The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

January 2010

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 32 articles and 14 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!



"School is no longer constrained to how far [the] bus can travel in [the] morning. Schools will be last to notice." - John Pederson


Birth Advocacy for Husbands
by Laureen Hudson

One of the most frustrating things I face, in the battle to help women get the births they deserve, is the fact that it's often husbands, not women, who have the most paralyzing fear, and because of their fear, they're willing to condemn their wives to the birth they themselves feel "safe" with. Usually, despite offering discussion, reference, and everything else I can think of to turn them around, they are steadfast in their (incorrect) belief, because they have nothing to lose; their wife does.

Read more ...

Dad's web guide to delivering tot
by Rob Singh, The Sun (UK)

Desperate dad Leroy Smith resorted to Google with the request "how to deliver a baby" when his wife went into labour.

He was so clueless when wife Emma suddenly started to give birth at home he opted to use the internet.

Mr Smith called a midwife for advice but before she arrived Emma, 25, began having powerful contractions.

So the 29-year-old grabbed hold of his BlackBerry, accessed the internet and sought help from search engine Google for step-by-step instructions.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Stephen Downes

Did Bristol Palin make Teenage Pregnancy Cool?
from Nurse Uncut

Seems to me that the issues surrounding teen pregnancy and parenting never change. All anyone seems to be able to focus on is the fact the teenagers are having sex!

How come everyone is so surprised? And what hypocrisy on behalf of most people who have quite clearly forgotten their own and their friends' teenage years. Sex, drugs and rock and roll! Come on people where are you??

Read more ...

Circumcision health benefit virtually nil, study finds
by André Picard, The Globe and Mail

While it is the most common surgical procedure in the world, there is virtually no demonstrable health benefit derived from circumcision of either newborns or adults, a new study concludes.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Kim Wildner

Losing My Religion for Equality
by Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States

Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.

I have been a practicing Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Denise Deeves

A Wellness Approach for Children
by Jane Sheppard

In raising healthy children, it's not enough to just focus on the physical aspect of health. To be truly healthy, a child's emotional health must be nurtured and strengthened. Developing a mental attitude of wellness is also essential. When we adopt an attitude of wellness, we take on a belief that being well is a natural, normal state. Our goal is to have outstanding, vibrant health, not just to be free of disease. With a wellness attitude, we know that we have control over our own body and how healthy it will be.

Read more ...

Make children a top priority
by Rebecca Hagelin, The Washington Times

As we begin the new year, it's time for America to face the fact that the modern American family is in crisis. With the pressures of dual careers, often no one is keeping the home fires burning. What families gain with an additional bread-earner, they often pay for with a loss of nurturing.

Read more ...

Child's Hierarchy of Needs
by phdinparenting

Parents often find it overwhelming trying to meet their children's needs. With limited time, limited resources, and limited patience meeting all of their needs can seem like an impossible task. If we can't do it all, where should we begin? Where should we focus? What is most important?

Read more ...

Gina Ford and the rule of mob
by Renegade Parent

Nick Clegg has done the unthinkable and insulted Gina Ford, the so-called baby "expert" and role model for the professionally offended.

Speaking in an interview in the Times, Clegg described Ford's approach to bringing up his baby as absolute nonsense and said that following her guidelines:

    was like following a sort of Ikea assembly instruction manual... It made us feel strangely passive as parents.

Read more ...

Controlling Children's Words and Expressions of Emotions
by Teresa Graham Brett

I recently made a trip to Trader Joe's with Greyson (who is 2). Greyson saw a staff person blowing up balloons and wanted a blue one. Greyson and I approached the staff person and I said, "could we have a blue balloon?" The person looked at me and said "what is the magic word?"

I was taken aback. Of course, I have heard this phrase, or others like it, directed at children on far too many occasions. I felt angry, humiliated and incredibly frustrated.

Read more ...

A Child That Has Freedom Of Choice
by Joanne

Let me tell you about a ten year old child that had freedom of choice. That child is my daughter Jacqueline.

I hear all the time…"If I let my kids have freedom over their food, they'll eat chips all day" or "If I let my child have freedom over video games, they'll play 24 hours a day". Sure….if all they know is control and someone else making their choices for them, OF COURSE they're going to choose to eat chips all day because they think they'll never get the chance to eat what they want again.

Read more ...

The Mother He Needs
by Sarah E. Parent

On a journey from extremely traditional upbringings and an extraordinary evolution of our own parenting and educational philosophies, my husband and I are the free-living, life learning, gentle parents of two children who couldn't be more different from each other.

The story that follows is one of the many lessons that have come to us from the first-born of our children, our six-and-a-half year-old son Elijah.

Read more ...

Just Kidding
by Gal Baras

Kids are very gullible. They love colors and sounds and quickly catch on to new trends and new celebrities. Being young, unfortunately, they do not notice the messages being delivered straight into their little brains in bright color and pleasant sound.

Our 8-year-old daughter Noff brings home a kids' magazine called Just Kidding. The name is great and so is some of the content, offering riddles, jokes and general information our kids proudly quote for us. Alas, the good stuff spans about 11 pages out of 48. All the rest is advertising, some of which is cleverly disguised as articles.

Read more ...

The Home Run Book: Can One Positive Reading Experience Create a Reader?
by Debra Von Sprecken, Jiyoung Kim and Stephen Krashen

There are numerous controversies in the field of literacy, but there is firm consensus on one point: Reading is good for you. Moreover, there is an emerging consensus that free voluntary reading is especially powerful. Free reading appears to be the source of much of our reading ability, our writing style, much of our vocabulary knowledge, our spelling ability, and our ability to handle complex grammatical constructions ...

Read more ...

You Could Grow Up to be President!
by Sandra Dodd

"You could grow up to be President." I don't know how many times I heard that in school and I suppose it's true. Some people have, and they were all kids once, but what are the odds? I got to thinking about the number of people who thought they MIGHT want to be president never made it, and how they felt about that. I didn't feel like interviewing a sufficient number of people to make a scientific sample, so the article's not about that.

I thought I would find out what percentage of the people born in a particular year HAD become president, so I chose 1900. I figured it would be a simple problem - find out how many eligible Americans were born, and how many became president!

Read more ...

Compulsory School: training in eradication of the learning process
by Kent Eaton

In several countries there is much upheaval these days concerning the increasing popularity of Home Education concepts, such as Natural Learning, Unschooling or any hint of an environment in which a boy or girl learns freely, according to their evolving interests, rather than government-determined assumptions.

Even in the face of mounting evidence, governments, teachers' unions and boards of education most often refuse to acknowledge the truths that this societal push toward alternatives to forced schooling represents.

Read more ...

Debunking the Case for National Standards
by Alfie Kohn

A decade ago, many of us thought we had hit bottom-until the floor gave way and we found ourselves in a basement we didn't know existed. Now every state had to test every student every year in grades 3-8, judging them (and their schools) almost exclusively by test scores and hurting the schools that needed the most help. Ludicrously unrealistic proficiency targets suggested that the federal law responsible was intended to sabotage rather than improve public education.

Today, we survey the wreckage.

Read more ...

Will it ultimately be students who force a change in schools?
by Clark Aldrich

One of the conversations I often get into is, "what is going to really drive changes in schools?" As we discussed earlier, it is not going to be easy.

Some think it is going to be new teachers. There are quite a few smart, dedicated professionals entering the profession. But after a few years, most seem to be crushed under the weight of the systems in place. The biggest problem is that good teachers are not scalable. Unless there is a massive influx of revolutionaries at all levels simultaneously, including administration and teachers, there will not a be a critical mass, and the best will be picked off one by one, either by social pressure to conform or the isolation of gaining petty awards.

Meanwhile ...

Read more ...

Government-backed study misses the point - again..!
by Graham Jones

Teenagers in the UK these days are amongst the best educated children anywhere in the world. Exam results continue to rise, showing that the current teenage generation is also the cleverest we have had - ever - in Britain. True, you can argue with the exam system and suggest it is flawed. Yes, you might suggest there's some political fiddling going on to make the education ministers look good. And, it is possible, of course, that there were much cleverer youngsters before all the measuring began. But, on the whole, kids today are brighter than when I was their age.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Ian Sharp

5 Higher Ed Trends NOT to Watch in 2010
by Tony Bates

Here is the first of the predictions for educational technology trends for 2010. If this is the way of the future, frankly I give up. We should just stop trying to use technology in higher education, and give the money to poor kids in Africa to buy themselves something useful.

Read more ...

"High School Subjects Self-Taught"
by Ryan McCarl

Whenever I return to the home I grew up in, I sift through the shelves and boxes of books that I have so far had to leave behind in my transitions from city to city over the past few years. I recently stumbled upon an old, out-of-print book on self-education: High School Subjects Self-Taught by Louis Copeland, with an introduction by the late mathematics educator William L. Schaaf.

Read more ...

How to Learn Just About Anything Online ... For Free
by Bill Hogan, AARP Bulletin

Stan Peirce had been looking for new pursuits after a long career as an electrical engineer with Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport, Tenn. Then, last year, while searching the Internet, he stumbled on nearly 2,000 academic courses that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had put online. Peirce saw MIT's offerings-its OpenCourseWare project complete with syllabuses, assignments, exams and, in many cases, audio or video lectures-as nothing short of an educational gold mine.

"I couldn't believe all of this was available-for free," he says.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Stephen Downes

6 Steps To Effective Self Learning
by Steve Kauffman

For those who are conditioned to think that learning only happens in a classroom, the world of self-learning can be a little daunting. How do we best take advantage these new opportunities?

Read more ...

The Decision to Unschool
by Holly

The following is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to Dr. Nathan Parker, the superintendent of the Orange School District after resigning from my job as a biology teacher at Orange High School in NJ. It more or less explains why Lucia and I decided to unschool ...

Read more ...

Home-schooling: Socialization not a problem
by Michael Smith, The Washington Times

One of the most persistent criticisms of home-schooling is the accusation that home-schoolers will not be able to fully participate in society because they lack "socialization." It's a challenge that reaches right to the heart of home-schooling, because if a child isn't properly socialized, how will that child be able to contribute to society?

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Sarah Parent

The First Three Minutes of Unschooling
by Khalif Williams

At four years old, after weeks of talking over educational options, my oldest son Ezra decided he wanted to go to pre-school.  After visiting several, we chose a Waldorf-inspired school in an adjacent town.  His experience was ok, not great.  He then enrolled in kindergarten at a nearby Waldorf grammar school.  Fantastic program, great teachers.  While sort of bored with the routine, Ezra seemed ok with it all.  It would have been easy to say "mission accomplished!" and send him on through 8th grade.  But something wasn't quite right.

Read more ...

The Cons of Unschooling
by Idzie

I think most people know how much I love unschooling by now.  I will happily wax on about how unschooling is the only type of truly free education, how unschooling has made my life better, and allowed me to become a truly authentic person, which I'm not sure I would have managed in school, etc. etc. etc.

But what about the downsides of unschooling (yes, you read that right)?  That isn't talked about much by unschoolers, quite understandably. 

Read more ...

The cons of unschooling
by Ronnie Maier

My friend and grown unschooler Idzie has written a post about the downsides of unschooling. She didn't include some cons I would have listed, so those are here as an addendum to her list.

Note that not every family will experience all of these or the ones on Idzie's list. But they represent some distinct themes that we see in the unschooling forums.

Read more ...

Finding Our Tribe
by Wendy Priesnitz

I've never been comfortable identifying myself as a "homeschooler" or an "unschooler"…or, for that matter, as a "life learner," although I've been advocating for such things for over 30 years now. I have a hard enough time being "the person who's learning to be human!" I've also never been comfortable with other categories of self-description like "environmentalist" or "feminist," although I probably fit into some ways. And that's the problem: Part of being human is having an individual identity and not lumping oneself into various categories ending in "ist" or "er" or "ism" and filled with millions of other people. In fact, all that wearisome slicing, dicing, slotting and labeling is one of the aspects of school that I've railed against for over three decades!

Read more ...

Learning at Biltmore
by Ren Allen

There was a big discussion recently at one of the email lists about parent vs. child-initiated activities and whether anything parent-initiated was helpful. I cringe when I read these kind of posts because I think debating parent or child-initiated is setting up a false dichotomy. In a family where interests and ideas are freely shared, without coercion and without any agenda, in a family where trust is high and relationships are healthy, I don't think one needs even consider who "initiated" an idea, conversation, fun activity or outing. I don't believe WHERE the information started is nearly as important as how it's being tossed around.

Read more ...

Your Body within 1 Hour of Drinking Soda
by Danelle Frisbie

I have to admit, as a former teacher, I used to cringe when I saw the amounts of soda my students could put away in a day. We may as well have installed a soda pop fountain instead of the water fountain. Later, as I worked with parents of infants, I almost choked on a bite of lunch one day to see a baby's bottle filled with Diet Coke. Since that memorable day, I have met others who regularly purchase Pepsi for their tots and think nothing of it when they stock the fridge with Mt. Dew.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Amie Coomer

Internet Diagnosis Syndrome!
by Adam Eason

I have several people each week who phone me or email me and explain that they have read about their symptoms online and they obviously have ADHD, OCD, Paranoid Scizophrenia, Clinical Depression and need hypnotherapy to help them get over it. They believe they've gone crazy…

If you've ever been on a therapy training programme of some kind or been in a psychology class, you may well be familiar with 'Student Syndrome' which is a common 'condition' whereby a student begins to think that he/she and/or their family and friends all have the mental conditions they are learning about.

Read more ...


The Law of Attraction: The Process of Reintegration

The latest book - and an interesting choice of topic - from NLP Consultant and Life Coach Keith Gilbert, author of my favourite parenting book ever, Liberating Parents.

Personally, I don't subscribe to the concept of a "law of attraction". But this is very different to anything else I've read on the subject.

This is Keith Gilbert's definition of the "Law of Attraction":

"The Law of Attraction is the process of organising our conscious and unconscious awareness so that we develop sensitivity to people, experiences and opportunities that can help us achieve what we want."

And, as it happens, I can go along with that.

The Law of Attraction: The Process of Reintegration is, as Keith writes in the foreword, "a reference guide to augment the high quality training you will receive from the author and/or his associates" and I know from attending Keith's 'introduction to neuro-linguistic programming' workshop in February 2009 how additionally beneficial face to face learning is in NLP. But, if you're not in Australia or you're nowhere near Sydney, and you are interested in "The Law of Attraction" - particularly if it doesn't seem to be working for you - buy this book and you'll find, I'm sure, that it's a very helpful read in its own right.

As Keith says, "This will be an invaluable addition to your Law of Attraction library"!

You can find out more about The Law of Attraction: The Process of Reintegration at Keith Gilbert's Liberating Parents website


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


"Founded in 2002, Kindred is committed to supporting you towards creating a more sustainable, just and child-friendly world.

Our articles are drawn from an internationally diverse team of writers and professionals on the front lines of their fields, exploring issues that impact our children, families and planet, ranging from education, natural birth, optimal child development, medicine, psychology, healing, spirituality, politics, relationships, family dynamics, natural parenting and global and environmental issues. We translate evidence-based material from neuroscience, genetics, biology, psychology, economics and sociology into a practical and understandable framework for making the best choices possible for you and your family."

Visit the Kindred 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

Best Breastfeeding Blogs and Posts

PhD in Parenting's picks for best breastfeeding blogs and posts.

Start exploring here

What Do You Really Want for Your Children?

Thank you to Anthony Dillon for recommending this book by Wayne Dyer. Published as long ago as 1985 but still "brilliant".

Read customer reviews and sample pages at Amazon

Working mothers deserve less stress!

New from Hypnosis Downloads.

"Are you constantly juggling the conflicting demands of family and job?

Do you sometimes wonder if all the stress you go through trying to balance work and home is really worth it?"

"Working mothers stress is an audio hypnosis session prepared by psychologists who are experts in the field of stress management which will specifically help you, as a working mom, take a step back from the pressures and give yourself a real break."

Find out more here

eLearning Magazine Predictions for 2010

"At the start of each year, eLearn Magazine's contributors predict what changes are afoot for the coming 12 months. Here are our predictions for 2010."


AEUK petition

Autonomous Education UK petition to the British government regarding proposed changes to the law. You must be a British citizen or resident to be eligible to sign.

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to uphold that parents have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of their child, to not undermine parents legitimately fulfilling their fundamental duties, and to assume that the best interests of their child is the basic concern of parents unless there is specific evidence to the contrary."

More details here

Unschoolers and Mathematics

Learning mathematics naturally - without formal lessons - is it even possible? Find out more here:

And finally ...

New Year's Resolutions - an exercise in futility?

Yes, it's January and this is the month of the year when my email inbox has been awash with invitations to create a "new me", and with advice on making my New Year resolutions stick or on the right way to "set goals" for the future. Perhaps you have this same experience every year.

Why do most people give up on their New Year resolutions so quickly? Doug Bench - "America's Brain Training Guy" - will tell you. And how to do something about it.

The Brain Training Blog

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 16 February 2010

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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