The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

May 2008

Hi, this is Bob Collier inviting you to 'explore the psychology of happy and successful parenting', connect with bright minds, discover new ideas and sail outside the mainstream for a while without running aground.

All that and more.

In this month's issue of the Parental Intelligence Newsletter there are links to 17 articles and 23 notices and items of news. As always, I trust you will find in my latest collection of parenting, education and personal development ideas and information from around the internet something that will make a positive difference to your life - and, through you, to the lives of your children.

Please scroll down to pick and choose whatever is of interest and useful to you.

Thank you for being here! I appreciate this opportunity to be of help to you in your parenting adventure and wish you all the happiness and success you would wish yourself.

See you next month!



Self-Motivated Learning in the Digital Age

"Exploring the potential and practicalities of immersive education at the speed of thought. And all the other stuff that goes with it"

My new blog. The thoughts, ideas, obervations and experiences of a 'child of the 1950s' with a home educated Digital Native son.

Read and subscribe here


Motherhood Today: Tougher Challenges, Less Success
from Pew Research Center

From managing busy schedules to dealing with outside influences, mothers have their hands full these days. There is broad agreement among the public that it is harder to be a parent today - especially a mother - than it was in the 1970s or 1980s. Fully 70% of the public says it is more difficult to be a mother today than it was 20 or 30 years ago, while somewhat fewer (60%) say the same about being a father.

A national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Feb.16-March 14 [2007] among 2,020 Americans, finds a widespread belief that today's parents are not measuring up to the standard that parents set a generation ago.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Jonathan Fields

I Am Woman
by Millionaire Mommy Next Door

I was eight years old when my girlfriends and I strutted proudly around our living room singing into our hairbrush  faux-microphones:

"Oh yes I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman"

In 1972, Helen Reddy co-wrote the song I Am Woman, which became a worldwide #1 hit, feminist anthem and cultural icon of the  times....

OK, I am woman. 35 years later, what does this song mean to me today? What impact has being a woman had on my life? What kind  of woman do I strive to be?

Read more ...

The Opt Out Myth
by E. J. Graff

On October 26, 2003, The New York Times Magazine jump-started a century-long debate about women who work. On the cover it featured "The Opt Out Revolution," Lisa Belkin's semipersonal essay, with this banner: "Why don't more women get to the top? They choose not to." Inside, by telling stories about herself and eight other Princeton grads who no longer work full-time, Belkin concluded that women were just too smart to believe that ladder-climbing counted as real success.

But Belkin's "revolution"-the idea that well-educated women are fleeing their careers and choosing instead to stay home with their babies-has been touted many times before. As Joan C. Williams notes in her meticulously researched report, "?'Opt Out' or Pushed Out? How the Press Covers Work/Family Conflict," released in October 2006 by the University of California Hastings Center for WorkLife Law, where she is the director, The New York Times alone has highlighted this "trend" repeatedly over the last fifty years ...

Read more ...

Modeling Life for your Children
by Lori Radun

Fast forward 20 years; your children might be 20, 25 or maybe even 35. It doesn't really matter how old they are. What  matters is whether or not they will be living the life you wish for them.  Now I understand that, as mothers, we don't have complete control over the choices our children will make in their adult years. However, we have more influence than you might imagine.

Read more ...

Kids being rushed past childhood
by Carl Honoré

Ridgewood is the sort of place that comes to mind when people talk about the American dream. Nestled in the woodlands of northern New Jersey, this quiet, verdant town of 25,000 souls breathes affluence and well-being. The locals work hard at high-powered jobs in Manhattan, but they enjoy the fruits of their labour. Large, handsome houses sit on spacious lots dotted with swing sets and trampolines. Luxury sedans and shiny SUVs glide along wide streets lined with oak, dogwood and maple trees.

Move in a little closer, though, and this happy portrait starts to fray round the edges. At the school gates, around the tables in the local diner, and in the supermarket parking lot, you hear the people of Ridgewood voicing the same complaint: we may live inside a 21st-century Garden of Eden, but we are too damn busy to enjoy it.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Tammy Cox

Excerpts from Hothouse Kids and In Defense of Childhood
by Alissa Quart and Chris Mercogliano

The notion that the first three years are key ones for emotional and intellectual development isn't new. Americans have long sought to command and control natural processes so as to accelerate them. This is part of our faith in man's ability to harness nature and use time shrewdly.

Read more ...

Unnatural Consequences
by Sarah Fitz-Claridge

Most modern parenting books advocate using so-called 'natural consequences' to punish children, and devote much space to describing the relevant techniques. They don't call it punishment - indeed the technique itself requires one to deny that it is punishment - but it is something unpleasant that the parent is to decide should happen to the child when the child's behaviour deviates from the parent's wishes. So anyone who uses language decently would call it punishment.

Why else would they need to write a hundred pages on the subject, giving instructions for how to "employ" natural consequences? If they were indeed natural, there would be no need to explain in great detail how to "step back and allow the child to experience the natural consequences of his own actions".

Read more ...

9 Things to do Instead of Spanking
by Kathryn Kvols

Research confirms what many parents instinctively feel when they don't like to spank their child, but they don't know what else to do. The latest research from Dr. Murray Strauss at the Family Research Laboratory affirms that spanking teaches children to use acts of aggression and violence to solve their problems. It only teaches and perpetuates more violence, the very thing our society is so concerned about. This research further shows that children who have been spanked are more prone to low self-esteem, depression and accept lower paying jobs as adults. So, what do you do instead?

Read more ...

So Sexy, So Soon: The Sexualization of Childhood in Commercial Culture
by Lin Burress

An entire generation of young girls is being psychologically damaged by the onslaught of marketing tactics surrounding  inappropriate "sexy" children's fashions, toys, music, books and sexualized images in the media, and parents should be very concerned.

Read more ...

Why Are Public Schools Pimping Out Our Kids?
by Tony Zizza

On April 7th, WorldnetDaily posted an article that has got me hopping mad.  I'm having a hard time seeing straight, and I'm not due for an eye exam.
In writing "You'll never guess what's being given to kids at prom!", it is my hope Bob Unruh will get you up in arms as well.   Liberals can deny it all they want, but yes, we are engaged in a culture war.  Every day, new weapons are being launched nationwide by liberals in the public school system to wrestle even more power away from parents, and further sexualize kids.
It seems the Bisbee District school board in Arizona voted 4-1 to give free condoms to kids in their prom bags. The governing board approved this outrage for all "event celebrants."  You better believe that it's just not seniors that will be given free birth control by public school employees.  Check this out.  The gift bags given to all students attending the Brisbee High School Prom include the following: "picture frames, candles, mints and two condoms."  Why don't they just hand out keys to the local Days Inn?  And a free video camera? I'm sure that will come next year.

Read more ...

Study: Teens See Disconnect Between Personal and School Writing
by Dave Nagel

Students see a distinction between the writing they do for school and the writing they do in their personal lives. While the vast majority of 12- to 17-year-olds (85 percent) engage in some form of electronic writing--IM, e-mail, blog posts, text messages, etc.--most (60 percent) don't consider this actual writing. That's one of the findings from a study released last week by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the National Commission on Writing for America's Families, Schools and  Colleges.

Read more ...

Are Schools Inhibiting 21st Century Learning?
by Dave Nagel

The idea of technology in education is to enhance learning, not limit it. Yet a large portion of students say teachers and school IT departments are doing just that: throwing up barriers to learning with the very technology that's supposed to facilitate it. And teachers, administrators, and parents seem to be largely unaware of this, according to the results of the 2007 Speak Up survey released Tuesday by Project Tomorrow.

Read more ...

What If Public Schools Were Abolished?
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

In American culture, public schools are praised in public and criticized in private, which is roughly the opposite of how we tend to treat large-scale enterprises like Wal-Mart. In public, everyone says that Wal-Mart is awful, filled with shoddy foreign products and exploiting workers. But in private, we buy the well-priced, quality goods, and long lines of people hope to be hired.

Why is this? It has something to do with the fact that public schools are part of our civic religion, the primary evidence that people cite to show that local government serves us. And there is a psychological element. Most of us turn our kids over to them, so surely they must have our best interest at heart!

Read more ...

Do Homeschoolers Have it Right?
by Bettina Colonna Essert

Too often I am confronted with people who act as if my choice to homeschool somehow belittles their choice to send their children to school outside the home. I must confess that it is comforting to me to be able to tell them that I'm not married to the idea of homeschooling and that I don't press my children into homeschooling--at a certain age, the choice is up to them and they haven't all chosen it. My eldest child graduated from prep school, the next one from homeschool, the next one in line--my step-daughter--is not in the least interested in being homeschooled, the two youngest will both probably be homeschool graduates. I'm all for freedom of choice and finding the educational model that fits each child best.

Read more ...

Digital Natives 3 -- What a Five Year Old Knows
by Laureen Hudson

Previously, I've posted about Digital Natives ... mostly in terms of  how unschooling is pretty much the most ideal way to approach the sticky problem of trying to be an authority to someone who can look up your sources faster than you can.

It did not occur to me, until I was sitting in a room with about 40 other corporate web content delivery professionals (a set of Kiss-of-Death adjectives if ever there were), at a recent gathering for sharing of information about using multimedia on websites, how thoroughly our assumptions are informed by the schooling we got.

Read more ...

Mobiles may be death sentence
by Danielle Cronin, Canberra Times Health Reporter

Widespread, unchecked use of mobile telephones could potentially pose a greater threat to human health than asbestos or smoking, according to a Canberra neurosurgeon.

Vini Khurana held a 14-month investigation into the link between heavy, long-term use of mobile telephones and the development of malignant brain tumours, reviewing more than 100 international studies on the subject.

Read more ...

What Are the Biggest Challenges Young Adults Face Today?
by Diane Demee-Benoit

New America Media, a nationwide network of over 700 ethnic-media organizations, received funding in 2006 from several foundations, as well as from the University of California's Office of the President, to conduct a survey of young people in California to better understand what young adults ages 16-22 feel are the primary issues impacting their lives.

The study -- one of the first ever to be entirely conducted by young adults' favorite communication tool, the cell phone --  had professional interviewers speak with 601 young Californians. Of those people, 31 percent attended public high school, 21 percent were enrolled a four-year college or university, 19 percent went to a two-year college, 19 percent weren't going to any school in California, 4 percent were students at private high schools, and 1 percent of students were in a General  Equivalency Diploma program.

The results of the study paint an interesting picture of the upcoming generation.

Read more ...


How I Parent

A short and hopefully useful instantly downloadable e-book about how I parent my own children.

Read more about that here

Guiding Stars of the New Parenting Movement

Be sure to download your FREE copy of my Guiding Stars of the New Parenting Movement e-books while you're here if you haven't done so already.

There are two volumes so far. These e-books are FREE with my compliments and are packed with valuable insights and useful ideas to help you in your parenting adventure.

Volume 1 - an introduction to the work of Michael Mendizza, Robin Grille, Laura Ramirez, Jan Hunt, Pam Leo, Pat and Larry Downing, Alfie Kohn, Marc Prensky, Kali Wendorf and Jan Fortune-Wood:

Download it from here

Volume 2 - an introduction to the work of Aletha Solter, Kim Wildner, Naomi Aldort, John Travis and Meryn Callander, John Breeding, Scott Noelle, Beverley Paine and Alan Wilson

Download it from here

Kindred Magazine

In the latest issue of Kindred magazine:

When someone you love dies
Death through the eyes of a child
The natural birth/death connection
Still Born
Growing a Community
Creating a School/Community Garden
The Fluoride Debate: are we poisoning our kids?
The Northern Territory Intervention
Many Hands: Creating parental support
Adopting an older child: a woman's journey

For more information and to subscribe please visit the Kindred Magazine website

Natural Child News

In the latest issue of the Natural Child Project newsletter:

Quote of the Month: "The best-kept secret in child psychology is that children who were never spanked are among the best behaved." - Murray Straus, Ph.D
New Article: "When it all Falls Apart: Toddlers, Tantrums and Turmoil" by Lauren Lindsey Porter
AP Research: Omega-3 intake in pregnancy boosts infant development
AP Research: Benefits of delaying cord clamping
"The Baby Borrowers" letter-writing campaign: Jan Hunt has written an open letter to NBC to protest their new show, "The Baby Borrowers", scheduled to start on June 25.  Please read Jan's letter, and if you are also concerned, write to NBC and ask others to do the same.
Jan Hunt's first book, The Natural Child: Parenting From the Heart is now available on Audio CD (3 discs) at
The Natural Child Project gift shop offers many unique items for celebrating compassionate parenting:
The Unschooling Unmanual, co-edited by Jan Hunt and her always-unschooled son Jason, is now available. The book offers inspiration and encouragement for both seasoned and prospective unschoolers, and a compelling introduction to learning  and unschooling. To read reviews or to order the booklet, visit
Parenting Card of the Month
Telephone counseling worldwide, with a special focus on attachment parenting and unschooling
AP Directory now includes 108 families

Subscribe to Natural Child News here   

Connection Parenting

A standout book by parent educator Pam Leo recommended by the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children.   

"Connection parenting is parenting through connection instead of coercion, through love instead of fear."

The complete book is now on audio CD, read by the author.

Sign up for Pam Leo's newsletter Connecting Connection Parents:

Click here and scroll down

aTLC News: The Best-Kept Secret--Unveiled

The revolutionary new documentary film Orgasmic Birth challenges cultural myths by revealing the emotional, spiritual, and physical heights attainable through birth. Viewers witness the passion of birth as an integral part of women's sexuality and a neglected human right.

Five years in the making, Orgasmic Birth will have its world premiere on May 12 at the fifth annual World Respected Childbirth Week conference in Prague, Czech Republic. Subsequent screenings will be held in London on May 29; in Paris on May 30; and in Glasgow on June 4 at the 28th Triennial Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives. On May 16, the film will be featured on a segment of "20/20," the acclaimed ABC-TV news show, as part of its Mother's Day program.  Internationally renowned childbirth educator, doula and birth activist Debra Pascali-Bonaro, producer/director of the film, will be interviewed, as will women's health advocate Christiane Northrup, MD, who appears in the documentary. Dr. Northrup,  the author of Mother-Daughter Wisdom (Bantam, 2005) and Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom (Bantam, revised 2006), appears frequently on PBS.

Well-known health professionals in the film who present their views and discuss evidence-based support of its claims include:

o Ina May Gaskin, MA, CPM, world-renowned midwife, author and founder/director of the Farm Midwifery Center in Summertown, Tennessee

o Maureen Corry, MPH, executive director, Childbirth Connection, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of maternity care

o Sarah J Buckley, MD, a general practitioner/family physician with qualifications in obstetrics; author of Gentle Birth,  Gentle Mothering

o Marsden Wagner, MD, former director of Women's and Children's Health, World Health Organization

You too can be a part of this exciting project!

o Share your birth experience and read about the birth experiences of other women at the film's website,

o Organize a screening of this important documentary. It's easy with the comprehensive Community Screening Packet developed for this film. Download these materials at and register your screening dates to be listed on our website.

Joyous, sensuous and revolutionary, this pioneering film will compel many to reexamine their perceptions about childbirth. Viewers will understand how the use of normal, undisturbed birthing methods can aid the health and wellbeing of future generations.

The DVD is subtitled in French, German, Spanish and Portuguese and has a remarkable score by John McDowell, composer of the Oscar-winning documentary Born into Brothels.

For a trailer and more on the film:

Homeschool Australia Newsletter

It's back!

In the May issue:

* Exploring Approaches to Homeschooling Seminar and Curriculum Fair
* National Home Education Week 2008
* Amazing Images
* What's New on Homeschooling Australia
* News
* Best Links on the 'Net
* New column - Homeschoolers Working from Home
* Michael Mitchell's Great Cancer Walk
* Declining Literacy and Numeracy News Link
* The Simple Beauty of Mathematics

Download and read at:

12th International Conference on Rethinking Education

Thursday, September 4 - Monday, September 8, 2008

Westin Park Central Hotel, 20 minutes from Dallas-Fort Worth airport in Dallas, Texas, USA

You are enthusiastically invited to attend!

"Join hundreds of unschooling families from around the globe as we rethink the meanings of education, learning, parenting...and life! Rethinking Education supports attachment parenting, unconditional love, support for each person's unique journey of life experience, freedom with responsibility, unschooling and you. YOU are the vital ingredient at this conference, as we come together and revel in the magic and mystery of kindred spirits and each other's rich diversity, as we challenge ourselves to trust the extraordinary process of living and learning, the wondrous ability to improve the ways we communicate, discovering new ways of listening to one another, giving full support to our dreams, no matter how wild or ordinary, large or small."

I have been invited to contribute to this year's Conference and will be running three discussion groups: Full-Time Fatherhood, Secrets of a Happy Family, Unschooling and the Digital Revolution.

Please visit the Rethinking Education Conference website for more information about this exciting event!

Every Behaviour has a Positive Intention

A short (1 min 32 secs) explanation of a reality of all human behaviour, from NLP Trainers Jamie Smart and Peter Freeth. Just a thought really but something worth thinking about.

Watch the video here

Elemental Mom

Laureen Hudson, writer, professional editor, scuba instructor, beginning sailor, traveler, birth advocate, blogger, podcaster, website manager, enthusiastic geek enabler, and "an obsessive researcher who's chiefly focused on, and delighted with, her husband Jason and her sons Rowan and Kestrel."

Visit her blog

Connected Parenting

"A Celebration Of Family"

"Here at Connected Parenting we're not going to tell you how to parent, what we aim to provide is an experience which will connect you with 'the parent within' while connecting you with other parents so you never feel alone during your parenting journey."

Find out more at www.connected

Consensual Living

"Consensual living is a process, a philosophy, a mindset by which we seek to live in harmony with our families and community. It involves finding mutually agreed upon solutions, where the needs of both parties are not only considered but addressed. Everyone's wants and needs are equally valid, regardless of age."

Visit for the exciting details

Alliance for Childhood

Current Projects: "While promoting a broad range of healthy essentials for children, the Alliance works intensively on certain critical issues. Among these are the loss of creative play and hands-on activities in children's lives and excessive amounts of time spent in front of screens instead of in face-to-face engagement with other children, caring adults, or the natural world. We also work against the commercialization of childhood, the overuse of high-stakes testing on children, and increasing levels of childhood obesity."

Plain Talk About Spanking

A message from Jordan Riak, Executive Director of Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE):

"Demand for our principal publication, the 16-page booklet, Plain Talk About Spanking, is escalating at a faster rate than we can afford to reprint. As you know, Plain Talk is given free of charge. Professionals in child-related fields can get them in quantity, also free. We print a five-month supply of 10,000 booklets at a cost of $2,730, and mail them at a cost of $1,325. In the past, we've managed to balance expenditures with income. But now, the increasing number of requests -- sometimes urgent requests -- for our booklet has upset that balance. It's the price of success!

Some friends have suggested we charge a modest fee to help offset costs. But I am convinced that keeping it free serves to protect some children who would not otherwise be protected. When one compares the 27-cent cost per booklet to the safety of a child, there's no argument. If we all chip in whatever amount we are comfortable with, I am confident we can continue to fill requests, as we have since we first offered the booklet in 1992."

Read the complete appeal here

Education Revolution Blog

The Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) now has it's own blog. Features a TV interview with AERO founder Jerry Mintz (posted February 28, 2008).

More information at

Who Is Teresa Bondora?

And why is she the fastest growing phenom in the homeschool community?

Find out at

Mission Islam on Unschooling

A website I chanced on that has a fascinating page on unschooling.  A very thoughtful and informative overview plus lots of links to other places.

Live and Learn Conference

Unschooling Conference September 3-7, 2008

"The 7th annual Live and Learn Unschooling Conference is a five day event where unschoolers convene to enjoy the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and to experience an unschooling community first hand."

Find out more at

Creative Wealth International

"Creative Wealth International started in 2002 as The Money Camp. We are a nonprofit organization in the business of creating financial paradigm shifting tools! We show kids, teens and adults that financial freedom doesn't have to mean saving money for 40 years and then doing that thing called 'retire.' We expose them to a whole new way of thinking about money...creating financial freedom NOW so that they can both 'work because they want to and not because they have to' and 'go out into the world and do a whole lot of good once they are free'."

Thank you for that item to Wendy Priesnitz

Dropouts Can Succeed

Michelle Stirling's message of hope and encouragement for high school dropouts.

Frontline: Growing Up Online

"The PBS program Frontline always asks good questions, and their question for this particular program is a complex and difficult one to unravel: "Just how radically is the Internet transforming the experience of childhood?" The program talks with experts in child psychology, teenagers who've created online personalities for themselves, parents, and others who are involved in this restructuring of the childhood experience. Visitors to the site can watch the program in its entirety, and also move on to additional web-only materials. One section of note is the "Inside the Revolution" area, which includes interviews with researchers looking at the role of the Internet in young people's lives and also additional interviews with the young people profiled in this program. Other areas of the site include updates from the participants and a place where visitors can leave their own comments on the program."

And finally ...

Kim & Jason Magazine #4: Follow Your Passion

"Real live, easy-to-read, portable printed issues of Kim & Jason magazine are part of an annual subscription to Club K&J, but the lastest digital issue is FREE to download!

In this issue…

Children are passionate about life. As we get older, Adultitis has the tendency to choke out that passion. This issue is jam-packed with stories, tips, and ideas on how you can tap into your passion and re-energize your life!"

Download your copy here

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 14 June 2008

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Copyright © Bob Collier, except where indicated otherwise

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

Email: bobcollier[at]parental-intelligence[dot]com  

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