The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

2 January 2011

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 24 articles 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!




The First Birth - No Do-Overs Currently Available
by Mama Birth

I think every person who supports women in having a great birth hates to hear these words:

"Well, with my next birth I will do XYZ differently, but with this one I can't......"

Deep breath.

Some other phrases that drive me mad (or just make me want to impress on the new mother-to-be how important these choices are) are these ...

Read more ...

How to Change the Distorted View of Normal Birth
by Birth Without Fear

My oldest daughter is 7. She has recently been asking many questions about birth as she sees and hears my passion for it. Tonight the conversation went like this:

Cutie Pie: "Mom, I wish babies could just come to us instead of having to birth them."

Me: "Why honey?"

Cutie Pie: "Well, because most moms need to go to the hospital to give birth and that's not good."

Me: "No honey, very few moms need to. Most moms can birth at home, like I did with the baby."

Cutie Pie: "Does it hurt? Is it painful?"

Me: "It is not painful, it is intense."

Cutie Pie: "Mom, did they use those on me?" (We were looking at a picture of a baby being pulled out by forceps)

Me: "No!"

Cutie Pie: "Oh good. Can you show me normal birth…like how babies are supposed to come out?!"

Read more ...

Babies Smarter Than Many Imagine
from The Natural Child Project

A new [May 2009] study from Northwestern University shows what many mothers already know: their babies are a lot smarter than others may realize.

Though only five months old, the study's cuties indicated through their curious stares that they could differentiate water in a glass from solid blue material that looked very much like water in a similar glass.

The finding that infants can distinguish between solids and liquids at such an early age builds upon a growing body of research that strongly suggests that babies are not blank slates who primarily depend on others for acquiring knowledge. That's a common assumption of researchers in the not too distant past.

"Rather, our research shows that babies are amazing little experimenters with innate knowledge," Susan Hespos said. "They're collecting data all the time."

Read more ...

Intuition vs. Expert Advice
by Lu Hanessian

Living in a left brain world of logic and linear thinking, parents can easily and unwittingly buy into a ducks-in-a-row approach to parenting where techniques and strategies are employed to control and manage kids. The issue is not whether it "works"" or whether it's "effective," but rather whether this mindset and stance allows for any real connection.

Once we are focused on tactics, we cannot trust. The process, others or ourselves.

Read more ...

by Teresa Graham Brett

The cycle of socialization provides us with misinformation about children as a social identity group that perpetuates their status as less than full human beings. We hear and learn while growing up that we cannot be trusted. As adults, we are told that children are manipulative, even from birth. As parents we are expected to lay down the law and children should obey, "just because I said so." It is believed that children have to be forced to learn, despite the fact that in the first three years of their lives they learn the very complex processes of walking and talking without being formally taught. The message is clearly communicated through our institutions, medical professionals, and other adults that children must be controlled or they will not become productive members of society.

Read more ...

Cycle of Liberation
by Teresa Graham Brett

After I began developing an awareness of how the system of oppression and cycle of socialization reinforce dominance and control over children, I started to think about what it would mean if I were able to transform myself and my relationships with children.

How is it I could co-create an existence with the children in my life that is characterized by mutuality, respect, interdependence, authenticity, growth, learning, support, love, hope and joy? How would it be to live this kind of life within the context of the current state of our society?

Read more ...

Attachment in the lab, implications on the couch (and in the brain)
by privilegeofparenting

In bare bones and admittedly simplified terms, I wish to share some emerging understandings from the cutting edge of attachment research and interpersonal neurobiology.

I am quite fortunate to have UCLA in my hood, and have just returned from a weekend conference there where the world's foremost experts in attachment research, Mary Hain and Erik Hesse, were down from Berkley and having a highly illuminating love-fest with their former student/spiritual son, and true brainiac, Dan Siegel.

Read more ...

Physical Nurturance Positively Affects Genes
by Laurie A. Couture

The quality of how physically affectionate and nurturing mothers and fathers are affects children holistically. Intense, constant and warm physical affection nurtures the parent-child attachment and ensures that it is secure. The parent-child attachment is the blueprint of a child's entire holistic developmental make up: Physically, emotionally, cognitively, creatively, socially, sexually, spiritually and genetically. Yes, the "nature vs. nurture" debate can rest upon the neurological research that shows that nurture affects genetics more than genetics affect nurturing behaviors. In other words, we shape our children's entire developmental make up, even their genetic expression, depending on the amount of and quality of the physical and emotional affection and nurturing that we share with them.

Read more ...

A New Way of Seeing Children
by Jan Hunt

A child's rambunctiousness in public embarrasses parents, because our society expects children to remain silent and to behave as though they are mature adults - a most unrealistic and uncaring expectation. Expecting the impossible can of course only lead to disappointment and frustration for both parents and children. Just like adults, children feel most cooperative when treated with kindness, understanding, and faith in their inherent good intentions. No adult feels cooperative when treated in a threatening, angry way by a spouse, employer, or friend. In fact, we feel hurt and resentful when treated that way, and far from cooperating, we often resist or retaliate. Why then do we expect children to respond with good behavior when treated with anger, threats, or punishment?

Read more ...

Transforming the Lives of Children
by Pam Leo

For the last two and a half years I have had the honor of working with a dedicated group of experts in human development and human potential from around the world. We all have traveled to work together and have each spent hundreds of hours on conference calls and email to distill the best scientific research and ancient wisdom on what treatment of children allows them to thrive. Together we have devoted over 6,000 hours to creating The Proclamation for Transforming the Lives of Children. This document contains Principles for optimal physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual development and a Blueprint of Actions designed to be a resource to guide parents and society in nurturing children to give them the best possible foundation for becoming healthy, happy, intelligent, loving, thriving human beings. Putting this information into the hands of parents and supporting parents in putting this information into practice has the potential to transform the lives of our children and our world.

Read more ...

The human givens approach
from the Human Givens Institute

The human givens approach is a set of organising ideas that provides a holistic, scientific framework for understanding the way that individuals and society work. This framework encompasses the latest scientific understandings from neurobiology and psychology, as well as ancient wisdom and original new insights.

At its core is a highly empowering idea - that human beings, like all organic beings, come into this world with a set of needs. If those needs are met appropriately, it is not possible to be mentally ill. Perhaps no more powerful a statement could ever be made about the human condition: If human beings' needs are met, they won't get depressed; they cannot have psychosis; they cannot have manic depression; they cannot be in the grip of addictions. It is just not possible.

Read more ...

Wholeness, not Perfectionism
by Christopher White MD

Sometimes when I speak about the importance of wholeness I see signs of fear and stress appear in parent's faces. For some, Preserving Wholeness is just one more thing that they have to do in their already busy lives. To others who are really doing their best to give their child everything that they themselves never had as a child, it's another place where they may "fail" and cause harm to their beloved children. It is heartbreaking to me, and the last thing I want to do to is precipitate fear in you - possibly the most conscious generation of parents the world has ever seen. So let me put this issue of Preserving Wholeness in a context.

Read more ...

Vindication of Trust
Feeling Good About Alternative Parenting Styles
by Pauline Mary Curley

John Holt's overriding message in his pioneering book How Children Learn (Classics in Child Development) can be condensed into one very simple concept: Trust children. He explains, however, that we adults find this difficult because "to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted."

Coming face-to-face with the realization that I actually had to learn how to trust myself was probably the most unexpected revelation of motherhood for me. Nothing prepared me for the learning that would take place alongside my rite of passage into motherhood. The enormity and the pace of it has been exponential, catapulting me headlong onto the steepest learning curve of my life!

Read more ...

Food as Love
by Jenna Robertson

Moms and food go together.  We imagine moms making chocolate chip cookies to go with the milk for the after school snack.  Jewish mothers, Italian mothers, and many others stereotypically encourage even their grown children to eat more.  Cooking food is how they show their love for you, eating more of what they cook is proof that you love them.  In some families dads and food go together, too.  Food is not just about calories and fuel for our bodies. The messages that go into the bowl along with the soup are many and complex.

Read more ...

A Mathematician's Lament
by Paul Lockhart

A musician wakes from a terrible nightmare. In his dream he finds himself in a society where music education  has been made mandatory. "We are helping  our students become more competitive in an increasingly sound-filled world." Educators, school systems, and the state are put in  charge of this vital project. Studies are commissioned, committees are formed, and decisions are made - all without the advice or participation  of a single working musician  or composer.

Read more ...

Nurturing Children's Natural Love of Learning
by Jan Hunt, M.Sc.

The main element in successful unschooling is trust. We trust our children to know when they are ready to learn and what they are interested in learning. We trust them to know how to go about learning. Parents commonly take this view of learning during the child's first two years, when he is learning to stand, walk, talk, and to perform many other important and difficult things, with little help from anyone. No one worries that a baby will be too lazy, uncooperative, or unmotivated to learn these things; it is simply assumed that every baby is born wanting to learn the things he needs to know in order to understand and to participate in the world around him. These one- and two-year-old experts teach us several principles of learning ...

Read more ...

Unschooling or Homeschooling?
by Billy Greer

What is the difference between unschooling and homeschooling? At one time they were just two terms for the same thing, so the question was like asking what the difference is between a car and an automobile. Today, homeschooling has remained a generic term while unschooling has come to refer to a specific type of homeschooling. So now the question is like asking what the difference is between a Ferrari and a car. Just what is it about unschooling that differentiates it from other types of homeschooling enough to warrant its own term?

Read more ...

Overcoming Anxieties About Unschooling
by Beverley Paine

Although we unschooled for years I was forever uneasy in my mind. Getting those definitions sorted out helped me. I prefer the term 'learning naturally' and believe that we learn in each and every minute - it's like breathing. Sometimes what we learn isn't what we thought we'd learn from a particular moment in time, but we're learning all the time.

Unschooling is an okay definition and serves a useful purpose but some people believe it's akin to permissive parenting and I don't think it's that at all. Homeschooling is too vague - it can mean school at home, correspondence education or whatever. I've done a little of everything with my children in a conscious way, including part time enrolment at school. The most successful approach to date is allowing them to learn naturally. It's way more efficient than any other method and seems to be able to encompass all methods of 'learning'.

Read more ...

How can one person hope to teach all those subjects?
by Simon Webb

Critics of home education tend in the main have a pretty limited repertoire of stock arguments which they level against the practice. Socialisation is of course one of these, as is the 'fact' that it is unhealthy for a child to spend all day in her parents company. The other old standby is, 'How can one person hope to teach all those subjects?' We saw a variation on this theme yesterday, when somebody commenting here quoted my saying that I did not trust anybody else to educate my child. This was taken to be a sign of some sort of mania. The very idea of it, that a parent could expect to provide a better education for his child than a school! One strongly suspects that this comment was not made by a home educator.

Read more ...

You Can Help Your Child Learn: The Learning Coach Approach
by Linda Dobson

The learning coach approach is for every parent who has watched a child she loves face a situation similar to the one the eldest of my three children was in. As he grew from infancy to school-age, my son was the most easy-going, laid back child I'd ever known. Accompanied by the typical oohs and aahs of reaching a cultural landmark, in 1984 he began attending half-day kindergarten. After six months of his beginning his day by stepping on to a yellow bus, I could no longer deny that he was changing for the worse. Despite my concerns his teacher repeatedly reassured me he was doing fine academically. Despite my questions the little six year-old couldn't articulate what might be causing the happy-go-lucky boy to slide into unhappiness, stomachaches, and disrespectful treatment of the baby sister he once adored. As it turned out, both in the classroom and with the bully on the bus ride home, my son was overburdened, agitated, and anxious, succumbing to physical and emotional stress increasingly affecting his health and well-being. Something had to change.

Read more ...

Why I Chose Not To Send My Child To School
by Kim H

I know how hard it is for those people around me, particularly my closest family and friends, to understand why I would choose to homeschool my child. I know that it is not the 'norm' and that I am choosing a path for him that will stick out at some, if not lots, of places during his childhood and into adulthood. I know that most of us have been schooled in the system and we seem to be coping with life OK. I know that most of the choices I have made for my child seem to be different to the majority of parents. I just want to let them all know that it's OK and I understand their confusion and perhaps frustration at me for choosing a minority way of life.

I also want them to know how I came to choose this path and how it's so beneficial for us to live this way.

Read more ...

Bureaucracy is the enemy of education
by Steve Kaufmann

Education should be a personal thing. It should be each individual's personal journey of discovery and growth. Education is being corrupted by government and bureaucracy. As we spend more and more of society's money in education, not directly as learners, but as tax-payers via massive organizations with their own agendas and interests, the responsibility and choices of individuals get lost, and the waste just gets larger and larger, and the results, the achievements just plummet.

Read more ...

Education has much to learn about online optimization
by Judy Breck

Everything a student needs to learn to be highly educated is now online for free. BUT almost none of that knowledge is optimized.

What does optimized online mean?

Read more ...

Mobile-only web use surging worldwide
by Judy Breck

Mobile advertising guru and renaissance guy Russell Buckley reports today on MobHappy:

Gen MO - Mobile-Only Generation:
[These are people who only access the web via their mobile phones. They don't have PCs.... ]

The latest survey shows that mobile-only usage is as high as 70% in Egypt and 59% in India, with the Big Four Asian markets (India, China, Indonesia, Thailand) coming in at an average of 43% and the Big Five African ones (South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya) even higher at 56%.

But the really big surprise for me is how many MOs we have in the US (25%) and the UK (22%).

Read more ...


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 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.

Education Revolution (Winter 2010/2011)

"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 the latest edition online here

Grown Unschoolers

"From 2004 to 2008, grown unschooler life learner Peter Kowalke wrote a column for Life Learning Magazine where he interviewed his fellow grown unschoolers life learners about what they're doing now and how their education affected that." ...

"The columns make for fascinating reading and we have archived a few of them on the magazine's website ..."

View the archive here

What Really Matters

A book by David H. Albert and Joyce Reed. Introduction by Wendy Priesnitz. Foreword by John Taylor Gatto.

"Two veteran homeschool advocates discuss what learning is really all about."

Learn more about the book at

Who do you want to be next year?

New Year resolutions? Goal setting? Or something else. Here's the NLP technique of "perceptual positions" with a twist, from Rintu Basu, author of Persuasion Skills Black Book. Useful for me, might be for you too.

Watch the video on YouTube (10 mins 2 secs)

Unschooling Rules will be shipping from Amazon on February 1st


The new edition of Clark Aldrich's Unschooling Rules: 55 Ways to Unlearn What We Know About Schools and Rediscover Education will be available from Amazon on the first day of February. Pre-orders available now.

More information about that here

Read my review of Unschooling Rules here

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

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