trained by Bonnie Harris.  The Parent Practice was set up in 2004 and since then she has led hundreds of classes.  She has a Certificate in Systemic Family Therapy (Birkbeck) and is trained in NLP, Group dynamics, Non-verbal communication and Supporting Separated Families.  She is the first UK Gottman Certified Educator to lead Bringing Baby Home Workshops.

She took a parenting class when one of her sons, diagnosed with dyslexia, was in trouble at school with impulsive, aggressive and disruptive behaviour. Melissa and John wanted to address the behaviour, as well as help him academically. The advice transformed their family life as they learnt how to understand their children’s needs better, communicate more positively and improve their confidence. 

Melissa brings wisdom, a wealth of experience and sensitivity to her work with parents.

Melissa splits her time between London and Australia - having family in both countries but is in the UK frequently running the 'Training for Trainer', and many other programmes.

Melissa is the auhor of 'Real Parenting for Real Kids' published in 2016.

Elaine Halligan

Elaine Halligan, Director

As a parenting specialist and London Director of The Parent Practice with over ten years experience, Elaine helps parents raise competent and confident children, through parenting classes, private coaching & keynote speaking in schools. She also delivers seminars to working parents in the corporate world, helping them find the holy grail of parenting, keeping calm!

She faced the challenge of parenting her son, who had undiagnosed learning difficulties & at age seven, had been excluded from three schools. He experienced failure at a young age and was written off in society .However through the use of life changing positive parenting skills, her  son’s self worth improved & he finished his schooling as Head Boy. Her mission is to impart her knowledge to other parents, to ensure all children, whether  ‘different’ or ‘difficult’ ,survive and thrive in their educational years and beyond.

She trained initially with The New Learning Centre in North London, then as an Effective Parenting Educator with Bonnie Harris, has accessed Neuro Linguistic Programming & done couples therapy work with the Gottman Institute.

She regularly appears on SKY news, speaks on BBC radio & is quoted in the broadsheet press. In June 2016 Melissa and Elaine were featured in the Mail on Sunday ‘You’ magazine as two of the leading parenting experts in the UK. She is the author of a best selling book My Child’s Different , which was published September 2018.

In her leisure time, she’s found on the golf course, often in Scotland, trying to compete ( in a healthy way) with her single handicapper daughter and visiting hospitals and care homes with her therapy dog Bonnie.

John Hood

John Hood, Director

John has been with The Parent Practice from the beginning, helped with the creation of the business, ran the office and was the first point of contact for clients whilst managing our IT requirements. Now John directs finance and operations, is the editor of The Parent Practice's newsletter and manages the website.

John is married to Melissa Hood and they have a daughter and two sons. He splits his time between London and Sydney with Melissa.

John was born and brought up in London and Dorset. He took a degree in Civil Engineering at the University of NSW in Sydney, having moved to Australia to be with Melissa. They married in 1982, and lived in Sydney where he worked first as a civil engineer. They moved to London in 1986 and in 1991 John went back into education and took an MBA from City University, London. He then moved into finance with Chemical Bank, Chase Manhattan and JP Morgan until 2003.

John initially learned positive parenting techniques in the late 1990's when he attended The New Learning Centre. In 2009 John took the Parent Practice's facilitators training and since then has facilitated courses and workshops – particularly those for fathers. He is a warm and witty facilitator with great understanding of the male perspective on parenting.

Eleanor Potter

Eleanor Potter, Office Manager

El joined The Parent Practice in 2010 and as Joint Office Manager she is one of the friendly and reassuring voices who answer the telephone when you call for information.

Brought up in Surrey, El has a marketing degree and she worked in several London agencies for a number of years. With a yearning to see different cultures, she took a career break and went travelling around the world. When El returned to the UK in 2010 she decided to change career to a more fulfilling line of work which led her to The Parent Practice.

El lives in Earlsfield with her husband David and two daughters, Sadie and Freya. She is also a hands-on Aunt to her nephew and niece who live close by.


Jenny Eastwood

Jenny Eastwood, Facilitator

Jenny was introduced to The Parent Practice in 2010 when she took the Facilitators Course and then joined the team. Jenny runs classes at our Chelsea centre.

She holds a psychology degree from Bristol University and her thesis was in Child Development. Post university Jenny became a corporate finance banker and worked for Barclays and Credit Suisse, firstly in London and then in Hong Kong. She and her husband then spent five years living in Japan.

It was when she left work to bring up her four young children that her interest in psychology was reignited and she wanted to make sure that she had the right parenting tool kit to ensure that the children were brought up in a calm but fun household She and her husband wanted to provide an environment that enabled the children to grow into capable, independent people, with a strong sense of self-worth, a passion for life and an ability to relate well to other people.

Jenny follows the latest child development research closely, reads extensively and attends many parenting related courses. She has a particular interest in individual personality traits and how certain characteristics can be nurtured for lifelong success and happiness, particularly in an environment of high academic pressure.

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68 Thurleigh Road
London SW12 8UD

Email: team@theparentpractice.com

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