The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

10 October 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 33 articles, 2 videos and 9 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!



"If you want your children to give generosity and kindness and patience to others, you should give them so much they're overflowing with it." - Sandra Dodd


Childbirth and 'Flow' Experiences
by talkbirth

One of my areas of interest within childbirth education is about the importance of birth as an experience. I know this isn't necessarily a popular approach-more popular is to focus on evidence-based care, because using the dreaded "experience" word implies something too esoteric or "woo-woo," OR it implies that women value the "experience" over a healthy baby (the very notion of which is so insulting to mothers that I can hardly stand it). However, I tend to think that an overemphasis on evidence-based care simply isn't enough to explore and describe all that birth means for women.

Read more ...

Cosleeping and biological imperatives: why human babies do not and should not sleep alone
by James J. McKenna Ph.D.

Where a baby sleeps is not as simple as current medical discourse and recommendations against cosleeping in some western societies want it to be. And there is good reason why. I write here to explain why the pediatric recommendations on forms of cosleeping such as bedsharing will and should remain mixed. I will also address why the majority of new parents practice intermittent bedsharing despite governmental and medical warnings against it.

Read more ...

Child rearing practices of distant ancestors foster morality, compassion in kids, research says
by Susan Guibert

Ever meet a kindergartener who seemed naturally compassionate and cared about others' feelings? Who was cooperative and didn't demand his own way? Chances are, his parents held, carried and cuddled him a lot; he most likely was breastfed; he probably routinely slept with his parents; and he likely was encouraged to play outdoors with other children, according to new research findings from the University of Notre Dame.

Read more ...

Neuro-Linguistic Programming And Parenthood - An Interview With Keith Gilbert
by Jodie Miller

Welcome Keith, what question/s do people ask most when trying to understand what Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is about?

In terms of the life coaching and counselling work that I have done the questions that people have asked me are; "Is it like psychology?" and, "Does it have something to do with hypnosis?"

Read more ...

A Family of Connected Individuals
by Jenna Robertson

Being a family means that you are all related, however, it does not mean that you are all alike. One of the challenges in a family is creating space where each member can be an individual. Families are not created in a vacuum. Each parent comes with a lifetime of influence from their family of origin, and the experience of being in that family affects every aspect of their life in some way. When we choose to have children we often start recreating our family of origin without consciously realizing what we are doing.

Read more ...

Raising Grownups
by Gal Baras

Parents often see themselves as "raising children"

Not true.

Parents are actually raising future grownups and this is an important distinction, because grownups are independent, hopefully self-sufficient humans, whereas children are rather dependent and undeveloped beings who need continuous care and attention.

So in essence, no matter what we do today, we should do it with the final creation in mind - our future son or daughter when they are ready to say goodbye and beyond.

Read more ...

Preserving Intrinsic Motivation
by Chris White

In his book Drive, Daniel Pink lays out the overwhelming evidence that Behaviorism - the use of punishments and rewards - is not the best way to motivate people. And I will promptly add, especially if those people happen to be your family.

Read more ...

Identifying needs that need meeting
by Jenna Robertson

How do we know what our children's needs are? When a child is out of sorts or there is disequilibrium in our family how do we discover the root cause, not just the easy answer. How do we know if what our child wants is a new toy or if their focus on shopping is really a way to spend more time with mom or dad?

Read more ...

Say Yes - Entitled Kids
by Laureen Hudson

Our culture leads you to believe that at base children are bad and require correction. The moment you realize, deep in your gut, that at base, they're awesome and require love, the whole thing just shifts over.

I found that reading Polly Berends really helped. I also found Continuum Concept to be useful. But honestly? Just thinking about it, and watching my own kids, was what really turned the corner for me.

Read more ...

The Roots of "Misbehavior"
by Jess Robertson

In my work as a family educator and reflection of my personal history I've come to two conclusions about behavior (or "misbehavior" a term I do not use except to make a point about the term being a misnomer):

1.   All purposefully unsafe behavior is initially learned from our families/friends/environments.

Read more ...

How Handwriting Trains the Brain
by Gwendolyn Bounds, The Wall Street Journal

Using advanced tools such as magnetic resonance imaging, researchers are finding that  writing by hand is more than just a way to communicate. The practice helps with learning  letters and shapes, can improve idea composition and expression, and may aid fine motor- skill development.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Javed Alam

Math, Science And The Pursuit Of Happiness
from Backyard Safari

Here is my (perhaps not so) secret. I have a Bachelor of Science degree that required two advanced calculus classes. I wrote a thesis called "Carbon Isotope Fractionation in Deciduous Angiosperm and Evergreen Conifer Plants" that required the use of statistical analysis. I worked for over a year in an astrobiology laboratory setting up experiments to help learn about Earth's origins. But. The last time I remember being "good" at math was 4th grade. We did long division that year and a boy named John and I used to race to see who could finish first.

Read more ...

Singapore Math: Can It Help Solve Our Country's Math-phobia?
by Bill Jackson

In 1997, I attended a series of workshops on the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). That study compared math achievement in over 40 countries in grades 4, 8 and 12. Singapore and a handful of East Asian countries performed extremely well, much better than the United States, which had a mediocre performance. I was an 8th grade teacher at Public School No. 2 in Paterson, New Jersey at the time.

At the workshop we watched videotapes of mathematics classrooms from Japan, Germany and the U.S. The U.S. lesson looked very familiar. The teacher showed his students how to do a procedure and then they practiced while the teacher helped individual students. The Japanese lesson looked very different, however. The teacher began the lesson by posing a rich problem. Then the students solved the problem based on what they had learned previously and shared different solution methods. Important mathematical points of the lesson were brought out through class discussion of the various methods. The students looked very engaged and they even clapped for each other. After watching the video, I felt that my students were getting shortchanged and I became determined to learn how to teach like that Japanese teacher!

Read more ...

Competitiveness vs. Excellence: The Education Crisis That Isn't
by Alfie Kohn

"What's the matter with us?" demands Bob Herbert in his August 7 New York Times column. "The latest dismal news on the leadership front" proving that we've become "a nation of nitwits" comes courtesy of a report from the College Board, he says. "At a time when a college education is needed more than ever to establish and maintain a middle-class standard of living, America's young people are moving in exactly the wrong direction."

"The educational capacity of our country continues to decline," Herbert quotes the report as saying, adding that this is "beyond pathetic."

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Joe Bower

Language learning in a connected world
by Steve Kaufmann

 Yesterday I spoke to a group of language teachers at the ISCAP, the Instituto Superior de Contabilidade e Administraçao do Porto. They have 4,000 general students  as well as a smaller group who are learning translating and interpreting. All students have to study languages, and English, Spanish, French, German, Russian and Greek are offered. Their facilities are spectacular and the staff comes across as highly dedicated and professional.

One teacher asked, after hearing my presentation, if I did not think that teachers would become obsolete in a connected world. I don't. I think that teachers will become more important.

Here is what I think should (might) happen.

Read more ...

One School Fits All - NOT!
by Gal Baras

As you will be well aware, most of the systems in our life are made to suit some standard, albeit nonexistent, person. We all have to follow the same laws, we are measured and compensated in the same ways as our work colleagues and our kids go to schools that treat them the same too. How annoying!

Read more ...

Fix the schools? "We need to help Daisy"
by Judy Breck

A Washington Post Opinion piece this morning makes two things plain: the leaders of massive failing USA public schools have no new ideas, and any kid can tell you what is really needed.

Read more ...

The importance of education may be different than you were taught
by Allan R. Wallace

The supposed purpose of education, as marketed by the education industry, is career advancement, higher pay, and empowering a college graduate's job search. This represents the current personal importance of education as determined by a few studies performed back when bureaucratic machines were still humming. We will discuss the social importance of education later.

Educational importance before the industrial revolution was tied to:

1) learning,

2) preparation for wise leadership and personal achievement,

3) opening your mind to new ideas.

What about today?  More importantly, what about tomorrow?

The bureaucratic era is ending.

You must now determine what will be most important, to you and your children, in the future.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Dagmara Elminowska

How the iPad Will Change Education
by Steve Kaufmann

An optimist always thinks that change is for the better. In his book, The Rational Optimist, Matt Ridley describes the progress of human knowledge, a process of accelerating, spontaneous, change. Larger and larger human communities connect  and exchange goods, information, and ideas. Only the best ideas survive. As these ideas accumulate, they become part of our collective intelligence. The result, in the last few hundred years, has been a dramatic improvement in living standards and a reduction in the number of hours of work necessary to acquire basic goods and services.

Education has been an exception. In the US, the cost of K-12 education, in constant dollars, has increased by 350% since the 1960s with no improvement in results.

The iPad , and the next generation of cheaper and better electronic tables [tablets?] that will follow it, are symbols of the dramatic change that is sweeping through the world of education.

Read more ...

Why is learning treated different at different ages?
by Mark Starkman

I get the willies every time I hear the term "unschooling".  To me it seems to give validity to the term "schooling".  In most cases, the term "schooling" means to have an authority figure telling the children what to learn and when to learn it.  However, that doesn't make sense in the real world.

For most of American children it goes something like this.  From age zero to somewhere between ages 3 and 5 a child is free to learn from and explore the world on his or her terms.  Then, at somewhere between 18 and 22, the person gets to do the same thing.

Why is learning different between ages 5 and 18?

Read more ...

Why homeschooling is becoming more and more popular ...
by Méabh Ritchie, Great British Life

Teaching children at home has never been more popular - and with the government's proposals to allow parents to establish and run their own schools, more and more people are taking things into their own hands.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Linda Dobson

A movable feast: For some, the world is a classroom
by Laura T. Coffey

Evidence suggests that home-schooling in America is a growing trend. In a weeklong web-only series, reports on the challenges and creative opportunities presented by this approach to education.

Read more ...

Our Australian Adventure
by Dayna Martin

We just returned home from an amazing trip to Australia. Our family was invited to visit by the organizers of the first ever Unschooling Conference in the land down under.

I had the honor of being the Keynote speaker, and what an experience! It took us two days to get there traveling on 4 planes each way. It was intense and exciting.

Read more ...

A Journey to Unschooling
by Mary Hickcox

When I first heard about unschooling 8 years ago I thought it seemed crazy.  I thought all the things that some of you are thinking right now.  What about socialization, grades, college?  My children need to go to school to be "on track" with everyone else.  It seemed lazy and neglectful, and I couldn't imagine going against the grain in such an "extreme" way.

Flash forward to today and you see a very different philosophy in my home.

Read more ...

Unschooling: A Gentle Approach
by Carlo Ricci

I have 2 children born in 2003 and 2005. We are unschoolers. What this means for us is that our girls are treated so that their voices matter. They have a substantive say in how they live their lives, just as, I believe, any person should.

I primarily see myself as a child advocate and I believe that young people are the last acceptably oppressed group in the world in which we live. Unfortunately, we can treat young people in ways that we would never dream of treating older people.

Read more ...

Unschooling a teenager from birth on
by Kathy Brown

My son, Justin, has never been to school a day in his life. Nonetheless, he has spent the last 14 years learning all the time, every step of the way, without anyone making him 'do school.'

From the ABCs and 123s to reading, writing, and arithmetic, he has absorbed, almost like osmosis, a plethora of information around all of these topics--and more--from every day life.

Read more ...

The Economics of Unschooling
by Wendy Priesnitz

After 35 years of unschooling life learning advocacy and media interviews, one of the biggest negatives I've heard involves economics. First, critics erroneously assume kids who haven't attended school won't be able to support themselves as adults; then they suggest - somewhat conflictingly - "homeschooling is only for the elite" and "we can't do it because we're not rich and have to have both parents working."

Both of these assumptions are incorrect.

Read more ...

5 Things Your Unschooler Needs to Know
by Heather Burditt

Is there anything out there in this whole universe, so important that an Unschooler must, must, must know, no questions asked? Is there information out there, so monumental, that if an Unschooler didn't know it, it could drastically change the course of his/her life forever? The answer is YES. There is. And if I haven't already blown your mind, I'm going to tell you there are actually 5 things that your Unschooler NEEDS to know, MUST know, and just HAS TO know. And just like you probably guessed, I'm going to tell you what they are in no certain order.

Read more ...

How To Be A Good Unschooler
by Pam Sorooshian

Foreword by Sandra Dodd: Pam Sorooshian has written something perfectly stunning, and stunningly perfect. She didn't send a title for it. I've called it "How to be a good unschooler," but it could be "How to be a good parent," or "How to be a good person." It's a summary of some of the best unschooling knowledge of the past dozen and more years. It will help improve families' lives for years to come.

Read more ...

Unschooling (Un)defined
by Karen Ahern

It's easy to define "schooling", because we all went to school when we were growing up. And yet most people are unaware of the history of compulsory schooling, and might be surprised at its roots!

It's easy to define homeschooling (although people still often misunderstand it) because in essence it is replicating in the home what is done/taught in schools, often with the mindset that the curriculum can be taught more effectively at home, because of the higher ratio of adult to student.

But what about when kids don't go to school, or even do "schoolwork" at home? Now THAT is mindbloggling to most people!

Read more ...

Unschooling Is Not Unlearning
by Tiff

Because unschooling is so radical, so non mainstream-even by homeschooling standards-people may assume I am also 'un'learning, 'un'education, and 'un'literacy. Maybe it's the 'un' in the label. Maybe it's because I don't buy gobs of available curriculum. Some people have pointed out that my kids are too happy to be learning, that I must make them write papers and essays and take tests to make them do things they don't want to do as an important part of their education. Perhaps it's my laid back view of learning, in stark contrast with tracking kids from Kindergarten and putting them into 'groups' and 'ability levels'.

Read more ...

Learning Happens
by Wendy Priesnitz

I've been having a discussion with an intelligent and open-minded critic of unschooling life learning. She keeps insisting that these kids "aren't doing anything"…or at least not anything they couldn't be doing on the weekends and going to school too. For awhile, I was stuck on trying to convince her that the school part is harmful, that there's not much real learning goes on there, etc., etc. But the more she insisted, the more it seemed like she was whining! And that's when I realized that her criticism isn't based on facts, but on emotion - in this case, on resentment. Sadly, she agreed with me.

Read more ...

Video games don't make you violent, unless you're already angry
by J. Micah Grunert

A new study finds that happy people can play violent video games and stay happy, but angry people should try to relax first.

We've all heard it before; violent video games make violent children. Years of study on the subject has brought us the message that violent acts are instigated by video games. Contradictory studies have found though that there is no connection between violent games and violent people. But as it goes with mass media, finding a vague reference (kid plays video game, then kills another kid with parents gun) to scare the viewer and or reader into paying attention pays off. Cut to commercial or ad, buy the new car, stare at the super model for a second and everyones happy.

Read more ...


Learning more about Autism

"Just when you think you know enough about something, someone comes along and reminds you that there's a little more to learn.

This is truly a revelation. Simply amazing."

Watch at (9mins 53 secs)

Why Men Leave - John W. Travis, MD, MPH

"Pioneering physician John W. Travis, MD, MPH, discusses his long-term work observing how infant development shapes adult behavior and relationships."

Watch at (4 mins 59 secs)

Thank you for that item to Kim Wildner


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

Tips From My Toolbox

"When I first started publishing my Parental Intelligence newsletter in August 2002, as a weekly email, I headed each issue with a short section called "Tips From My Toolbox". These were basically observations on some of the ideas that have contributed to my own parenting over the years.

The Tips From My Toolbox lasted for only the first twenty issues of my newsletter, although those in issues 18-20 were repeats of those in issues 1-3, so there were actually seventeen of them."

A short e-book I published in 2006 and gave away to new subscribers at that time. I've now added it to this website and it can be accessed from the link below or from a link on my About the Publisher page.

(Some of the ideas are not as clearly or as accurately expressed as they would be if I ran through them again now, and some of the links are obsolete, but still worth a read!) Tips

Education Revolution Magazine, Fall 2010

"Education Revolution magazine is the Alternative Education Resource Organization's primary publication and networking tool. Each quarterly issue includes the latest news and communications from the alternative education world, as well as conference updates, job listings, book reviews, travel reports, and much more."

Read it at

Do Life Right Inc. Books

"Are you and your children tired of books that revolve around school settings, with miserable characters who hate their lives? Had enough of fiction that promotes sibling rivalry and distant parents?

Imagine a world full of books about children and their families excitedly learning from life out in the real world, without a boring classroom in sight! Seem too good to be true? Not with Do Life Right, Inc. books! With the 2.2 million (and growing) homeschooled children in the U.S.A. today, we NEED more children's books with realistic homeschooled characters of today!"

Back this project or simply learn more

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

ADHD Latest Scam

From Barry Turner, 1 October 2010

"Today, Thursday, the media, particularly the BBC carried a lot of exposure for an online study in the Lancet from Cardiff allegedly showing "clear" evidence that ADHD is a genetic disorder. Ian Kendall was available for the BBC in the morning to suggest the picture was a more complicated one of gene-environment interaction.  In spite of clear evidence to the contrary the BBC News 24 service continually ran headlines suggesting 'ADHD genetic link found', 'ADHD definitely a brain disorder' 'ADHD a neurodevelopmental disorder' emphasising only one element of the story (the pro disorder lobby) and avoided examining in any detail the alleged data and 'scientific' methodology used in this so called study.
Oliver James denounced the study, or its presentation, as an "intellectual scam". He emphasised that the control group showed 7% of normals with abnormal copy number variants while the sample had 14% cnv - in other words it showed that in only 10% of children with ADHD are genes implicated. James Lefanu, and Peter Kinderman suggested caution, the latter suggesting that he was not sure either that the study helped with stigma.  7.1% of the population has this copy number variant as opposed to the alleged 2% incidence of ADHD in the population.  A 7% copy number variant in the population cannot be described as a 'disorder' by any epidemiological standard except in an outbreak of a pathogenic infection and even the most outrageous ADHD lobbyists don't suggest a pathogen as the 'cause'.  It leaves the vast majority of those presenting with the cnv as normal, i.e possessing the gene variant but not presenting with any of the so called ADHD 'symptoms'   
It was heavily promoted as beneficial to families to reduce stigma by giving them a diagnosis. This evening NHS Choices came out with a carefully weighed article entitled "ADHD Genes are only part of the story".
It is not clear how much this study is part of an illness-awareness promotion. Some of the participants are eminent. But one of them, deCODE genetics, according to Wikipedia is based in Iceland and filed for bankruptcy in the USA in 2009.
The BBC have once again engaged in poor quality reporting on ADHD and have failed to consider that this study has nothing to do with removing stigma and everything to do with promoting the use of powerfukl and toxic medications to control behaviour simply to enrich the drug companies.  If anyone wants to remove the stigma of ADHD then they should stop 'diagnosing' it"

An Ecology of Mind

"An Ecology of Mind is a film portrait of Gregory Bateson, celebrated anthropologist, philosopher, author, naturalist, systems theorist, and filmmaker, produced and directed by his daughter, Nora Bateson.

The film includes footage from Bateson's own films shot in the 1930s in Bali (with Margaret Mead) and New Guinea, along with photographs, filmed lectures, and interviews. His youngest child, Nora, depicts him as a man who studied the interrelationships of the complex systems in which we live with a depth motivated by scientific rigor and caring integrity."

Find out more at

Thank you for that item to Keith Gilbert

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 24 October 2010

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

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

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