The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

28 November 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 31 articles, 4 videos and 10 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!




Begin at the Beginning
by bluebirdmama

Forgive me for being a bit obvious here: Natural Parenting came pretty naturally to us. When I look at the list of principles that make up the natural parenting philosophy, I identify with so many of them that it's hard for me to think of just one that might resonate more than another. I can't even really pinpoint how or when I came to incorporate them into my life. Sometimes I end up in a situation (like the sign-in sheet at La Leche League meetings) when I am asked where I first heard of La Leche League or co-sleeping, or when did I first become interested in homeschooling or midwifery, or when did I decide to breastfeed and to leave my son intact, and I just can't say. I don't remember a time when I didn't know about those things, yet the truth is that somewhere in my twenties I must have started absorbing the Natural Parenting principles from somewhere, little by little. I have a feeling that the process was very organic, each of these ideas meshing with some part of who I was already. There were no epiphanies; just a feeling that "hey, this makes sense-how could I do it any other way?"

Read more ...

Because Natural Comes Naturally
by Bess Bedell

I never chose to be a "natural parent". I just woke up one day and was one. When I gave birth to my first daughter I had done no research on parenting styles. I took a hospital based childbirth class and a hospital based breastfeeding class and that was it. That was the extent of the research done to prepare for a lifetime of parenting. When I held her in my arms, though, the hormones and emotions and instincts began to run through my veins. I had to keep her with me at all times. To have her taken to the nursery for any length of time caused me to feel uneasy, panicked even. I needed my baby close to me. That was where she belonged. And from there an attachment/natural parenting family was born.

Read more ...

Why Should I Call It "Extended"?
by Amy Ables

As I gaze upon my sleeping two year old, passed out at naptime, I can't help but think about how precious she is to me, and how fast she is growing. No matter what kind of morning we've had, or what kind of things I have lined up for my naptime chores, I always take a minute to be happy about the growth of my baby, and also about my decision to let my child wean from the breast on her own. I put away my boobs, click on her sleeping music, and leave the room, taking a final glance at her sleeping form, and I smile - knowing that my milk still keeps her healthy, strong, and happy - and that nothing can replace that benefit, as long as she still requests it from me.

Read more ...

Children 'should sleep with parents until they're five'
by Sian Griffiths
Margot Sunderland, director of education at the Centre for Child Mental Health in London, says the practice, known as "co-sleeping", makes children more likely to grow up as calm, healthy adults.

Sunderland, author of 20 books, outlines her advice in The Science of Parenting, to be published later this month [May 2006].

She is so sure of the findings in the new book, based on 800 scientific studies, that she is calling for health visitors to be issued with fact sheets to educate parents about co-sleeping.

"These studies should be widely disseminated to parents," said Sunderland.

"I am sympathetic to parenting gurus - why should they know the science? Ninety per cent of it is so new they bloody well need to know it now. There is absolutely no study saying it is good to let your child cry."

Read more ...

Spoiled Rotten -- A Timeless Complaint
by Alfie Kohn

If the subject is kids and how they're raised, it seems our culture has exactly one story to tell.  Anyone who reads newspapers, magazines, or blogs -- or attends dinner parties -- will already know it by heart:   Parents today, we're informed, either can't or won't set limits for their children.  Instead of disciplining them, they coddle and dote and bend over backward to shield them from frustration and protect their self-esteem.  The result is that we're raising a generation of undisciplined narcissists who expect everything to go their way, and it won't be pretty -- for them or for our society -- when their sense of entitlement finally crashes into the unforgiving real world.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to mamapoekie

Unconditional Parenting
by Erin

I'm a big fan of Alfie Kohn.  I am a step-mother of two grown women and a mother of four year old twin girls.  I am also a teacher.  These dual roles have led me to read many of Alfie's books and articles on school and parenting.

A common theme through all of Kohn's writings is the message that punishments and rewards don't work in the long run, and that they can actually cause damage to children and to the relationship between adults and children.

Read more ...

What Every Parent Needs To Know
by Peter Ernest Haiman, Ph.D.

Every parent wants to know how to raise an emotionally healthy child. When it comes to giving advice to parents, three areas stand out as important: how each parent relates to parenting, how children develop psychosocially, and the process that I call diagnostic child rearing.

First, each of us as adults must look at ourselves and learn about our relationship to parenting. By that, I mean we need to look at our own upbringing, at how we were raised by our parents, and see how this influences our parenting style now. We need to discover and become aware of the mistakes made by our parents, as well as the mistakes made by the society that influenced our parents. After all, our parents didn't just make up their parenting practices. For the most part, they followed the social norms of the day. In light of what we now know about child development and child rearing, we can see that many of today's parents encountered some rather big mistakes while growing up.

Read more ...

Paradox - The Natural Law of Childrearing
What children do not need to be taught...and why
by Jerry R. Levinson

There is a fundamental misunderstanding about raising and educating children that is so profound and all-pervasive that it must be changed if children are to become the glorious creatures that nature intended.

To put it very simply, children do not need to be "raised" or "educated."

Read more ...

Embracing Mommyhood
by Laurie Wolfrum

I do many things -  ballet teacher, dancer, writer, reader, photographer, friend, neighbor, thinker, analyzer, house executive as well as wife and mother.  All of them reflect me at one time or another and no matter what I do, I am always a person.  I am a person choosing what to do with each moment.  How do you choose to spend your time?  What do you deem most important?  Does it change with the circumstances of your life?

Read more ...

A Mother's Worth
by Chaley-Ann Scott

In our society it has become popular for women to return to work about six months after a baby is born.  It is expected even more so if the woman has been 'educated' that she would want to return to her career and put her children into care for many hours per week.  We are told that this is good for women and good for children.  We are told that as strong women motherhood shouldn't rule our lives and we should be able to carry on our careers as before and have no drop in our standard of living.  Our children will they will be happier and independent mixing with other children their own age, and we will be able to afford to give them the important things in life like nice clothes, good food, holidays every year, two cars and a nice house in a good area. 

Read more ...

We All Have Special Needs
by Chaley-Ann Scott

My wonderful son Jack was 'labelled' as having CAPD, ADD and ODD.  A real 'alphabet' kid he rapidly collected letters after his name by way of explaining why he resisted authority and wasn't learning the 'right' things in the 'right' way at the 'right' time.

After a long, heart-rending process of research and deliberation, and ultimately a move into radical unschooling, I discovered that our boy was perfectly fine just as he was.  I realised that it wasn't him that needed to be fixed - he was not broken. The only things that needed fixing were the expectations of the adults in his life (teachers and us). Now Jack is free to be who he is and that is pretty amazing and we now have a happy, thriving, label-free boy.

Read more ...

Beautiful Kids vs. Brutal Honesty
by Ronit Baras

Last week, I ran 3 parenting workshops and there was one topic that came up over and over again - the truth about your kids. While I was describing research, education methods, philosophy and personal development techniques to raise happy and successful kids, some people were very concerned about telling kids the truth.

I find the concept of "the truth" very problematic and the seed of many difficulties in life. Every small problem in life just makes this seed grow poisonous roots of inadequacy, self-doubt and fear.

Read more ...

Being "In Control"- The Possible and Impossible in Parenting
by Patty Wipfler

Parents are expected to stay "in control" of their lives, their children, and themselves. Some major parts of this expectation are impossible to fulfill! But because there is no way to learn parenting skills and truths ahead of time, we parents struggle and worry when we don't seem to be "in control," or when being "in control" means being harsh with our children. Let's first outline the things no parent can fully control.

Read more ...

The other side of Trust
by Jenna

Two months ago I wrote about trust from the perspective of parents trusting their children. There is another side of trust: children trusting their parents. If you feel like it's hard to trust your children think about what it's like to be a child. Children are completely dependent on the adults in their life. If your child doesn't trust you they don't have the option of grounding you or punishing you or creating consequences for your behavior. It's daunting to think of all the different areas of life, all the little things, all the possible ways that we can betray our child's trust. And if we screw that up it will affect our child's relationships for a long time, possibly for the rest of their life. Are you worthy of your child's trust?

Read more ...

Be your child's friend…
by boheime

My in-laws were visiting us one time, long before we had children. We had gone out to eat and as we sat there in the restaurant, they began to lecture. "You can't be your child's friend. You have to be the parent. Parents will always be parents." The irony of what they said as they sat talking to their adult son seemed to be lost on them. He was grown. He no longer needed a parent, and because his parents were never his friends, they really had no place left in his life.

Read more ...

"What? No Bedtimes?!"
by Pam Laricchia

This is one of the classic questions often asked by people as they start reading unschooling information around the internet. It's also a common source of misinterpretation and the cause of chaotic energy in families as they move to unschooling.

The idea behind this often-seen axiom is not that "As unschoolers we don't force our kids to do things so we don't have bedtimes." Sure, that's a pretty easy interpretation to jump to, especially when first learning about unschooling and it all seems rather foreign - it makes some sense on the surface. But the real reason behind the idea is so much more, and different, than "Leave your child to their own devices until they drop, exhausted."

Read more ...

The S Word - Toddlers Learning to Share
by Janet Lansbury

It's chanted on every playground and enforced at the park, parties and play dates. It's a word that has become the social mantra for parents of toddlers everywhere: Share!

We are all desperate for our children to share. Sharing is vital. The future of the world depends upon our children's spirit of generosity. We fear that if we don't remind our children to share, they might become selfish, stingy outcasts. Or, we worry that we will be judged an indulgent, inconsiderate and ill-mannered parent.

The truth is ...

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Pinky McKay

Who Knows?
by Gal Baras

Motivation can be external or internal. That is, a person can be prompted, encouraged or coerced to do something by somebody else, or they can do it for their own reasons.

Kids, being so young and dependent, begin their life by mimicking their parents and other carers and by following their instructions. "Those big, loving, all-knowing creatures that take care of me must be right, so it's best to be guided by them", they reason.

Read more ...

Never Underestimate A Five Year Old
by Dr. Marty

Last week I played a game called "Set" with my 5-year-old.  Set is a fun game that requires some pretty sophisticated thinking.   I  didn't know if  she could handle a full game of set, but I thought I would try it anyway.  Well, she surprised me.  Even though she just turned 5 last week, she is capable of so much.  Now,  I'm not saying that she is a genius.  Rather, I'd make the point that average intelligence is still one of the most powerful forces the universe has ever produced.  We would do well to accept this fact.  When it comes to intelligence, however one defines it, average means powerful.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Dagmara Elminowska

Why Picture Books Matter
by Susan Gaissert

I read the saddest thing in The New York Times a few weeks ago. It was this headline: Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children. How can that be, I thought? Picture books are childhood: big and colorful, imaginative, full of whimsy and stories to tell, brimming with new information, funny, clever, and over much too soon.

But the article reports that booksellers are seeing a definite downturn in picture book sales. Blame the same pressure that is causing the Race to Nowhere syndrome. NYT writer Julie Bosman tells of parents pushing "big-kid" books on toddlers, out of fear that mere picture books will be a waste of their precious time-the time they need to constantly be moving toward the college that will guarantee their lifelong "success."

Read more ...

'Ready to Learn' Equals Easier to Educate
by Alfie Kohn

The phrase "ready to learn," frequently applied to young children, is rather odd when you stop to think about it, because the implication is that some kids aren't. Have you ever met a child who wasn't ready to learn -- or, for that matter, already learning like crazy? The term must mean something much more specific -- namely, that some children aren't yet able (or willing) to learn certain things or learn them in a certain way.

Specifically, it seems to be code for "prepared for traditional instruction." And yes, we'd have to concede that some kids are not ready to memorize their letters, numbers, and colors, or to practice academic skills on command. In fact, some children continue to resist for years since they'd rather be doing other kinds of learning. Can you blame them?

Read more ...

Summit on Learning at the White House
by Jenna

Dear Mr. President,

I have read books and articles about the problems with our country's approach to education.  I have taken my children out of the school system because it wasn't meeting their needs, and subsequently I have seen them blossom into life learners at home.  I have been learning more about how children learn.  The more I learn the more I wonder if you, and the people in Washington who affect school policy and funding, are paying attention.  Is anyone reading the research and studies about how children learn?  Is anyone considering how we could better meet the needs of our children, instead of trying to force our children to fit into an antiquated system?

Read more ...

In education conversations, the mutually assured destruction is "Prove it!"
by Clark Aldrich, author of
Unschooling Rules

When discussing any of the "rules" in Unschooling Rules, a skeptic may reasonably say, "Prove it."

For example, consider Rule 45, "Tests don't work. Get over it. Move on." Can I prove that tests don't work?

Here are some thoughts.

Read more ...

Public Schooling Revolt Begins; Will Last for Years
by Linda Dobson

Part 1

Recently, a reader wrote to compliment and ask how I see school/education trends coming. My answer, likely, was disappointing in its simplicity. Collect schooling news for a brief period of time; voila, the trend reveals itself.

The current trend reveals hard times and heartache for families whose children attend public schools. One way or another the "Lake Wobegone Effect" of thinking one's own child's school is fine while it's all the others "out there" having problems is disappearing, as parents and students alike discover the breadth and depth of failure in their own neighborhoods.

Read more ...

Part 2

Part 3

There's one answer. It's at the back. And don't look.
by Derek Markham

As a lifelong learning enthusiast, I'm always looking to continue my education, and I've found some amazing resources to do so that are accessible and affordable (read "free"). And as a homeschooling dad, I'm really interested in ideas about the hows and whys of learning, because it informs me (as an accidental teacher) to be better able to help them with their education.

One of the reasons behind our choice to homeschool was our own experiences with the educational system in our country. I emphasize 'system', because that seems to be the problem: the system of education that asks us all to believe a common set of assumptions, which are pretty much outdated and untrue, and which wastes the potential of many children.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to mamapoekie

High Score Education
Games, not school, are teaching kids to think
by James Paul Gee

The US spends almost $50 billion each year on education, so why aren't kids learning? Forty percent of students lack basic reading skills, and their academic performance is dismal compared with that of their foreign counterparts. In response to this crisis, schools are skilling-and-drilling their way "back to basics," moving toward mechanical instruction methods that rely on line-by-line scripting for teachers and endless multiple-choice testing. Consequently, kids aren't learning how to think anymore - they're learning how to memorize. This might be an ideal recipe for the future Babbitts of the world, but it won't produce the kind of agile, analytical minds that will lead the high tech global age. Fortunately, we've got Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Deus X for that.

Read more ...

5 Things Unschooling Is Not, and 5 Things Unschooling Is
by Idzie

Lists are fun. I like writing lists. So here are a couple of short ones on what Unschooling is, and is not.

Read more ...

When is reading "REAL" reading?
by Sandra Dodd

Schools assert that children are reading at six, or seven, and George Bush thinks a presidential edict can assure that all children read by eight, but if they can only read at school (meaning they can read the lessons and readers their reading group is memorizing at school, or can read other materials carefully constructed to contain the same few dozen words) is it really reading?

Yes, and no.

Read more ...

An unschooling surprise: Sandra Dodd is in the house!
by Kim H

Oh my goodness! I feel like I am 14 years old and John Farnham has just said hello to me! (That would have been a dream come true for me when I was 14 years old...that and meeting Andrew Hoy or Vicki Roycroft!).

I have just experienced a most wonderful privilege and honour. Sandra Dodd has given me some of her precious time so that I could interview her for my Home Ed Week series of blog posts.

Read more ...

12 Dozen Places To Educate Yourself Online For Free
Marc and Angel Hack Life

All education is self-education.  Period.  It doesn't matter if you're sitting in a college classroom or a coffee shop.  We don't learn anything we don't want to learn.

Those people who take the time and initiative to pursue knowledge on their own are the only ones who earn a real education in this world.  Take a look at any widely acclaimed scholar, entrepreneur or historical figure you can think of.  Formal education or not, you'll find that he or she is a product of continuous self-education.

If you're interested in learning something new, this article is for you.  Broken down by subject and/or category, here are several top-notch self-education resources I have bookmarked online over the past few years.

Read more ...

Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked 
by Henry Jenkins

A large gap exists between the public's perception of video games and what the research actually shows. The following is an attempt to separate fact from fiction.

Read more ...


Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers

"From rockets to stock markets, many of humanity's most thrilling creations are powered by math. So why do kids lose interest in it? Conrad Wolfram says the part of math we teach -- calculation by hand -- isn't just tedious, it's mostly irrelevant to real mathematics and the real world. He presents his radical idea: teaching kids math through computer programming."

Watch at (17 mins 19 secs)

Thank you for that item to Jonathan Fields


"Going to school is a childhood ritual for millions of people across the world. But a growing number of families say learning doesn't need to be confined to school. They're called unschoolers. Their children don't go to school, and are free to explore topics that interest them. There are no tests or work books, but parents say, there's plenty of learning. Hear what one father has to say about his family's decision to unschool."

Unschooling dad Joe Martin on WGME13 [Portland, Maine, USA] News Extra.

Watch at (4 mins 15 secs)

The Unschooler's Emporium presents ... Radical Unschooling

A short video from The Unschooler's Emporium overviewing what "Unschooling is ..."

Watch at (1 min 5 secs)

The Unschooler's Emporium presents ... Sandra Dodd

A Q&A with unschooling legend Sandra Dodd.

Watch at (4 mins 1 sec)


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

Magical Parent-Magical Child

A new third edition has just been published of this great book by Michael Mendizza and Joseph Chilton Pearce.

"Magical Parent-Magical Child, the Optimum Learning Relationship is the first book to define parenting, coaching and educating children as developmental, transformative practices for adults. The central theme of the book is the transformation of childhood through the transformation of adults. Our goal is to optimize the adult-child interface by applying the proven strategies that allow top athletes and other specialists to consistently perform at extraordinary levels. If optimum learning, performance and well-being is the goal when relating to tennis balls and hockey pucks, what about you and I? What about our children? Do they, or we, deserve anything less?"

Find out more at Touch The Future

The Conscious Parent

A book by Dr. Shefali Tsabary.

Transforming Ourselves Empowering our Children

"This innovative parenting style recognizes the child's potential to spark a deep soul-searching leading to transformation in parents. Instead of being merely the receiver of the parents' psychological and spiritual legacy, children function as ushers of the parent's development.

Once parents are learning alongside their children, power, control, and dominance become an archaic language. Instead, mutual kinship and spiritual partnership are the focus of the parent-child journey."

For more information please visit

Thank you for that item to Denise Deeves

Steve Biddulph

"Steve Biddulph is a psychologist and one of the world's best known parenting authors.  His books, including  Secret of Happy Children, The New Manhood, and Raising Boys, are in four million homes and 31 languages.  They have influenced the way we look at childhood and especially the development of boys and men. ...

He was voted Australian Father of the Year in 2000 for his work encouraging the role of fathers. He lives in Tasmania with his wife Sharon, a large extended family, and assorted wombats."

Neufeld Institute

The new website of Dr. Gordon Neufeld, author of the best selling book Hold On To Your Kids.

Unschool Australia!

Children living and learning naturally... at home and in the community

The new website of Australian homeschooling legend Beverley Paine.

Get all the exciting details at

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

Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Self-esteem & Emotional Intelligence

News of Keith Gilbert's Developing Emotional Intelligence workshops held in Sydney, Australia. Keith is the author of Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Liberating Parents, my favourite parenting book ever.

For more information please visit

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 12 December 2010

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

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

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