The Parental Intelligence Newsletter
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 14 articles and 27 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!
Guiding Stars of the New Parenting Movement
Somebody's got to do it
by Karen Maezen Miller
That's how I feel whenever there's a bag of chips in the house. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.
We're looking this week at our lives as parents and whether we call that a job or a relationship. Last weekend while I was on retreat, I did quite a bit of introspection on the ultimate truth of our existence (translation: wondering what's for dinner) and what I came up with was this recipe:
Life is a Five Layer Bean Dip
Read more ...
Is Labour One Of The Most Hypnotic Words For Women?
by Adam Eason
Why oh why do we still insist on referring to the childbirth process as 'labour?'
Hahaha… If ever there was a way to ensure that childbirth was hard work, nightmare-ish and painful, that is the one to use! It just has so many connotations for a pregnant woman, doesn't it? I want to get into this today… And I know I am going to face some female resistence…
Read more ...
Natural Parents - Facing Criticism From Opposing Views
by Robin Grille
There is a disturbing phenomenon relating to what happens to many mums and dads who choose more natural, child-centred approaches to parenting. When parents are criticised for neglecting their children - though criticism is a poor teacher - one is at least not surprised. But when parents are denounced, dissuaded or even shamed for choosing to be more nurturing, this seems astonishing. It appears that, frequently, those who try natural parenting risk finding themselves alone, judged or marginalised.
Read more ...
Spare the Rod: Why you shouldn't hit your kids
by Alan E. Kazdin
The typical parent, when whacking a misbehaving child, doesn't pause to wonder: "What does science have to say about the efficacy of corporal punishment?" If they are thinking anything at all, it's: "Here comes justice!" And while the typical parent may not know or care, the science on corporal punishment of kids is pretty clear.
Read more ...
Live dangerously, it's safer
by Carol Midgley, Times Online
Here's a question for all you anxious parents out there who are busy wrapping your children in cotton wool this summer the better to protect them from the predatory paedophiles inevitably lurking behind every leylandii hedge.
Let's just suppose, in some sick parallel universe, that you wanted your children to be abducted. Let's imagine that you'd had enough of them and decided that your cunning plan was to chuck them out of the house then sit back and wait for some passing kid-snatcher to run off with them. How long do you think you'd have to wait? Warwick Cairns will tell you. It would take 200,000 years, he says. And then you'd get them back within 24 hours. If you wanted them to be taken for longer you'd need to hang about for around 600,000 years. Because in any one year the average child stands a 0.0005 per cent chance of being abducted by a stranger and a 0.00016 chance of not being recovered alive within 24 hours. And yet, obviously, this is not how most people perceive the risk at all.
Read more ...
The Future of Education
by Thomas Frey
Within two years a radical shift will begin to occur in the world of education.
While many people are making predictions about the direction that education systems are headed, we have found the best predictors to be hidden in the participative viral systems springing to life in the online world, such as iTunes and Amazon. These bottom-up approaches are quick to develop, participant-driven systems that are closely aligned to the demands of the marketplace.
In this paper we will focus on the key missing elements that will cause the disruptive next generation education systems to emerge. These missing pieces will likely be created within the next two years through private funding and will cause a dramatic educational shift in less than five years.
The primary missing pieces are a standard architecture for an organic courseware module and the software necessary to build this courseware. The solution to these missing pieces will be a participative courseware-builder that allows the general public to create courses on any conceivable topic.
Read more ...
Computer game boosts maths scores
from BBC News
A daily dose of computer games can boost maths attainment, according to a study carried out in Scottish schools.
Learning and Teaching Scotland - the main organisation for the development of the curriculum - analysed the effect of a "brain training" game.
It also found improvements in pupils' concentration and behaviour.
The study involved more than 600 pupils in 32 schools across Scotland using the Brain Training from Dr Kawashima game on the Nintendo DS every day.
Read more ...
World of Warcraft Video Game Succeeds in School
by Jeremy Hsu, Staff Writer, LiveScience
It's not unusual for video game players to speak of a routine that involves ordering pizza, getting a sugar jolt, and then playing "World of Warcraft" for hours. But the person talking in this case is Constance Steinkuehler, an educational researcher who organized an afterschool group for boys to play, for educational purposes, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game.
Some of the eighth graders and high school freshmen who signed up for the group couldn't have cared less about writing or reading in school. Yet those students have gone from barely stringing together two sentences to writing lengthy posts in their group's Web site forum, where they discuss detailed strategies for gearing up their virtual characters and figuring out tough quests.
Read more ...
Leap of Faith
by Dagny Kream
[A speech from the NE Unschooling Conference 2007]
I'm calling this The Leap of Faith because that's what unschooling is.
If I asked any person in this room what they thought of sky diving you would probably say it would be exciting, but you certainly couldn't deny you'd be kind of scared. That's how I see unschooling. It's scary and exciting and hard to get off your butt and just do it - but once you do it's going to be one of the most amazing experiences you'll ever have.
Read more ...
Thank you for that item to Sandra Dodd
New Research on Anxiety. Is it Always Such a Bad Thing?
by Michael Lovitch
The fact is ... that stress in and of itself is a healthy response. It is how you deal with it that is the difference between you excelling or becoming a stress case!
Read more ...
Is Cartoon Character Advertising Making American Kids Fat?
by Roosevelt Pitt
Believe it or not it's been nearly seventy-three years since one of the earliest cartoon driven products was advertised to children. Post Cereals discovered their sales for Post Toasties skyrocketing after they licensed a certain adorable rodent. Care to guess who the popular movie character was? You may be as surprised as I was to learn it was Mickey Mouse! Soon afterwards, with little surprise, other companies followed suit and found the golden goose of advertising to children. In the 1950s, Continental Baking Co. employed the puppet Howdy Doody to pitch Twinkies on his popular TV show.
Children are attracted to flashy colored characters and packaging and although parents may say "no, no, no", at the end the likes of Spongebob SquarePants, Scooby Doo, Shrek, Barbie, Cookie Monster and others often win out. And be aware that all of the characters mentioned have at one time or another promoted low nutrient value foods and continue to do so.
Read more ...
by Malcolm Gladwell
Twenty years ago, a political philosopher named James Flynn uncovered a curious fact. Americans-at least, as measured by I.Q. tests-were getting smarter. This fact had been obscured for years, because the people who give I.Q. tests continually recalibrate the scoring system to keep the average at 100. But if you took out the recalibration, Flynn found, I.Q. scores showed a steady upward trajectory, rising by about three points per decade, which means that a person whose I.Q. placed him in the top ten per cent of the American population in 1920 would today fall in the bottom third. Some of that effect, no doubt, is a simple by-product of economic progress: in the surge of prosperity during the middle part of the last century, people in the West became better fed, better educated, and more familiar with things like I.Q. tests. But, even as that wave of change has subsided, test scores have continued to rise-not just in America but all over the developed world. What's more, the increases have not been confined to children who go to enriched day-care centers and private schools. The middle part of the curve-the people who have supposedly been suffering from a deteriorating public-school system and a steady diet of lowest-common-denominator television and mindless pop music-has increased just as much. What on earth is happening? In the wonderfully entertaining "Everything Bad Is Good for You" (Riverhead; $23.95), Steven Johnson proposes that what is making us smarter is precisely what we thought was making us dumber: popular culture.
Read more ...
The family and the free market
by Anne Manne
The "new capitalism" is a term coined by Richard Sennett to refer to the great leap forward into the globalised, hyper-competitive, free-market economy. It has delivered remarkable economic growth and prosperity.
Anglo-American societies have transformed themselves from economies based on industrial-age manufacturing to service-based, high-consumption ones.
Family life is being reshaped in the new economy. Although it is rarely made explicit, the new capitalism is contingent on a trade-off: higher productivity is translated not into more time at home, but more hours worked per family per year to service our consumption habit.
Read more ...
Aren't We Lucky?
by Gal Baras
A couple of weeks ago, there was a special event at Southbank, the park along the Brisbane River. Among other things, there was a large enclosure, where an organization called Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) showed a model of a refugee camp and took groups of people on guided tours. The line before the gate of the model refugee camp was very long, but we decided to wait.
In the meantime, we read the material that was posted along the "camp" fence and looked at the pictures of displaced people from all around the world, disasters and kind people caring for the sick and hungry. Despite the need to wait, our kids were patient and asked questions about what they read.
After about 30 minutes, we finally stepped into the "camp" and met our guide, a nurse, who had been on 2 missions with MSF and was going to give us a taste of what it was like to be a refugee. At first, it all seemed very romantic, as if we were going to watch it on a screen, but our guide soon changed that.
Read more ...
How I Parent
A short and hopefully useful instantly downloadable ebook about how I parent my own children.
Read more about that here
Be sure to download your FREE copy of my Guiding Stars of the New Parenting Movement
ebooks while you're here if you haven't done so already.
There are two volumes so far. These ebooks 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 is created to support and give voice to the embryonic but powerfully essential movement towards conscious parenting and conscious living happening all around the world. It is in honour of that revolutionary movement everywhere, be it large or small, public or personal, that Kindred addresses issues ahead of mainstream media. It brings cutting edge research and information from pioneers in all fields relating to the well being of our human family and the world we live in.
Courageously exploring social, political, spiritual, global and environmental issues, it is the first and only such magazine in Australia and one of only a few in the world."
For more information about the latest issue and to subscribe please visit the Kindred Magazine website
Subscribe to Kindred Magazine's between issues newsletter Kindred Spirit
Kindred Magazine on Facebook
Natural Child News
The Natural Child Project's free monthly newsletter.
Subscribe to Natural Child News here
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."
Get all the details at www.connectionparenting.com
Heart To Heart Parenting
A new book from Robin Grille, author of Parenting For A Peaceful World.
"An empowering book for parents, Heart to Heart Parenting is more than just a 'how to' book about raising happy and resilient children - it aims to help you create a deep and lasting relationship that is unique to you and your child. Using techniques that are based on connection rather than shaming, manipulation or punishment, Robin Grille introduces you to insightful and practical ways to benefit your child's emotional wellbeing and development."
Find out more here
Touch The Future
"We are completely redesigning Touch the Future's website. Audio, video, blogs, visitor networking, and tons of new content are all being integrated in a new and vastly improved site. Take a peek."
Preview the work in progress at ttfuture.org
Born Potty Trained
Couldn't go past such a boldly named website!
"Babies are BORN potty trained! Just like other animals, human infants instinctively avoid urinating and defecating on themselves. Why do you think babies go during diaper changes? It's not the rush of cold air like others will tell you -- our babies are simply (and smartly!) taking the opportunity to relieve themselves without having to sit in it!"
A fascinating introduction to the subject of "Elimination Communication".
Natural Family Publishing
"Natural Family Publishing Pty Ltd (NFP) offers a unique collection of family focused websites providing quality information and support for parents and parents-to-be. Our existing sites, Natural Parenting, Natural Baby and Natural Birth cover preconception to adolescence and include topics such as pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, sleep, discipline, health, nutrition, education and family life."
Visit www.natural-family.com.au for more information
Stay At Home Dads
"Have you ever wondered what motivates men to remain at home to parent their children? What follows is a distilled version of interviews with three men who have chosen to remain at home to parent their children."
Read the interviews at www.naturalparenting.com.au/flex/fathers-and-fatherhood/...
"There are so many support and discussion groups out there for moms, but there are hardly any for dads, especially dads who are making the choice to parent mindfully and from the heart. Natural Dads is a group for dads who are parenting their children naturally, empathically, respectfully, and whole-heartedly."
Find out more when you visit the Natural Dads group
Naomi Aldort on YouTube
Parenting with Naomi Aldort, Author of Raising our Children Raising Ourselves. Six videoclips available as I write, ranging from 1 min 36 secs to 7 mins 28 secs in length.
Subscribe to Naomi Aldort's YouTube channel here
"Gloria Lemay is a lecturer, midwifery educator and has been a traditional birth attendant for 29 years, specializing in VBAC and waterbirth. In 2002, Lemay received the "Women's Voice Award" from CHOICES Childbirth Education and Doula Services of Ontario for her service to women during the childbearing years. She was also nominated for the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in 1997. Lemay is an advisory board member of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN), and a contributing editor of Midwifery Today Magazine. She has three grown daughters and a teenage granddaughter. She resides in Vancouver, BC, Canada."
Go here for information about Gloria Lemay's Essentials of Maternal-Infant Care workshop at Conscious Woman.
This is her new blog: www.glorialemay.com/blog/
Dr Louise Hart
"After teaching school for four years, Louise became a full-time mother to her three children for thirteen years. During that time she pioneered a "win-win" parenting style, unraveled many of her dysfunctional family patterns, and became the mother she wanted to be.
For 20 years, her presentations and books have helped many thousands of people develop the crucial building blocks for healthy living. An inspiring and entertaining speaker, Dr. Hart offers warm wisdom, a breadth of knowledge, and up-to-date science in an easily understandable manner that leaves workshop participants begging for more. Her anecdotes, graphics, and upbeat speaking style create instant rapport with audiences."
To learn more about Dr. Hart and her work, please visit www.drlouisehart.com
Attachment Parenting Blog: Raising Children with Love
"Run by an attachment parenting dad with three kids, this site is your best place to learn more about attachment parenting, keep up-to-date on parenting news, and much more."
Find out more about Dave Taylor at www.apparenting.com/...
Divorced Dad Weekly
Here's a new and interesting idea - a "Weekly Q&A Virtual Meeting with the Dynamic Divorce Duo Heidi and Danny".
Who are Heidi and Danny?
Find out here
Project Happy Child
The last time I mentioned this website in my newsletter in 2005, it was about 8,000 pages and growing. This month, I received an update - "19,556 pages ... 68 million visits ... things have moved along somewhat at the site here since the last time we sent out a Newsletter."
Penny Midas Rollo's "massive project to link children all across the world".
"We're building an index of Educational Resources available on the Internet for schools, parents and children, constructing a network of links to schools in many countries, and publicising initiatives helping less fortunate children, wherever they may be."
Go exploring at www.happychild.org.uk
The Self-Organizing Revolution
Common Principles of the Educational Alternatives Movement
A new book by Ron Miller.
"Ron Miller has been involved with diverse educational alternatives for more than 25 years, as a teacher, researcher, activist, editor and author. In The Self-Organizing Revolution, he reflects deeply on his experiences and observations. He identifies five core principles that are shared by various groups of educational dissidents, and explains how a grassroots movement for educational transformation, grounded in these principles, is spontaneously emerging."
Pre-order from here
"Education Otherwise is a membership based organisation that provides support and information for families whose children are being educated outside school, and for those who wish to uphold the freedom of families to take proper responsibility for the education of their children.
An increasing number of parents and children want an alternative to school. Our reasons are many, and we often differ widely in our views, but as parents we share the desire to take back direct responsibility for the education of our children rather than to delegate it to schools."
Formed by a small group of parents in the UK in 1977 and until six years ago the only alternative education organisation I'd actually heard of!
Find out more about Education Otherwise at its newly redesigned website
Action for Home Education wiki
"This is a public wiki for sharing information, opinions, support and work promoting the rights and freedoms of families electing to educate their children outside the schooling system. AHEd works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The content of this site depends on contributors. You do not have to be a member of AHEd to take part. Make your own pages!"
A more recently formed action group, launched in Derby, England, in January 2007.
A gratuitous plug for the wit and wisdom of one of the brightest minds in the home education movement.
Read all about her at www.sandradodd.com/joycefetteroll
"Sarah Parent is the whole-life unschooling Mama of Elijah (5.5) and Sadie (4). 10 years of labor and birth nursing, mindful childbirth preparation, advocacy for women and families which culminated in a master's degree in nursing clashed head-on with motherhood when the realization that money and degrees were no match for her sensitive, pensive son and spunky, wild-child daughter when it came down to where to spend her time. Their lead and the hearts of she and her husband, Chris, brought them to whole-life unschooling and gentle parenting over bumpy roads of doubt and steep ravines of fear. She maintains a wealth of knowledge and strong belief in and advocacy for the empowerment of women through birth. Now, as her children grow, she has found her voice in advocating for peaceful families through gentle parenting and unschooling if only to support others in navigating the bumpy roads and ravines. She is the author of Clan of Parents (www.clanofparents.com) which chronicles her family's unschooling adventures and the host of Humans Being - a podcast focusing on gentle parenting and unschooling issues."
Find out more about Sarah's podcasts here
2008 Rethinking Education Conference audios
Recordings of talks and discussions from the recent Rethinking Education Conference in Texas, USA. Titles include Meet Unschooled Kids, Meet Grown Unschoolers, How Video Games Changed My Life, How To Unschool, Single Parent Unschooling ...
Visit this webpage for more information
The Unschooling Pool
Beautiful photographs of unschoolers at work and play.
The Genius Symbols
Yes, we all have the genius in us somewhere. Here to help us express our genius is the legendary Silvia Hartmann.
"Dr Silvia Hartmann defines what it means to be a true genius and proposes that this is a basic human right, rather than an accident of birth. In this paradigm shifting work, which is the result of nearly five decades of research and testing, The Genius Symbols are introduced."
Read all about it here!
Hope For Future Angels
"Mary Funk met David Lubaale in Uganda, Africa in August 2005, through a school project. David is the Director and founder of Future Victory School, in the village of Kiwungu. The students number about 720. Approximately 300 of them are orphaned, handicapped or disadvantaged, due to HIV/Aides, war or poverty. Mary decided to take a stand and make a difference in the lives of these little angels. From their determination, Hope For Future Victory, Inc., was born. Today, we have 30 monthly sponsors and we are gaining new members everyday. (Remember, there are 300 that need you.) We have sponsors as far away as Georgia, New York, New Jeresy, Australia, Iowa, Texas, Southern California, Northern California, and right here in the Central Valley."
To learn more about Mary and David's Hope For Future Victory project and how you can help, please visit
And finally ...
The Confident Walk of a Girl Who Was Two, but Too Soon Would Be Twenty Two
A picture that captures a moment in time, and which I've included here for no other reason than that it reminds me of my daughter, the child who changed my perception of reality all those years ago, and who is now a beautiful woman of twenty-three.
Here it is
With thanks to Chris in Nebraska, USA, who took the photo.
Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!
The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 14 November 2008
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Copyright © Bob Collier, except where indicated otherwise
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Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia
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