The Very First Issue of the Parental Intelligence Newsletter

-------------------PARENTAL INTELLIGENCE------------------

4 August 2002
Issue 1

Bob Collier, Editor

This newsletter is never sent unsolicited. You are
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Welcome to the inaugural issue of Parental Intelligence!

Parental Intelligence is about what goes on in that space
between our ears when we think about our children and our
relationship with our children.

It's about applying the most effective parenting ideas
and methods to our work with our children so that we can
be happy and successful in what we're doing and our
children can be happy and successful, too!

My name's Bob Collier. I'm from London, England, but I
now live in Canberra, Australia, with my wonderful wife,
Mary, and our two fantastic children, Bronnie, who's 17,
and Patrick, who's six. For all but three years since I
became a parent in 1985, my primary occupation has been
"at-home parent". I've had more than seven years
experience of full-time at-home parenting.

I hope my Parental Intelligence newsletter will help you
enjoy being a parent and increase your desire to excel -
and that it will, through you, contribute to the
happiness and success of your children.

In This Week's Newsletter:

1. Tips From My Toolbox
2. Website Of The Week
3. Guest Article
4. Problems & Solutions

Tips From My Toolbox

Way back in 1980, five years before I became a parent, I
had the good fortune to read a book on human potential
called Profound Simplicity by Will Schutz PhD, who was at
that time Director of the Center for Holistic Studies at
Antioch University in San Francisco.

A fundamental component of Dr. Schutz's philosophy is the
principle that all human relationships have three "basic
dimensions", which he calls Inclusion, Control and

Essentially, inclusion is measured in terms of our
involvement and interaction; control is measured in terms
of our desire to exercise authority; affection is
measured in terms of our personal feelings, our emotions.

From this, Dr. Schutz suggests that the most successful
parent-child relationship has a profile of high inclusion,
low control and high affection.

When my daughter was born, I used that simple formula as
part of my parenting philosophy. I've used it ever since with
great success.

Try it. It's simple, it's easy to remember and you'll get
some very pleasing results. I guarantee it.

"The most successful people in life are those who have the
best information." - Benjamin Disraeli

Website Of The Week

The Aware Parenting Institute

Aware Parenting is a philosophy of child-rearing that has
the potential to change the world. Based on cutting-edge
research and insights in child development, it questions
most traditional assumptions about children. Parents who
follow this approach raise children who are secure,
bright, compassionate, non-violent and drug-free. Aware
Parenting consists of a recognition of children's
attachment needs, non-punitive discipline, and acceptance
of emotional release. The Aware Parenting Institute is an
international organisation with certified instructors in
ten different countries who are helping to spread this
philosophy around the world.

Aware Parenting is based on the work of Aletha Solter
PhD., a Swiss-American developmental psychologist,
international speaker, consultant and author of three
books, The Aware Baby, Helping Young Children Flourish and
Tears and Tantrums. She holds a Master's degree in human
biology from the University of Geneva, Switzerland - where
she studied with Dr. Jean Piaget - and a PhD. in psychology
at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She has
led workshops for parents and professionals in nine
countries. Her books have been translated into several
languages. Dr. Solter is recognised internationally as an
expert on attachment, trauma, and non-punitive discipline,
and she has appeared on TV in the United States, Europe
and Asia. She lives in Goleta, California (near Santa
Barbara) and is the mother of two grown children.

Find out more about Dr. Solter and her work by visiting
The Aware Parenting Institute website:

Guest Article

I love children with energy. I believe it's perfectly
natural for children to want to rampage around and disrupt
their parents' relatively well-organised world (although
the children don't see it quite that way, of course!). I'd
much rather have the job of accommodating the tempestuous
behaviour of a real livewire than the job of motivating a
child who's been conditioned to sit still and be quiet.

Here's an article on the subject that caught my eye.

Copyright Hearts at Home 2001, used with permission. For
more information about Hearts at Home: 1-309-888-MOMS or

Children are anarchists
by David Burke

Children are anarchists.

They are the unstackers of the folded; the diggers up of
the freshly planted; the wakers of the sleeping.

They are the spillers of what they shouldn't have; the
breakers of what they've been told not to touch; the
wielders of permanent markers around all-white surfaces.

They are a testament to the Second Law of Thermodynamics:
Everything proceeds from order to ever-increasing disorder,
until ultimately the universe becomes unhinged.

I have watched my youngest put her brother's sneaker in
the microwave and press "on" with no more hesitation than
a homemaker preparing an 8-minute Chicken Kiev.

I've witnessed my middle son stencil his initials in the
carpet with crayon, in front of God and grandparents, then
express genuine surprise that anybody's upset.

I've seen my oldest son balance precariously on a footstool
at the top of the stairs, naked from the waist down,
reaching for a balloon, and realized that he interrupted a
trip to the bathroom to do it. I've watched all three,
unprompted and unsupervised, wash my car. Did I mention
my windows were down at the time?

Children are the scatterers of the 700-piece Lego set; the
misplacers of the puzzle corner pieces; the announcers that
they have to go to the bathroom in an otherwise quiet
church service.

They are a living variation on Murphy's Law: "If anything
can go wrong, well - you probably should have known better
than to leave the kids in the same room with the cat and
the hair gel."

Life among the anarchists means learning never to be
surprised, a lesson we got when our oldest son stacked
every toy, Tupperware dish, article of clothing, piece of
furniture and sleeping pet in the middle of the living
room and insisted we call him "the garbage man."

Yet, even knowing all this, we continue to a) procreate,
and b) unleash our kids on an other-wise well-ordered
world. Consider the events of Dec 20, 1996, for example,
during the annual Good Shepherd Pre-School Christmas
Pageant when one of my children arrived at the manger
scene late, minus his costume, and "bonking" two of his
buddies with a shepherd's crook, effectively turning
the Nativity Scene into a Three Stooges Revival. (Let
us go unto Bethlehem and see what the Lord has made
known to us - nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.)

And, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we
continue to put them in the most structured of all events
- the wedding ceremony - and insist we can control the

Imagine my surprise a few years ago when my then three-
year-old son was tapped to be ring bearer in a family
wedding. Consider my alarm when, despite several months
of protests, both of us ended up at the front of the
church as part of the wedding party.

There we stood in our matching tuxedos, me sweating with
eyes darting about nervously, he gnawing on the wooden
altar rail behind me. When he turned his attention to the
church piano's legs, I decided it was time to drop all
pretense of protocol, and scooped him up.

In a mental file I've labeled "Life's Stupidest Moments,"
I'll forever remember my son flailing like a rabid beaver
in my outstretched arms, screaming "NO" at the top of his
lungs, and then, with the callous efficiency of a Mafia
hit man, "whacking" me on top of the head with his
ring-bearer's pillow, the symbol of love and unity.

As I put my son down and finger-combed the red velvet lint
out of my hair, a wave of laughter began to swell from the
back of the room. By the time it crested over the first
pew, I was still distracted, wondering if anyone caught the
moment on videotape how much it would be worth on
"America's Funniest Home Videos." When it spilled over onto
the wedding party, though, I saw the moment in my head the
way they must have, and soon I too was laughing.

Phyllis Diller once said that, "Cleaning your house (and,
presumably, maintaining any other semblance of a normal
life) while children are growing is like shoveling your
driveway while it's still snowing." The anarchy of
parenthood is inevitable, and trying too hard to resist it
will probably only net you a slow descent into madness.

And you could miss some good stuff in the process. I've
been around enough reminiscing grandparents to know that
it's the chaotic moments with our children that we'll
probably remember most fondly later (maybe that's why
they're always giving my kids candy when I'm not looking).

So like that day in my ill-fitting tuxedo, the impression
of crushed velvet minted into my hair and forehead, I hope
I'll spend a little less time trying to contain what's
going on around me and a little more time laughing at the

And I'll keep the camcorder rolling - I could use the money.

Copyright (c) Hearts at Home

"Don't ask for an easier life; ask to be a stronger person."
- Kristen Goeser

Problems & Solutions

I'm confident I know quite a bit about parenting (although
you'd better check with Bronnie and Patrick on that one!),
but I recognise this - as parents, we're all unique
individuals, our children are unique and our personal
circumstances are unique. There's often no "one size fits
all" solution to any specific problem.

That's why I'm a great believer in learning from as many
people as possible.

Michael Grose is one of Australia's foremost parenting

Here are his words of wisdom about dealing with a very
fundamental childhood issue - your child's confidence in
the world.

Building high self-esteem in your child
by Michael Grose

Children's self-esteem influences their social behaviour
and learning. Children with low self esteem are less
likely to step out of their comfort zones to extend
themselves and try new experiences. They tend to take
fewer risks than those with healthy level of self-esteem.

Misbehaving children are generally discouraged children. 
Lacking confidence to belong through positive ways they
find their place within their family and peer group
through misbehaviour.

Quite simply if children have a healthy level of esteem
and feel good about themselves they are more likely to
make friends and succeed at pre-school and at school.

But what is self-esteem and how do children acquire it? 
Self-esteem refers to the image or picture of ourselves
that each of us carries around in our heads. This image
or picture is constructed through our experiences and is
strongly influenced by the messages that others send.
The way we interact with children on a daily basis
influences the positive picture that they construct of
themselves. Let them know through our language and our
behaviour that they are capable and worthwhile and they
will begin to believe it. The messages we send to
children influences the way they see themselves as well
as our relationship with them. 

For parents the essential question is: What type of self
image are you helping your children to construct? 

While children have countless experiences in settings
outside their home and receive messages from many sources
including their peers parents have a huge influence on the
way children see themselves. In fact, when children are
very young their sense of self is linked to their parents
so a parents self-esteem is obviously an important
determinant in a child's self-esteem. 

Children with a healthy level of self-esteem generally: 

* feel worthwhile (and lovable)

* believe that they are capable

* extend themselves as learners 

Following are some ideas that adults can use to promote
self-esteem in children:  

1. Build on children's strengths. Point out to children
their areas of expertise. This is often difficult with
young children but as they progress through primary school
they have more options for success available. 

2. Give kids realistic responsibility. Develop self-help
skills from an early age. 

3. Develop the courage to be imperfect. Let them know that
mistakes are part of learning. Ask any golfer. 

4. Encourage sensible risk-taking. Help them to develop
the attitude that anything is possible. 

5. Establish an achievement board or corner in your house
or room.

6. Develop a strong language of encouragement that focuses
on effort, improvement, their contribution and displays
your confidence in their ability to succeed. 

7. Stick positive affirmations around the house. Use them

8. Tell children how you handled difficult situations in
your life. This is extremely reaffirming for kids. 

9. Ask children's opinions on important family matters. It
shows you value their input. 

10. Mirror back a positive self-image or picture. 

11. Self-esteem comes from achieving success in high risk
areas so help them achieve in an area such as public
speaking or drama. 

12. Look for small victories or achievements and celebrate

13. Provide them with opportunities to take risks and make

14. Remind kids that we only grow and improve when we take

15. Help children set goals and stick to them. 

16. Write letters or notes of appreciation. Leave notes
under the pillow, in lunch-boxes or on the computer in

17. Help kids accept responsibility for their own actions
and their own fate.  

18. Give objective feedback but begin with a strength or

19. Compare them only to themselves.  

20. Teach them how to reframe problems or see a situation
from a positive point of view

Copyright (c) Michael Grose

For more great ideas to help you raise happy, confident
kids and resilient young people visit
or subscribe to Happy Kids by sending a blank email to: 

I hope you've enjoyed the first issue of Parental

Issue 2 will be published on 11 August 2002.

If you like this newsletter, please take a moment to
forward it (in its entirety) to anyone else you think
might be interested.

Thank you for your support!

Do you have any comments or suggestions? Would you
like to contribute an article?

This newsletter is never sent unsolicited. You are
receiving it because you requested a subscription.

If you're not a subscriber and you'd like to subscribe,
please either visit

If you want to unsubscribe for any reason, please see the
unsubscribe instructions at the end of this newsletter.

Copyright (c) 2002, Bob Collier except where indicated

Published by:
Bob Collier


Have a happy and successful day!

Modified version © 2012, Bob Collier

Some information is out of date or no longer relevant. Website addresses still active in August 2012 are hotlinked.

Parental Intelligence