The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

September 2009

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 36 articles and 18 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!



"Children have no need for perfect parents; they need really good imperfect parents who keep thinking and never give up." - John Breeding, Ph.D.


Mother's Last Skin-to-Skin Goodbye Saves her 20 oz Baby
by Amy Philo

Sometimes a preemie doesn't need to be hooked up to 10 different machines to be given the chance to survive.

Read more ...

Breasts in Mourning: How Bottle-Feeding Mimics Child Loss in Mothers' Brains
by Jesse Bering

Discussions of breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding usually focus on the baby: What's best in terms of nutrition? Or an infant's future mental health?

But we're going to take a different route. Let's talk about the mother, and more specifically, the changes in her body as it readies itself to nourish a hungry newborn. With her breasts enlarged and hormones flowing, what happens if no newborn appears to suckle? How will her body-and brain-react?

Read more ...

Thank you for the above two items to Kim Wildner

How Too Much Information May Cause Problems for Breastfeeding New Mothers
by Dr. Kendall-Tackett, Ph.D., IBCLC and Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC

In modern Western cultures, mothers have more information about breastfeeding than any time in human history. Unfortunately, most of this information is left-brained, which works well for some tasks, but can be a problem for breastfeeding new mothers. That is because breastfeeding is a right-brained activity. What do we mean by that?

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Dayna Martin

Societal Barriers to Breastfeeding
by PhD in Parenting

When people think of breastfeeding difficulties, the things that probably come to mind are supply issues, bad latch, cracked nipples, constant feedings, and the like. Certainly, there are women who are afflicted by those difficulties and who cannot overcome them. But I believe the societal barriers to breastfeeding (propagated by the kyriarchy have a much more significant impact on breastfeeding rates than the medical or technical issues.

Read more ...

Should tradition trump reason? Circumcision and more…
by PhD in Parenting

In the past, people did a lot of things that we now know are dangerous or harmful. People drove around in cars without seat belts or car seats for their kids. People drank alcohol while pregnant. People started feeding babies solids at 6 weeks. Schools used harsh physical discipline to keep students in line. Parents dressed their children in fire retardant chemical laced pyjamas. Just last year we were all sipping happily from our BPA-laced plastic bottles and now they are on the verge of being banned in some jurisdictions.

We learn from our mistakes. There isn't a lot of point in dwelling on them. In feeling guilty for past mistakes, especially when we didn't know better. But should we really be continuing to perpetrate those mistakes, over and over and over again in the name of tradition?

Read more ...

Why I can't recommend Ferber or Weissbluth
by PhD in Parenting

I do not think cry it out is an appropriate way to teach babies or children to sleep, whether it is a graduated method (like Ferber) or full-on let 'em scream until they pass out extinction (like Weissbluth) or until they vomit and beyond (like Schafer), I'm not on board. There are some people who have been reading my blog for a long time and consistently express their dismay at my anti-cry-it-out posts. Recently, a few more people have chimed in on my blog and on twitter with their disappointment at my closed-mindedness on this issue.

Let me try to explain why I can't recommend them.

Read more ...

When a Parent's 'I Love You' Means 'Do as I Say'
by Alfie Kohn

More than 50 years ago, the psychologist Carl Rogers suggested that simply loving our children wasn't enough. We have to love them unconditionally, he said - for who they are, not for what they do.

As a father, I know this is a tall order, but it becomes even more challenging now that so much of the advice we are given amounts to exactly the opposite.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Amie Baumann Coomer

Bad Start For Parenting
by Ronit Baras

When Leanne asked me some question about her son, I did not really understand why. When I met him, 5-year-old Nathan was a smart, curious kid. For Leanne, he was the most horrible kid on Earth.

Read more ...

Boyhood not a disease
by Gabriella Boston, The Washington Times

Boys are up to three times more likely to be treated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as girls; and the prescription of antipsychotic drugs to children - mostly boys - has gone up by 600 percent in the last few years, says psychologist Anthony Rao.

Has boyhood become an illness?

Mr. Rao, author of "The Way of Boys: Raising Healthy Boys in a Challenging and Complex World," thinks we're treating it as such.

Read more ...

Remembering Essence: Parenting as Emotional Healing
by John Breeding, Ph.D

As a parent and as one who works with parents, I have become intimately familiar with a universal law that as a parent, your "stuff" will come up. As night follows day, however much we vow and wish differently, we inevitably and repeatedly fall out of our loving as parents. This simple premise is at the center of all the parenting work I do and facilitate these days. Anytime we fall out of our loving and point the finger at our "bad" children, it always says more about us than about our children. In order to hold and manifest our high ideals of what it means to be good parents, we must face our "stuff" and somehow transform ourselves in the places where we are unable to stay present and available for our children. We either suppress our children or we transform ourselves and our lives, again and again.

Read more ...

by Joyful Parent

Trusting children to know and do what is right for them can be difficult for some. Some parents would never consider it to even be possible. I know first hand that it is possible, and that it isn't always easy to do. Especially if we grew up in a family where we weren't trusted. It can be a hard habit to break. But it is so worth it.

Read more ...

Credibility and Entitlement
by Jeff Sabo

Many of you know that I spent almost eight years in the Army. Generally speaking, everyone in the Army has an opportunity to work their way up into a position leading troops. From the very first day of basic training, you are schooled on the first lesson of how to be a good leader: followership.

Read more ...

by Jeff Sabo

A transcript of Jeff Sabo's presentation on the subject of "passions" at the recent Good Vibrations Unschooling Conference in San Diego, California.

Read more ...

How to Let Go of Hyperparenting
by Leo Babauta

If you're a hyperparent, you might not even know it - we parents tend to be in denial about that sort of thing.

But if you are, you might want to learn to relax - for your kids' sake, and for yours.

Read more ...

You Don't Know What You Don't Know
by Gal Baras

Every relationship, with your partner, your parents or your kids, requires effort. No matter how compatible you are with the other person, each of you has a different background and continues to go through a different life. Each of you may be completely blind to the other's experiences and feelings.

So typically, relationships involve a lot of guesswork. 

Read more ...

Individuality - the blind spot of "experts"
by Renegade Parent

(Alternative title: Both of my children are good babies, thank you).

Read more ...

How you should treat my child with special needs
by Ellen

Max had a stroke at birth. Crazy but true: Babies can have strokes. It was a stroke that damaged both sides of his little baby brain. My husband and I were told that Max may never walk or talk, that he could be mentally retarded, that he might have vision and hearing problems. Every single one of my nightmares became a real possibility.


Read more ...

Trashing Teens
by Hara Estroff, Psychology Today
Psychologist Robert Epstein argues in a provocative book, "The Case Against Adolescence," that teens are far more competent than we assume, and most of their problems stem from restrictions placed on them.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Joanne Greco

Who gets to decide what is right for you to learn?
by Joyful Parent

As I witness children getting ready to go back to school this week, my mind heads down the path of questioning why we do things the way we do. The questions flood my brain. I see signs like [this]. Why is the school system in such a state that they need this "kickoff". I see children that are very sad and sometimes really angry about having to end the summer before summer is officially over. I see them angry that they have to go to school at all. They tell my kids that they are lucky they do no have to go to school. My sons are sad for the kids that don't have a choice, and wish that all kids could have a choice to do what feels right to them.

Read more ...

Families that learn together, grow together
from Public Technology

The latest report from Futurelab highlights the importance of family learning.

More than 90 per cent of parents think it is important to learn within the family, with 78 per cent admitting that they too had learnt something new alongside their children, finds a new report from education innovator Futurelab (

With findings like these, the Learning in Families with Digital Technologies report highlights the need for learning in the family to be seen as just as important as learning in the classroom. It also explores the potential of digital technologies such as mobile phones, digital cameras and the internet to support learning in the family and to join up the learning that takes place in the home and school.

Read more ...

Online learning challenging traditional beliefs??
by Derek Wenmoth

Earlier this year I read with interest a report from the US department of education titled Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies,which I blogged about on the DEANZ blog.

From the extensive meta-analysis that was done, the report concluded:

   1. Online education is more effective than face-to-face learning;
   2. Online learning combined with some face-to-face learning (blended learning) is the most effective;
   3. Face-to-face learning alone is the least effective method among the three types studied.

Responses to this publication have been varied - but pretty much all of them have revealed the deep-seated beliefs and values that exist in the minds of educators and policy makers that are based on very traditional understandings and experiences about classroom-based instruction.

Read more ...

Study Finds That Online Education Beats the Classroom
by Steve Lohr, The New York Times

A recent 93-page report on online education, conducted by SRI International for the Department of Education, has a starchy academic title, but a most intriguing conclusion: "On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction."

Read more ...

Distance learning must be more than employing the latest technology in place of good teachers
by Robert L. Brady, Naples News

We are all aware of the impact made by the new technology on methods of learning. But, before we get too far afield on the subject, let us not forget Mother Nature has not changed the process of learning. We may use different terminology, but essentially we are talking the same language - gathering information, understanding that information, evaluating the information (making a conscious decision on what is important or useful and what is not) and then applying that information.

Some believe the process of learning can be mechanized by new forms of technology. The reality is, only part of the learning process can be mechanized.

Read more ...

5 Ways We're Diminishing Learning by Assuming Face-to-Face Instruction Is Best
by Ruth Reynard

It's interesting that face-to-face instruction is still the measure by which all other forms of instruction are evaluated. As the standard model of instruction for decades, it's often assumed to be the proven method, while other methods have yet to prove themselves. This assumption is not only misleading, but it might also be helping to diminish potential opportunities of better learning for our students.

Read more ...

Education Needs to Be Turned on Its Head
by Leo Babauta

Going through the traditional school system (in California, Washington and Guam) was never my favorite thing as a kid, but as a parent, I've grown to realize that the whole system is upside down.

Not the system of any particular state or nation, but system of education as a concept.

Read more ...

Has Open Education Crossed the Chasm?
by Jeff Cobb

Mashable wrote about open education recently. This month's Fast Company (not-quite-so-fast web edition not yet available as of this post) features an article on it. The venture capitalists have been circling for a while. Since it started opening major parts of its curriculum to open access via the Web in 2001, MIT OpenCourseWare has been joined by more than 200 other institutions with similar projects.

Is open education starting to enter the mainstream?

Read more ...

What is the Future of Teaching?
by Josh Catone

According to the New York Times Bits blog, a recent study funded by the US Department of Education (PDF) found that on the whole, online learning environments actually led to higher tested performance than face-to-face learning environments. ...

While the study certainly provides a vote of confidence for online learning, it's important to note that it doesn't necessarily demonstrate that online learning is more effective as a medium than classroom learning.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Dagmara Elminowska

Public Schools Fend Off Invasion of New Ideas
by Mario Osava, Inter Press Service News Agency

Two non-governmental initiatives managed to penetrate the walls around public education in Brazil, temporarily assuming responsibility for the administration of schools where they left their seeds planted. But ultimately they discovered how resistant the school system is to innovation.

Read more ...

Learning by cellphone pushes the boundaries
by Jacqueline Smith, The New Zealand Herald

Teachers could soon be conducting lessons in holograms around a family's dinner table if mobile technology continues to evolve, an award-winning Auckland teacher says.

Read more ...

Seven Reasons I'm Sending My Child To Public School And The Three Big Reasons I Wish I Wasn't
by Melodie

My daughter starts kindergarten in September. Like most other children she will be attending a public school. However, unlike most children she has a mother who doesn't necessarily think public schools are the best places to educate children. I think very highly of homeschooling and if circumstances were different I would probably follow the homeschooling/unschooling route. So why am I sending my daughter to public school?

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Eli Gerzon

Home schooling: Hey, teachers, leave us kids alone
by Caitlin Moran, Times Online

The Badman Report, published earlier this year [in the UK], suggests the compulsory regulation of home-education - an area of life where, previously, there had been none at all. Campaigners gather today in Central London to protest against the report.

Well, of course they do. They don't have to keep their protesting to the weekend - like the Countryside Alliance, or the Poll Tax people, did. If you're home-educating, Tuesday is totally do-able. The whole thing about home education is that you can do any damn thing you please on a Tuesday.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Raquel Toney

Even government envious of homeschooling success
by Matt Friedeman, The Clarion Ledger

School's in session in Mississippi. And it's now quiz time!

Question: If Method 1 spends - on a national average - $10,000 per child annually, and Method 2 spends only $500 per child, but Method 2 delivers better academic results, which method is preferable?

Read more ...

A New Way to Learn
by Ericka Mellon, Houston Chronicle

The Jenkins family has a short back-to-school shopping list this year. The three children don't need new clothes. They can wear pajamas all day. And backpacks are pointless. They store books in their living room.

The siblings - Yvette, 11; Stephanie, 10; and Jaden, 10 - will not be riding a school bus either. They will be taking classes from the comfort of their south Houston home.

But this isn't traditional home-schooling.

The children are enrolled in a new virtual school run through the Houston Independent School District and the Baltimore for-profit company Connections Academy.

The free, public school - where students take lessons at home using computers, DVDs and textbooks - is part of a national movement to expand online learning.

Read more ...

Unschooling Deserves the Support of Anarchists
by Phil Grove

My working definition of anarchism is: opposition to all forms of domination and oppression. Compulsory schooling is one such form. It is clearly incumbent upon anarchists, therefore, to be energetic in opposition to compulsory schooling.

Read more ...

Homeschooling, Unschooling and Bold Schooling: By Any Name, It's Education Without Limits
by Maya Frost

I've been having a discussion with a homeschooling advocate about the terminology we use to describe those who are putting together a creative blend of their best education options. Most people understand what homeschooling is and have their own impression about what it looks like. Many picture a young child reading aloud or studying at the kitchen table while Mom is listening or checking in, perhaps preparing lunch or helping another sibling as well. It's a nice, homey image of family and a supportive learning environment.

But once kids hit about 14 or 15, the image changes.

Read more ...

Why Gen-Y Johnny Can't Read Nonverbal Cues
by Mark Bauerlein, The Wall Street Journal

In September 2008, when Nielsen Mobile announced that teenagers with cellphones each sent and received, on average, 1,742 text messages a month, the number sounded high, but just a few months later Nielsen raised the tally to 2,272. A year earlier, the National School Boards Association estimated that middle- and high-school students devoted an average of nine hours to social networking each week. Add email, blogging, IM, tweets and other digital customs and you realize what kind of hurried, 24/7 communications system young people experience today.

Read more ...


PhD in Parenting Parenting Library

PhD in Parenting is one of my favourite blogs. Very thoughtful. Very informative. And on the side of good things. I was going to select one of its recommended books that I know well myself as my "Book of the Month", but then I thought - why not offer an opportunity to visit the whole darn library?

So here it is.

At the time of writing, 26 books are featured, categorised into General Parenting Books; Discipline & Relationship Building; Sleep Books; Pregnancy & Birth; Breastfeeding, Nutrition & Health; Essays and Writings on Parenting that Inspire; and Other Useful Parenting Books.

Visit and have a look around!


Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Liberating Parents

A new and different parenting book from Australian NLP Consultant and Life Coach Keith Gilbert.

"... this is what Liberating Parents is all about.  It is training for parents so that you can learn the essential processes for creating, maintaining and enjoying mental and emotional health and wellbeing. And when you have these skills and use them on a daily basis then you become a model for your children of a balanced, creative and free individual… which is exactly what you want for your children!"

My favourite parenting book ever.

Visit Keith Gilbert's Neuro Linguistic Parents website for more information

Join the Liberating Parents group at Facebook

How I Parent

A short and hopefully useful instantly downloadable FREE ebook about how I've parented 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 ebooks while you're here if you haven't done so already.

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

"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 the full story, please visit the Kindred Magazine website 

Connection Parenting

Connection Parenting by Pam Leo is an outstanding parenting book endorsed by the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children (aTLC).

Here's a review of  Connection Parenting from Vanessa Van Petten of Radical

BOOK REVIEW: Connection Parenting by Pam Leo

Parenting For A Peaceful World
"Robin Grille, author of Parenting for a Peaceful World, and also Heart to Heart Parenting, shares some profound information about children and parenting  practices around the world and throughout history."

A video created by Jacob Devaney for Culture Collective, narrated by Aja Swafford, written by  Robin Grille.

Watch it on YouTube (7mins 48secs)

Learn more about Robin Grille's work at

The Other Side of the Glass

"From boiling water, to waiting in smoke filled waiting room only to see baby from "the other side of the glass," to now holding his partner's hand during surgery, men's role in birth has been defined by the medical establishment. Now, finally on "the other side of the glass," men are still disempowered and prevented from connecting with their newborn baby in those first minutes of life."

The Other Side of the Glass
is a Birth Film Series for Fathers.

Watch the trailer for Part One at (10 mins)

Home Birth: The rest of the story

"As most readers of this blog are probably already aware, The Today Show ran an inflammatory piece about home birth this morning that parroted ACOG's long-standing scare tactics and anti-midwife rhetoric.

Since I just wrote a post on the safety of home birth, I thought that rather than repeating the same old story that home birth is safe for healthy women with qualified attendants and access to referral, I would share with readers some other thoughts, culled from this blog, the rest of, and other trustworthy resources."

Explore the facts at

Thank you for that item to Kim Wildner

Centre For Attachment

"The Centre for Attachment (CFA) is a New Zealand-based agency dedicated to providing support, education and training for families, organisations and communities on optimal child development and attachment."

Thank you for that item to Pinky McKay

Full Time Mothers

"Full Time Mothers was founded in 1990 by parents concerned about the relentless drive to get all mothers into paid employment outside the home and all children into third party childcare."

Visit for more information

Consciously Parenting

"The Consciously Parenting Project, LLC is a collaboration of professionals and families who are dedicated to providing information, resources and support for conscious decision-making in all areas of family life. We are committed to providing the most up-to-date research and information possible so that parents can truly make informed decisions."

Free Range Kids

"Do you ever…let your kid ride a bike to the library? Walk alone to school? Take a bus, solo? Or are you thinking about it? If so, you are raising a Free Range Kid! At Free Range, we believe in safe kids. We believe in helmets, car seats and safety belts. We do NOT believe that every time school age children go outside, they need a security detail."

Read more at Free Range Kids

Thank you for that item to John Breeding

Australasian Association for Progressive and Alternative Education (AAPAE)

"The AAPAE is for all those interested and involved in progressive, alternative and democratic education. It is for learners and educators regardless of age. It is for all in the community who wish to share and extend their experience and knowledge of such education. AAPAE provides a forum for discussion, debate, and research, a network for sharing and support and an incorporated association of likeminded individuals, schools, learning centres and education institutions working together on common issues."

More information at

Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO)

"The Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) was founded in 1989 by Jerry Mintz. AERO is a branch of the School of Living, a non-profit organization founded in 1934 by Ralph Borsodi. AERO's goal is to advance student-driven, learner-centered approaches to education. AERO is considered by many to be the primary hub of communications and support for educational alternatives around the world. Education Alternatives include, but are not limited to, Montessori, Waldorf (Steiner), Choice, Democratic, Homeschool, Open, Charter, Free, Sudbury, Holistic, Virtual, Magnet, Early Childhood, Reggio Emilia, Indigo, Krishnamurti, Quaker, Libertarian, Independent, Progressive, Community, Cooperative, and Unschooling. One of AERO's areas of expertise is democratic process and democratic education, but equally important is the networking of all forms of educational alternatives. It is through our work and mission that we hope to create an education revolution."

Main website

AERO Online Video Series

AERO Articles & Essays

50 Eye-Opening Unschooling Blogs

"Unschooling is an alternative education system that supports natural, interest-led learning at home. Whether you want to learn more about unschooling for your own research or child rearing projects, network with other parents who unschool their kids, or adopt some of the alternative learning philosophies to augment your own formal education, check out these 50 eye-opening blogs."

View the list at

A World Guide to Home Education

A Wiki created by Mike Fortune-Wood "aimed at those who need to know what the legal and cultural conditions for home education are in diferent parts of the world. It is also a gateway for home educators trying to make contact with other home educators and support groups."

A World Guide to Home Education

Here's the Australia page created by Beverley Paine:

And finally...

The School of the Air

"Australia is a huge continent and is home to some of the most geographically isolated and remote communities in the world. How do children living in these communities go to school? The answer is Community Government schooling and the School of the Air."

The School of the Air was established in 1956.

Discover the story of pre-internet remote learning here

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 16 October 2009

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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