The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

12 December 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 26 articles, 2 audios, 4 videos 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!




Attachment is ….
by Chris White M.D.

Attachment can be looked at from many different angles, but in broad terms:

Attachment is the scientific study of human relationships.

Since the early 1950s the research has been accumulating and it all says the same basic thing: The relationship with the caregiver(s) is the single most powerful and modifiable influence on the developing mind and brain of a child. This relationship affects how the child will think. It affects how they will feel. It affects how they will relate to others. It influences their behavior. And most importantly, it significantly impacts how they will experience themselves and the people around them throughout their life.

Read more ...

The Brains of Our Fathers: Does Parenting Rewire Dads?
Fathers and their children rewire one another's neurons
by Brian Mossop

Last May, I took a trip to San Diego for my brother-in-law's graduation from college, and to meet his 4-month old son, Landon, for the first time. Throughout the weekend, I couldn't suppress my inner science nerd, and often found myself probing my nephew's foot reflexes. Pressured from my wife's disapproving looks and the blank stares I received from her family as I explained why his toes curled this way or that, I dropped the shop-talk in favor of baby-talk.

Having spent my postdoctoral career in neuroscience, brain development is particularly fascinating to me. But on this family visit, more striking than the baby's neurodevelopment was the re-development of my 26-year-old brother-in-law.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Sarah Buckley

Lessons from a Homebirth Practice
by John Stevenson

I was a doctor in general practice for almost 20 years. Then, quite accidentally, I became involved in homebirths when a patient suffering agoraphobia wanted to birth her baby at home. Bookings escalated so that within a year, I had to abandon general practice.

Read more ...

Bonding with your baby - the critical importance of vitamin T - (for touch)
by Pinky McKay

Kissing, tickling, blowing raspberries…. how can you resist that delicious baby fine skin or the precious giggles and chuckles as your little one responds to your loving touch?

Vitamin T - for touch, that is - is just as important a nutrient for your baby as the nutrition in the food he eats: touch is the first sense to develop, just days after conception and it is important to maintain health and well-being for a whole lifetime.

Read more ...

INTACT: Let's use correct terminology
from Peaceful Parenting

I would like to challenge everyone to start using correct, scientific terminology when it comes to the intact boy, intact man, and intact penis.

They are INTACT.

Not 'uncircumcised'.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Joanne Foster

What Is Peaceful Parenting?
by mamapoekie

Peaceful Parenting is often misunderstood, because it does not look like any form of discipline most of us grew up with. But what then is peaceful parenting?

To discipline means to teach and what peaceful parenting strives to do is to delocalize this teaching experience from the realm of the parent to that of the child. Thus discipline becomes about learning instead of about teaching, with parents acting as an interpreter and a guide.

Read more ...

Living by Consent: The Life Learning Mystery Tour
by Jan Fortune-Wood

Living by consent is not about giving in or self-sacrificing to demanding brats who are never satisfied. Nor is it about neglectfully abandoning children to their own devices without input. It is just what it says: a way of finding mutual solutions, which respect the autonomy of all concerned and which help to foster our growing resourcefulness, reasonableness and knowledge. What stands in our way, most of all, are false ideas, many of which are deeply entrenched and not fully articulated. But we are not enslaved to our ideas, even if challenging them is a lifetime's project.

Read more ...

Getting Out of the Way
by Naomi Aldort

My husband and I are often complimented on our children's behavior and demeanor. People think that we discipline them. We don't. It is ourselves we discipline.

We meet our children's needs, provide for their protection, and expose them to life's possibilities. We do not, however, meddle in their play, their learning, their creativity, or any other form of growth. We love, hug, feed, share, listen, respond, and participate when asked. Yet, we keep our children free of insult and manipulation resulting from "helpful" comments and ideas - influences to which children are so sensitive in their state of dependency.

Read more ...

Does the Santa Legend Endanger Trust?
by Jan Hunt
A close friend and I had an interesting discussion recently about the Santa Question. Is it OK to tell a child that Santa Claus is real? Is this a harmless "white lie", an innocent and loving attempt to give a child the pleasure of make-believe, and the reassurance of fitting into our culture, or is it essentially and inescapably a lie that can affect the child's critical capacity to trust?
Read more ...

Emotions are Not Bad Behavior
by Robin Grille

One of the most commonly heard parental laments is about how children try to get attention. So many behaviors that adults don't like are brushed off as "merely" attention-seeking devices. "Don't worry about him," we say, "he is just doing it to get attention."

When children use oblique ways to get attention, such as causing a ruckus, exaggerating or feigning their hurts, picking on other children, showing off, being coquettish - they risk being ignored or put down, as nearby adults roll their eyes in exasperation. Sometimes, this also happens to children even when they directly and openly call for the attention they crave. Instead of scorning the child, why don't we ask these questions: When a child is being manipulative, instead of direct, how did he learn to do this? How did he come to feel that he shouldn't openly ask for a hug, an answer to his question, sympathy or just to be noticed or played with?

Read more ...

Children Don't Really Misbehave
by Thomas Gordon, Ph.D.
Most parents and teachers think of children as either "behaving'' or misbehaving.'' This labeling of behavior as "good" and "bad" begins when the child is quite young. In our [P.E.T. and T.E.T.] training programs we try to help parents see that children don't really misbehave.

Interestingly enough, the term is almost exclusively applied to children - seldom to adults.
Read more ...

"Problem Behaviors"
by Jenna

Someone contacted my husband asking if he would be willing to help them with their child's problem behaviors. When I mentioned this to my 14 year old daughter she laughed.  Then she said something like, "To us the solution is so obvious."  And what was the solution that was so obvious to a teenager?  The child had needs that weren't being met. 

Read more ...

Family Time
by Jenna

I've been hearing a lot about "family time" from my children lately.  Mostly along the lines of their friends not being able to play or hang out because families were having "family time."  I think families spending time together is great!  I love it when my husband and children are with me and we are enjoying time together.  Families who have activities that they all enjoy doing are fortunate in that they have a natural way to spend time together.  Creating family traditions, such as game or movie night, can be a lot of fun.  If you are big fan of "family time" I ask you to remember this: nothing is more important than your relationship with your children, not even family time.

Read more ...

Be Kind to Everyone
by Jenna

Being kind to everyone includes being kind to our children, our partners, and ourselves.  Kindness begins at home.  When children live in a world of kindness they internalize being kind, they understand that when someone is kind to you it feels warm and fuzzy, and they understand that when you are kind to someone else you both feel blessed. Children who experience kindness and respect in their homes are more likely treat others they meet with kindness and respect.

Read more ...

Force Fed - The Detrimental Habit of Forcing Food and Information on Children
by Laurette Lynn

Preparing dinner for my family one night I experienced first a frustration and then an epiphany! It was a frustration I suppose many mothers experience followed by an epiphany only few of us do. I'm thankful for the latter and am driven to share the significance of this revelation.

Read more ...

That's stupid. So I'm not going to do it anymore.
from Bohemian Bowmans

I am a questioner.  I just am.

I see everything in layers and take practically nothing at face value.  I can't stop myself, I question everything and constantly seek deeper definitions for simple things.

So you can only imagine what happened to my brain when I saw this this morning.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Susan Gaissert

If you send your children to school, you are inhibiting schools reform
by Clark Aldrich

Throughout history, no monopoly (or perhaps more accurately, no Keireitsu) has ever reformed itself. Equally true, no monopoly has ever been reformed by its current customers.

One of the greatest examples of wishful thinking is the adults who pretend they want schools to change significantly, but still send their children to them.

Read more ...

The Messages of Unschooling Rules
by Clark Aldrich

I was asked in an interview the other day to summarize what the key message of Unschooling Rules is. There are a few. Here they are, by group ...

Read more ...

Learning What Is Not Necessary
by Stephanie

Recently on a local homeschool list, the discussion turned to the idea of how we define what is "important to learn".  Can you really say that there are things that  are not necessary to learn and how do you make that determination? Some people had good arguments about the benefits of having kids learn things that they may or may not be interested in and others made the argument that kids, if given a wealth of exposure, will learn what they need to know.

I think that all homeschoolers wrestle with these types of questions, regardless of their homeschool philosophy.

Read more ...

Things You Really Need To Learn
by Stephen Downes

Guy Kawasaki once wrote an item describing "10 things you should learn this school year" in which readers were advised to learn how to write five sentence emails, create powerpoint slides, and survive boring meetings. It was, to my view, advice on how to be a business toady. My view is that people are worth more than that, that pleasing your boss should be the least of your concerns, and that genuine learning means something more than how to succeed in a business environment.

But what should you learn?

Read more ...

Transforming Family Life And Learning Through Homeschooling (Part One of Two)
by Linda Dobson

"Some teach their children at home for very clearly defined political, religious, philosophical, or pedagogical reasons, while others - perhaps even a majority - would be hard-pressed to say why, exactly, they teach their children at home," say Micki and David Colfax, authors of Homeschooling for Excellence (Warner Books).

Wait. It gets even more complicated: "Some teach their children at home because of what is being taught in the schools, while others choose to homeschool because of what is not being taught," the Colfaxes continue. "And some regard homeschooling as a radical action, while others see it as an essentially conservative undertaking."

Read more ...

Part Two

Unschooling is Not Relaxed Homeschooling
by Idzie

Sometimes, I wonder if I'm being rigid or judgmental somehow in my insistence that unschooling does have a somewhat agreed upon definition, and that it would be nice if people who choose to use the term unschooling agreed with the general understanding of the word.

Some would argue that there is no real consensus on what unschooling is, but I'd say that's not really true, because if you look at the main unschooling websites, the Wikipedia article on unschooling, and if you go to workshops at any unschooling conference or read any of the books out there on unschooling, you will find a definite consensus.

Read more ...

Understanding Life Learning
by Wendy Priesnitz

Life learning (sometimes called unschooling or self-directed learning) is one of those concepts that is almost easier to define by saying what it isn't, than what it is. And that's probably because our own schooled backgrounds have convinced us that learning happens only in a dedicated building on certain days, between certain hours, and managed by a specially trained professional.

Read more ...

Free Range Learners
by Laura Weldon

Once reams of instructional books languished on our shelves. Shiny packaged educational programs with CDs or tapes sat waiting for my children to learn foreign language, history and math. But they always had better things to do.

Read more ...

Free to Socialize in Real Society
by Naomi Aldort

Six-year-old Yonatan was sitting at an outdoor coffee-house with two older ladies (relatives whom he had never met before,) carrying on a lively conversation about unschooling. I decided to leave them for a while to accomplish a couple of errands, taking my toddler with me.

When we returned, the discussion was still going on full swing, with all three passionately engaged in the subject of growing up without schooling. After a few more minutes, one of the women said to me, "I am now convinced. He is making a lot of sense. I have only one question; what about socializing?"

"What about it?" I asked waving my arm to show the social interaction between the three of them.

Read more ...

The 5 Essential Elements of Relational Nourishment
by Chris White M.D.

The first thing that we need to remember is that the drive to be connected to the ones we love is the pre-eminent drive in the human psyche and we each have within us an alarm system that signals when that connection feels threatened. Right relationship, at its essence, is a clear and consistent communication to our child:

There is nothing in this world that can separate you from me. I will take the lead in caring for you, protecting you, guiding you, and making you feel like the blessed gift you are to me and our entire family.

When we are in right relationship with our children they maintain their contact with their basic trust in the universe and the inherent value that resides at the core of every  human heart.

As I currently see it, there are five essential elements of relational nourishment for our children ...

Read more ...


Free Teleseminars: Connection Parenting with Pam Leo

"On January 21, 2008, Pam Leo joined Rebecca Thompson for a discussion about parenting from a place of love instead of fear. Practical tips and examples were shared."

Listen at (length not known)

"On June 17, 2008, Pam Leo joined Rebecca Thompson for a discussion about loving alternatives in discipline. They explored ideas to help you teach your child appropriate behaviors while creating connection."

Listen at (length not known)

Thank you for that item to Ellen C. Braun

The Unplugged Mom Radio Show

"The Radio Show for the unplugged educator and out-of-the-box parent! Lively interactive education on home education and beyond. We are unplugged from the mainstream and the status quo. Join us every Sunday night to unplug with us!

Organic family living, holistic parenting, alternative health, home education and more.

Tune in every SUNDAY night 8pm PT, 10pm CT, 11pm ET" [USA]

Listen at


Become a Better Parent

""It is not what happened to you as a child that matters, it's how you make sense of what happened to you." Scientific research shows that how we make sense of our own pasts helps determine how we relate to our own children. Dr. Daniel Siegel explains why understanding our childhood experiences is so important in raising our kids."

Watch on YouTube (2 mins 29 secs)

Thank you for that item to Lyla Wolfenstein

Question and Answer with Author Michelle Starkey

"Michelle is an author, artist and parenting coach. Her first book is the award-winning book of affirmations for children entitled, Do You Know Who You Are? A beautiful combination of inspirational sayings and animal paintings by Michelle, it's sure to delight children of all ages, including the child within.

Her second book, a parenting book entitled, Do You Know Who Your Children Are? was released in April 2008. It is a timely inspection of the problems parents are facing today with their childrens behavior and the tips for resolving the issues, including parents working on their own behavior. This self-discovery guide will help parents realize the many gifts children bring into their lives. Whether your child is an indigo, crystal or rainbow kid (or you choose not to label them at all) this book is sure to help you gain insight into your parent-child relationship!"

Watch at (1 min 56 secs)

Sal Khan

"What started as algebra lessons for his cousins has turned into a world-changing project. Hundreds of thousands of users worldwide have benefited from Sal Khan's friendly, accessible Youtube videos explaining math, science, and other subjects - all at

Sal has a vision of teaching the entire world, for free. His not-for-profit Khan Academy has the mission of "providing a high quality education to anyone, anywhere." In this outstanding Gel video, Sal describes the elements of the good experience he's trying to create."

Watch at (20 mins 5 secs)

Thank you for that item to Steve Kaufmann

Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!

"In this poignant, funny follow-up to his fabled 2006 talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning -- creating conditions where kids' natural talents can flourish."

Watch at (16 mins 48 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

The Natural Child: Audio Version

"The Natural Child: Parenting From the Heart by Jan Hunt is now available on Audio CD, in a complete, unabridged edition with a total running time of 3½ hours (3 discs).

With its clear focus on mutual respect, The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart offers a loving and respectful approach to raising a happy, trusting and confident child."

Currently selling at a 33% discount.

More information at

The Essential Parenting Home Course

"Essential Parenting is a practice-oriented parent education program that optimizes the developmental potential of both children and their parents. Based on a variety of teachings including the work of Gordon Neufeld, Daniel Siegel's Interpersonal Neurobiology, Ken Wilber's Integral Theory, and the Diamond Approach created by Hameed Ali, Essential Parenting's unique parenting classes are designed to help you align with your children as they are in the present moment. In each parenting class, we combine cutting-edge developments in Interpersonal Neurobiology with spiritual practices like mindfulness meditation, somatic practices, and inquiry. Essential Parenting classes will empower you to return to your naturally wise and loving heart. In doing so, we support our children in becoming more fully themselves while also creating a ripple effect of wholeness, confidence, and well-being in our communities and on our planet." - Dr. Christopher White, Essential Parenting.

Download Week 1 of The Essential Parenting Home Course absolutely free.

Get the details at

Letter to Conscious Parents Everywhere

Sarah J Buckley MD

"Would you like to increase your confidence in your body and your chance of a gentle, safe, natural, labor and birth?

Would you like a head-start with your gentle birth and parenting choices, so that caring for your baby can be as safe, easy and pleasurable as possible?

Do you need the best solid, scientific evidence about gentle birth and gentle mothering so that you can understand the benefits for your baby, your family and yourself?

On this site, Sarah J Buckley MD, family physician/GP, mother of four, and author of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering gives you the best medical information in easy to understand language, so that you can be informed, supported, nourished and inspired as you embark on your extraordinary journey, bringing new life into the world."

Subscribe to Sarah's newsletter and receive a copy of her free ebook Ecstatic Birth.

Child Honoring

"Sharna Olfman joins Raffi Cavoukian to introduce his original philosophy, Child Honouring-a compassionate revolution in values, a children-first approach to global restoration.

This remarkable anthology outlines the unprecedented threats to life at this defining moment in history, and offers a novel and systemic remedy for societal transformation based on honouring our youngest and "most valuable players." Contributors from across many disciplines include renowned child development author Penelope Leach, Nobel Prize nominee Lloyd Axworthy, celebrated cultural historian Riane Eisler, bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver, and ecological economist Ron Colman."

Free PDF version available.

Find out more at

Thank you for that item to Sara McGrath

Always Learning Books

"How to get started with homeschooling and build success as a home educating family".

Explore the book catalog of Australian homeschooling legend Beverley Paine.


Unschooling Books

Visit the Unschoolers Emporium for Unschooling books.

"From Our Hearts To Your Home"

Authors include Wendy Priesnitz, Dayna Martin, Alison McKee, Chaly-Ann Scott, Sandra Dodd, Naomi Aldort, Sara McGrath, Pat Farenga, Linda Dobson and Jan Hunt.

"HOLIDAY SPECIAL!!! Buy either Label Love Soft Cover or The Unchained Child Soft Cover and receive BOTH EBOOKS FREE!!!" (Newly published books by Chaley-Ann Scott)

Get all the details at

The Big Book of Unschooling

A whole page about Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling.

"A book of wisdom for parents who are already "unschooling" and for parents who are thinking about it .

Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling answers every question any parent could ask, or at the very least puts them on the right track to an answer.

It's my recommendation to anybody who is curious to know what "unschooling" is really all about."

More at

The Unschooler Experiment

"The Unschooler Experiment is ... an exploration of the lasting influence of home education and a celebration of people who question and experiment. We have a section on unschooling basics for parents and journalists, and the rest of the site will be of general interest, too, and but we're not here for that. We're here to find meaning and understanding in our own lives." - Peter Kowalke, The Unschooler Experiment

Discover more about The Unschooler Experiment at

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 2 January 2011

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

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

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