Hello! My name is Suni and this is my story.
My father, having being raised in a ‘military-type’ household, understood deeply the importance of involving us children in family matters. He was a pioneer in his own right, practising integrative/holistic medicine in México decades before it became an important practice* – and buzzword – around the world.
I grew up knowing my voice was important.
On the other hand, almost paradoxically, I didn’t feel safe to express my feelings nor fully be myself at home. My
individuality wasn’t acknowledged, nor validated; sometimes it was even feared by my mother. Looking back, I can see that my childhood was tinted with sadness, anger and anxiety, but also empowerment.
Two important life events are burned into my memory. I know their lasting impression has motivated and inspired me in many ways, including in this, my life’s work.
The first happened when I was eight. My dad took me to see one of his patients. It was a casual weekend home visit. The patient’s mum took us to her daughter’s bedroom and there she was, lying on a waterbed. She looked fifteen and so peaceful. She couldn’t move at
all, nor talk.
My dad did some exercises and acupuncture with her. After some time, the girl was able to move her finger. This brought a smile to her mum’s face, not to mention a few tears.
But what I was focused on – what I couldn’t shake off – was the way my dad ‘treated’ her:
With the utmost respect.
That wasn’t the first time I had been with him during a consultation. I had seen him treating senior patients, teenagers, middle-aged men and women, children and babies. Every single one was treated with respect:
That authentic acknowledgement of people’s rights, feelings and opinions. True acceptance. Total acceptance.
And their faces showed what a difference it made in their lives.
The next event was visiting an orphanage when I was about ten years old.
After that visit, I was extremely drawn to what it meant to be an orphan, what it meant not to have a mother and a father. The kids I played with there seemed happy to me. I had a mother and a father, but I didn’t feel like I was accepted fully in the family for who I was, and who I wanted to be.
Loss, parental absence (physical and emotional), survival and happiness were concepts that fascinated me from a very young age.
After graduating from high school with honours, I decided to put my degree on hold and give the University of Life a go. It was the best decision ever.
From eighteen to twenty-two, I lived in the USA, where I held various leadership roles in an international not-for-profit organisation. I lived in India for a few months before I decided to move to Australia to continue my studies, where, having access to an in-house library at my job in Sydney, I devoured volumes on family and relationships, household and family structure, parenting, and child development. The seed was further planted. I was twenty-three years old.
My interest in children’s empowerment, human potential and family dynamics grew exponentially two years before I made the commitment to become a mum. Since then, for more than a decade, I’ve been studying the connection and patterns in parent-child relationships.
I wrote four books outlining my theories and findings from my independent qualitative research, and I have gone back to University to study Psychological Sciences with two main purposes:
1. To evolve the multifaceted discipline of Psychology in the sub-fields of study in human development, lifespan, health, and behaviour from the 'inside', and
2. To conduct and write my own scientific papers on the subject.
I founded Human HQ® – the umbrella that houses different initiatives for the empowerment of human beings and to effect a paradigm shift in the understanding of parenthood and family life, for the 21st century.
A Moment with Suni
If you had a year to live, how will you spend that time?
I would spend it travelling the world with my family. Specifically, I like to live in Italy and Spain for a few months, in Bali and parts of South America.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
The old parenting paradigms that have existed for years, but that are not beneficial, such as emphasis on defending one’s authority at all costs, and the control of children. And that the only way we can relate to children is through behaviour modification
What are five defining moments of your life?
The first one was moving from Mexico to the USA when I was 18. I thought I was going for one year to work for a non for profit organisation. That year became four years, and in those four years I travelled and lived in India for a few months, where I met my now husband (who’s originally from New Zealand)
The second one was living in India. It made me look at life from a different perspective. Each country I had lived in, allowed me to have a unique ‘pair of glasses’ form which to observe humanity from a different culture, with different values, and priorities. It opened my mind.
Third...it was moving to Australia without a ‘return' date to the USA, which at that point I was considering my home. I only knew 4 people there and had no idea what I was going to be doing. But I followed my heart and that was a big a big moment, specially because the first year in Australia was actually really challenging. At some point I had 5 different jobs from babysitting to being a PA at a Coaching Institute and a locations managers for a dance
studio! I also landing a production job in the coveted Film Industry, which ended in working in the VFX department for the Superman Returns movie.. At some point I also studied Fashion Design. It felt like I was doing my ‘growing up’.
Fourth. Becoming a mum! And that just blew my mind because it took me 10 years - on and off - to decide whether to become a mum. So it was a very conscious decision. But I also it took me by surprise...how much I actually loved being a mum. That fuelled my love and my passion for children’s, parents’ empowerment.
And finally, owning that this is my life’s work, my ‘calling’ if you’d like: to support families.
If you had 20 minutes to live, how would you spend the time?
I think I would eat my favourite food, which is Mexican food. I would... oh my gosh, I'm feeling teary thinking about this.... I would tell my children, yet one more time, how much I love them. I would tell my husband how grateful I am he is in my life. And the rest of the time... I’d sit and meditate and hopefully have a mystical experience!
When have you felt truly, utterly yourself?
When I am writing, and I’m in the zone, just totally aligned and open, and inspired. When I dance. And when I travelled by myself to the Middle East, to spend time in Jordan for my 40th birthday. It was really special.
What do you want to be known for?
I want to be known for being committed to evolving the Psychology Field in terms of child development and parenting, and also for being part of creating the paradigm of a more self aware way of being a family.
What do you spend your time, money, and energy on?
My research. In finding ways to make families’ lives more enjoyable, more fulfilling, more fun, more interesting, more rewarding. And my own family. And reading!
What have you outgrown?
My aversion to being in front of the camera
Who inspires you?
Many people inspire me! I recently met John Stewart, the founder of the Living School. A true progressive school. I have admired Ronni Kahn, the founder of Ozharvest, for years.
Melati and Isabel Wijsen, two sisters from the Indonesian island of Bali, who campaign to ban plastic bags and reduce the impact of plastic waste globally. Her Royal Highness Princess Mary, who has carved herself an amazing role within a very particular life circumstances, that really resonates with her and her values. My two boys, the inspire and teach me every day. And parents, the parents who strive to become better human beings regardless of how many times they have ‘fall off the horse’
When have you rebelled?
I didn't feel safe to rebel at home when I was young, so I kind of did it at school from an intellectual level. I was a top student and I really enjoyed learning - and that will continue until I die, no doubt. So I would rebel by challenging the teachers when I felt/thought there were too stuck in the one way of thinking. For example when I disagreed with my Philosophy teacher when she made the statement that animals don't have feelings. She just wouldn’t budge. Interestingly, many years later, they are finding that animals do feel, and have consciousness and have feel empathy for instance.
I am rebelling now too by shaking up the status quo when it comes to parenting and family life. I see this as a very healthy rebellion and a way to continue evolving, by encouraging people to question the generational ingrained beliefs and thoughts. I do that with myself. I do that with my children and with my husband.
What do you still need to learn?
Life itself is all about learning so I trust I still have a lot to learn. On a specific personal level, I am fascinated by lucid dreaming. I’d like to learn how to lucid-dream on command.
What do you want to say ‘no’ to?
Ah! Living without new experiences, and to getting stuck in the same way of being.
Write your biography in six words.
Committed to humane evolution. Practical visionary.
In a nutshell:
I'm a fierce champion of parents and children.
I firmly believe that family is the one crucial structure in society that will ensure there is a humane evolution of our human race.
My commitment to children’s empowerment took me to spend the last decade extensively and intensely researching family dynamics, early childhood and parent-child relationships and have found a recipe for enjoying our role as parents from day 1, without having to sacrifice anyone’s needs, aspirations, goals, dreams and plans.
My superpower lies in not only bridging worlds but integrating them. And simplifying and redefinin complex concepts for the benefit of all involved.
I'm a practical visionary.
I'm the mum of 2 multi-ethnic gorgeous boys, I live in Sydney, Australia with my cinematographer husband, Brandon Batten.
I'm here for you.
*Our house was full of Eastern and Western medicine and philosophy books. I thought all doctors took into account the physical and emotional wellbeing of each patient, creating a personalised ‘course of action’. Whenever any of us got sick - though I have never, ever seen my dad sick in my whole life, not even a cold- he would not only look at the symptoms but at the 'sufferer' as a whole person. I woke up to a harsh reality when I left México.
Finally, The Mythical Parenting Manual Now Exists.
The first book of the series - Welcome to Parenthood - considers important practical questions.
What is family?
What is our job description as parents?
How do I build a healthy parent-child relationship with my baby, from day 1?
This book addresses the steps you need to take to start designing your family life in a self-aware, conscious way, starting off on the right foot.