The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

11 July 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 issue of the Parental Intelligence Newsletter there are links to 28 articles, 2 audios, 1 video and 11 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 time!



"Allow children to be happy in their own way, for what better way will they ever find?" - Samuel Johnson



10 Things All New Parents Should Know
by PhD in Parenting

As parents, we've all made mistakes. We've all seen other parents make mistakes. In some cases, the mistakes are due to poor information and in other cases just poor judgement. The poor judgement part is, in my mind, just part of learning the art of parenting. It is something you learn through experience and by observing like-minded parents and hopefully your judgement improves with time.

But poor information is a problem. The science of parenting continues to evolve. We know better now about a lot of things and therefore do things differently than our parents did. However, a lot of people turn to their parents, their older siblings, friends with older children, and other trusted people in their lives for advice on raising their children. Or they just get given the advice, unsolicited.

Read more ...

You Can Take Charge Of Your Birth Experience
by Eileen Lian

When Christine Choong delivered her first two babies about 30 years ago, she was confined to hospital beds, each time with drips to induce and accelerate labour. The drips, she recalls, were very painful.

With her third baby, she went through most of the labour at home, which enabled her to remain upright, comfortable and relaxed. When she was admitted to hospital later, it was back onto a bed and more pain.

These very different labour experiences prompted Christine, a nurse and midwife, to set up Mamalink in Kuala Lumpur ...

Read more ...

The Birth-Breastfeeding Continuum
by talkbirth

Birth professionals have long been aware that there is a connection between birth and breastfeeding, but in recent years experts are making this link more explicit and the inextricable nature of the two experiences is becoming clearer. Birth and breastfeeding exist on a continuum. They are not discreet events. As speaker and author Dia Michels says, "we need a new word-birthandbreastfeeding."

Read more ...

Crying It Out
by Dr. Poonam Sharma

A friend told me a story this morning that is still bothering me as I write this post.  She told me of a couple with a young baby that had been crying and screaming loudly in the middle of the night.  Apparently the parents, who are proponents of the "cry it out" method of sleep training, chose to ignore the baby's cries from the other room, hoping their child would just go back to sleep.  Eventually the baby did stop crying.  The next morning, much to the parents' surprise, they discovered their child had been lying all night in the crib…in a pool of vomit.

Read more ...

Thank you for the above two items to mamapoekie

The Unrecognized Power of a Mother's Voice
by Mark Brady

Back when I managed research facilities - about 12 buildings on the Stanford campus - every summer I would hire extra help to do some of the deferred maintenance while folks were away on break. Usually I would select big, strapping high school beef-eaters to help with the heavy lifting. One summer I caught Dan and Chris, who were supposed to be power-washing the building exteriors, goofing off inside one of the offices.

"If I catch you messing around again," I mock-confronted them, "I'm going to tell your mother on you!" The sudden look of shock, shame and horror on both their burly football faces took me completely by surprise. I had, it seems, unexpectedly tapped into a very vulnerable place.

Read more ...

Saying "Yes"
by Jenna Robertson

"Don't say no. Always say yes. Or some form of yes. See your role as helping her get what she needs rather than negotiating for what's most convenient for you."

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Ronnie Sundance Maier

In Support of Nothing
by Sarah Parent

Activities that constitute "nothing"
Why do the kids find this offensive?  Well, they do not understand how anyone could assume that kids are EVER doing "nothing".  I've given this much thought.  What DOES doing "nothing" mean?  I used to know.  At least I thought I did.  Before I had kids and spent all day every day with them, I thought I knew.  Doing "nothing" meant spending time being "idle" or not participating in an activity that seemed "appropriate" at the time.  It meant that the objective observer could not measure a product from the time spent.  Sitting around?  Watching television on a sunny day?  Playing video games?  Listening to music?  Talking on the phone?

Read more ...

Chores: Great Idea Or Epic Fail?
by mamapokie

A lot of parents value chores dearly. They see it as a way to

    * teach their children responsability
    * have them help around the house
    * teach them tidyness

When I googled the definition of 'chore' it said:

    * small routine task, especially domestic
    * unpleasant task

Read more ...

Children, Chores and Drudgery
by Patty Wipfler

By the time children are about seven years old, most parents have begun to think, "It's about time she did a little work around here!" and the battles begin. "When are you going to feed the dog?" "That garbage needs to be taken out right now!" "Honey, how many times do I need to ask you to make your bed!"

It's good to expect children to take part in the work of the household. Children are quite capable, and feel a lot of pride in a job well done. But, like us, they acquire feelings about the jobs they're expected to do. And when those feelings are negative, children can drain a lot of their parents' emotional capital on the way to completing their household jobs.

Read more ...

Safety, Stuff and Simplicity
by Jeff Sabo

What do you do to help make things more safe for your children? I will assume that you've told them to look both ways before they cross the street, or to not run with scissors, or to not take candy from strangers. But that's not what I'm talking about. What have you done to ensure that your children have a safe place in which to learn; not only safe from physical harm, but safe from consequences so severe that they would inhibit further exploration? For that matter, what have you done to ensure that your children can learn in freedom while being safe from your anger or your judgment?

Read more ...

Families That Think - Creating the Proper Family Environment So Our Kids Can Think for Themselves
by Dr. Elisa Medhus

Do we want our kids to use their noggins wisely and independently, or do we want them to be little ventriloquist dummies parroting the thoughts of the pop culture and their peers? Not really a hard choice, is it? But where do we start?

Read more ...

Imagine Being an Inspiration to your Child
by Donna Packard

It all begins with imagination! The World Book Dictionary tells us: "Imagination is the ability to create new things or ideas or to combine old ones in new form; the power of forming pictures of things in the mind." Inspiration is "the influence of thought and strong feelings on actions, especially good actions; a sudden brilliant idea." Imagination and Inspiration!

Read more ...

Wild Talents: Why it's Essential to Follow Their Lead
by Mark Brady

I was never a very good student in any of the schools I attended. I was kicked out of Katherine Brennan Elementary School - which currently ranks 534th out of 543 Connecticut elementary schools (Because of kids like me?). But I wasn't  suspended for tromping Element No. 4 from the Periodic Table of Swearing in 20 foot high letters onto the pure white snow covering the hill behind the school. I was suspended when Mr. Fisher, the school principal, ordered me to erase what I originally wrote, and I promptly transformed the F into a B, and the U and C, into Os to spell "BOOK." I thought I was simply being clever and energy-efficient. He decided I was an insolent, corrupting troublemaker and sent me packing.

Read more ...

Understanding how children learn
by Matthew J. Geiger

A lioness fails four of five times when she hunts, yet the lion is still considered one of the world's most successful predators. Unlike countless examples in nature, schools try to define success as high marks in all subject areas, which accumulate throughout a grading period and school career, to the point a sixty percent is only the beginning of failure and healthy failure throughout the learning process can punish students for years. Schools do not efficiently educate students, because children are encouraged to learn what they need to satisfy teacher and test expectations. Moreover, this only encourages short-term learning versus reinforcing a drive to acquire lifelong learning skills.

Read more ...

Made to learn
by Joe Bower

The most important attitude that can be formed is that of a desire to go on learning. To ignore whether children like learning or not is ignorant to the fact that where interest appears, achievement usually follows.

However, as Alfie Kohn explains in Punished by Rewards, American education, for the most part, gets this wrong ...

Read more ...

The Myth of Forced Determination
by Cassi

One argument that comes up over and over in defense of institutionalized education is the belief that children need to learn to buckle down and complete a task, even if it's onorous to them. It's even something that my very unschooling-supportive husband still struggles with.  I've heard it from every one of my friends when I discuss my educational viewpoint. Many of us labor under the assumption that life is full of being forced to dothings that you hate, and kids must go through this experience time and again in order to hammer that it. They call it "stick-to-itiveness" or "determination."

Read more ...

A Denominator of Many - Teacher Professional Partnerships
by Carl Anderson

By now it is an old story but still a pressing contemporary issue. Industries that have traditionally relied on a top-down hierarchy of power distribution are folding. We see it today most readily in the newspaper industry but it is painfully obvious that other industries, especially those who deal in information currency, are under siege as well. It is clear that the schools are a part of this list.

Read more ...

A global teacher of 1,516 lessons and counting
by Lisa M. Krieger

From a tiny closet in Mountain View, Calif., Sal Khan is educating the globe for free. His 1,516 videotaped mini-lectures -- on topics ranging from simple addition to vector calculus and Napoleonic campaigns -- are transforming the former hedge fund analyst into a YouTube sensation, reaping praise from even reluctant students across the world.

"I'm starting a virtual school for the world, teaching things the way I wanted to be taught," explains Khan, 33, the exuberant founder and sole faculty member of the nonprofit Khan Academy, run out of his small ranch house, which he shares with his wife and infant son.

Read more ...

Creative education - intro to unschooling
by Debbie Striker

For generations, the education of children was left to the parents and adults who raised those children. Children grew up side by side, experiencing life with the adults and older children around them. They learned the skills to survive and thrive within their community by emulating others around them. Today, there is a growing dissatisfaction with the public school system that is causing parents to explore other options in education. Still a very small but growing group of individuals has turned to "Unschooling". Unschooling is also called by many terms such as life learning, organic learning, whole-life learning and personalized, non-coercive, interest-led learning from life.

Read more ...

Rambled thoughts on Unschooling
by Neely

I wholeheartedly believe in unschooling. I believe in the philosophy. When I researched this topic it gave me that aha moment that I was searching for. You know that feeling of "this is right."

Read more ...

A Few Breakthroughs I Attribute to Unschooling
by Patrice London

I'm often asked to explain unschooling. Before I explain, I gauge the person's intent and that determines how much I'll explain. I can tell if someone is asking so they can attempt to go on blast in which case, they'll find out I have quite a bit of arsenal of my own. So, with my more schooly friends and/or family in mind, also, just for the sake of keeping records, I've decided to include a few of the moments we've had that I can only attribute to our unschooling lifestyle.

Read more ...

Radical Unschooling and Food
by Lisa Russell

OK- here's how food, nutrition & shopping works in our house. Keep in mind that it's a constantly evolving process of feeding our bodies, and we definitely didn't start off like this. Every family has their own food issues. I believe that food shouldn't be an issue. Human infants are born with the ability to completely control how much they eat, and when. Limiting or controlling a person's food source, in my opinion, is inhumane. In war, attacking the enemy's food source is always a good idea, right?

In the past, I was a food-nazi mom. I limited and controlled everything my kids ate. The decision stemmed from love, it really was the best I could do at the time and it did jive with my overall parenting philosophy at the time. I'm so glad my philosophy has changed. My kids probably are, too.

Read more ...

Ready For A Changing World
by Wendy Priesnitz

Recently, "unschooling" has had its more than fifteen minutes of fame as a few brave families have allowed the mainstream media a peek at their life learning experiences. Cue the naysayers and doom-mongers! The main concern is - understandably - that kids from a life learning background be ready and able to function in the "real world." Even people who accept many of the criticisms of our school systems question that. They worry that young people who have learned without school won't be competitive enough; won't understand boundaries; won't know enough calculus, botany, history, grammar, or Shakespeare, or other subjects they're "supposed to know;" won't be well enough socialized; will grow up slovenly and unmotivated from playing video games all day…. And then there's the worry articulated by someone writing in the comments section of the MSNBC website after some coverage of unschooling in 2006: that children who direct their own educations generally grow up to be leaders, not followers, and find it more difficult to take direction from others. Too bad, that.

Read more ...

No Parrots Here
by Laura Weldon

Homeschooling would be easier if my children wanted to learn about the same things that I happen to love. 

Long ago I had the naive assumption that they would naturally develop my passion for environmentalism, muckraking journalism, anthropology, applied ethics, messy art, alternative medicine and satire.  I knew these passions weren't genetic, my parents were into playing bridge and visiting historical sites.  But I figured my children would absorb my fascination by osmosis.  Nope. More like reverse osmosis. They seem to feel that just living with me is exposure enough to those topics.  More than enough.

Read more ...

One on One with Christine Renaud
by Marin Jorgensen, Ed. Magazine

Christine Renaud, Ed.M.'07, remembers her teenage years well, complete with all the challenges and complications that age implies. "It was a fight: me against 'the system,' and I was not going to lose," she recalls of a time when making her point was a bit more important to her than making good grades. But when, at 18, Renaud spent two months in Guatemala teaching English, her whole perspective changed. "I decided that education was the most efficient way to create multiplying agents of values that had become dear to my heart: solidarity, social justice, and human rights for all," she says. "But now it was me in front of them: me representing authority, me enforcing rules I didn't really believe in, me playing the teacher. This feeling of discomfort brought me to wonder about another way of educating, another way of understanding human potential development."

This revelation propelled Renaud through college and to the Ed School, where she says she discovered she had so much more to learn. And her learning continues as CEO and cofounder of E-180, a website, blog, and soon-to-be mentoring portal, where anyone seeking to expand their learning without formality can be matched with a mentor on any topic for free.

Read more ...

What's the difference between an educational simulation and a serious game?
by Clark Aldrich

What follows is an excerpt from The Complete Guide to Simulations and Serious Games, my final book on the topic, published by Wiley in 2009.

Read more ...

Protecting Kids From the World's Choice Architects
by Mark Brady

There are people in the world whose sole mission is to consciously engineer, direct and influence every decision our kids make, from the time they get up each morning, to whom they associate with, to what they manipulate us to buy for them, to what college they go to, or if they go to college at all. These "missionaries" operate as society's "Choice Architects."

The best of them are considered by University of Chicago Economist Richard Thaler and Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein as paternalistic libertarians who only wish to Nudge us and our kids in directions they deem good for our mental and physical health. The worst of them are Ponzi-cons like Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford who deliberately design choices that optimally benefit them and theirs and severely damage you and me and our kids.

Read more ...

Why Psychiatry Needs Therapy
by Edward Shorter

To flip through the latest draft of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, in the works for seven years now, is to see the discipline's floundering writ large. Psychiatry seems to have lost its way in a forest of poorly verified diagnoses and ineffectual medications. Patients who seek psychiatric help today for mood disorders stand a good chance of being diagnosed with a disease that doesn't exist and treated with a medication little more effective than a placebo.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Mike Adams


Midwives speaking up for Baby Boys

"The end of male genital mutilation in North America is within sight. More and more midwives are taking on the duty to speak up for the rights of baby boys to full genital integrity. In this program, birth advocate Gloria Lemay talks about her own journey and experiences finding her voice and learning about the importance of the male foreskin. Not only men are affected by this unnecessary and permanently mutilating surgery. Women's lives are affected by the loss of sensation and resulting sexual dysfunction of the cut male. Join Gloria for an eye opening class on why we need a policy of "Foreskins for Keeps"."

Listen at (28 mins)

Thank you for that item to Raquel Lazar-Paley

Pam Leo interviewed on Connection Parenting

"This FREE talk (MP3), An Introduction to Connection Parenting, is a gift from aTLC and Pam Leo, author of Connection Parenting, and aTLC founding board member. It supports the aTLC Blueprint and introduces the concept of building the vital parent-child bond that children need to thrive through connection parenting. If you like what you hear, please order the book."

Listen at (or download from)


MUSE Speaker Series: Michael Mendizza

Author, documentary filmmaker and founder of Touch the Future Michael Mendizza introduces his "nurturing program" with some words of wisdom. For whatever reason, the program is not actually linked to from the video. This is it: The Nurturing Project.

Watch the video at (2 mins 53 secs)


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

How to be a happy stay at home mom

New from Hypnosis Downloads:

"Stay at home mom is an audio hypnosis session developed by psychologists which can help you in several ways. As you relax deeply on a regular basis to this gentle yet powerful download, you will naturally find yourself

    * experiencing increased levels of energy and enthusiasm
    * feeling calmer and more relaxed
    * more easily able to hold the value of what you do in mind
    * looking after your own emotional needs better
    * being a better and happier mom"

For more information, please visit

Arguments against arguments against TV

"So the question is how does the research done about the effects of TV on (schooled) children stack up against real live unschooled kids with no limits? Theories are great, but if they don't describe what happens in reality, then how great are the theories?"


Homeschool Association of California 20th Anniversary Conference

August 19 - 22nd, 2010

At Radisson Hotel, Sacramento, California, USA.

"Have you ever wished that you could find a place where you and your kids fit right in? Where no one looked at you sideways because your kids aren't in school? Where everyone thought it was great that you listen to your kids when they need you? Where they would listen to your kids, too?

Then the HSC Conference is the place for you!  Each year, over 1000 attendees, from ages 2 to 82, gather in Sacramento to play, learn, and just hang out."

Please visit for further information

14th International Rethinking Everything Conference

Friday, September 3 - Tuesday, September 7, 2010

At the American Airlines Training & Conference Center, Fort Worth, Texas, USA

"Founded 17 years ago as the Rethinking Education conference and officially morphing in 2009 to Rethinking Everything, we're setting bright new standards for progressive families ...

At the heart of Rethinking Everything is the awareness that the most important way we can effect positive, enlightened change in the world is by entirely rethinking the nature of childhood and the environments we create to support the THRIVING of children and their families."

Get all the exciting details at

Rethinking Everything Magazine

First Ever Australian Unschooling Conference Retreat

Friday, September 3 - Tuesday, September 7, 2010

At Tallebudgerra Tourist Park, Tallebudgerra Creek, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

"Come together with other natural learning families for the first ever Unschooling Conference in Australia! Join us for connection, community, support and fun!"

I will be speaking on the Saturday morning, September 4.

Get all the exciting details at

UZOMA Black Unschoolers' Conference

Monday, 7 March - Wednesday, 9 March, 2011

Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

"Uzoma is a Nigerian Igbo word which means 'the good path' and reflects the journey that all unschoolers embark upon when they choose this inspired method of education. It is our belief that a society can only experience freedom when its children are loved and respected as free people. Our mission is to help families learn about and share in this journey of becoming free.

The Uzoma Black Unschoolers' Conference (UBUC) was created to be a forum for unschoolers of color to meet together, build friendships, support one another, share resources, learn from experienced unschoolers of all backgrounds, and to discuss relevant issues that affect us in our unique experience."

Find out more at this Facebook page

Rainbow Divas Home Education CAMPFEST 2011

Tuesday 22nd to Sunday 27th March, 2011

Wymah Valley Holiday Park, Bowna (near Albury) NSW, Australia

"Our aim is to create a National, Annual Event in Australia that will meet the needs of ALL Home Schooling Families.  Our Festival is an opportunity to showcase the talent, skills, interests and passions of our Home Schooling Community.

Our intent is to promote and foster the skills, interests and knowledge of our National Home Educating community, and allow the passion of this information to reach as many Home Schoolers as possible.  At its heart, we believe that Home Schooling is a lifestyle, chosen by families for the enrichment of the entire family."

Please visit for all the details

July 24 is the Third Annual "Learn Nothing Day"


Any other day of the year is just fine.

Read more about "Learn Nothing Day" here

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 25 July 2010

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

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

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