The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

13 February 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 28 articles and 13 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!




Parenting for Social Change

A newly published book by Teresa Graham Brett.

The first thing perhaps I could say about Parenting for Social Change is that it's very different from the parenting books I usually pay attention to because its subject matter is a way of parenting that's totally alien to me personally and has been for the more than 25 years I've been a dad. But, of course, I'm fully aware that the vast majority of parents would relate immediately to the "paradigm of control and domination" this book explores. It's what's considered normal by most people, parents or not.

This is a book that took courage to write and it deserves kudos for that to begin with. The author makes the case for our society to radically reconsider its traditional beliefs about children and childhood mainly through her own journey as a parent and I suspect that some parts of the story wouldn't have been easy to share.

The depth of analysis is superb. This is a book that uses both personal experience and current research to get a very firm grip on the structure of conventional controlling parenting and exposes its ultimate failings with clear logic. To quote from page 82: "Controlling parenting, despite its mainstream acceptance, damages children even as it fails to achieve the very goals on which it is allegedly focused." For me, Parenting for Social Change demonstrates that truth beyond any doubt.

Having hopefully been disabused of false ideas about what conventional parenting does to human children, the reader is then guided with the same meticulous attention to detail through a comparison between controlling parenting and ways of parenting that actively support the child in his or her growth and development, and ultimately along a pathway offering a happier and more fulfilling experience for both child and parent to tools of transformation for becoming the change we wish to see in the world.

Whenever I happen to be in a bookstore, I usually have a quick peek at the Parenting section and invariably note that I would put most of the books on show in the Management section where they belong. I would be very happy to replace them with Parenting for Social Change. How conventional parenting really works, what's wrong with that and why, what we can do instead to make our society a better place for children to grow up in. The complete package. Yes, excellent.

For further information about Parenting for Social Change and to order the book, please visit:


A review of the book Zenschooling by President of the Minnesota Homeschoolers Alliance Beth Balmanno.

, the newest offering by homeschooler and author Tammy Takahashi, is a gentle, affirming book filled with sage advice. The focus of the book is simple: by embracing the Zen principle of being present in each moment, of being mindful of where we are and what we are doing in our homeschooling, families can create a more peaceful, positive place…not just for learning but for living.

Incorporating Zen ideas and beliefs is easy, according to Tammy. After all, "The simple act of just being there with the children is mindfulness practice. We teach the best when we are fully present. We show our love for them the best when we are fully present." (pg. 9) With this in mind, Tammy shares with us a variety of situations and how we can adapt to them to better serve ourselves and our children in our pursuit of a peaceful, meaningful life without school."

Read the complete review at

"Would you like to win a copy of Zenschooling? All you need to do is click on the book cover at the top of every page at Parent at the Helm and leave a comment before the February 28, 2011 deadline! Don't miss the chance to add this book to your homeschool collection."


Why Mothers Kiss Their Babies
by Judie Rall

After a baby is born, it is natural to see the mother kissing the baby. One would think this is simply because of the emotional bond that has formed between mother and child. While this is true, there are also other very compelling biochemical reasons why it occurs.  These reasons reinforce the understanding that our bodies have inner wisdom which we seldom recognize or trust. Just as our bodies know how to give birth even if we don't have intellectual knowledge of the process, our bodies' biological systems also have reasons for the complex social interplay between mother and baby. It just goes to show that, more than ever, we should trust our mothering instincts.

Read more ...

Thank you for that item to Maire Stafford

Breastfeeding - getting it right
by Pinky McKay

The key to breastfeeding success is to know why you are doing it. If you understand in your heart and mind why breastfeeding is best for your body and breast milk is best for your baby, then you will be motivated to persevere through challenges.

Read more ...

Crying Cures - 15 ways to soothe the sobs
by Pinky McKay

Crying is your baby's language. At first, it is pretty much the only way an infant can communicate his needs and express feelings like discomfort, hunger, exhaustion and loneliness. It is also the only way he can release pent up stress.  As your baby grows he will learn other ways to communicate-through facial expressions, body language and, eventually, by telling you how he feels and what he needs. For now, though, here are some tips to help you soothe the sobs ...

Read more ...

Babywearing: A Natural Fashion Statement
by Andrea McMann

Babywearing is a growing trend these days, but it is as old as humankind. Although the actual term was coined by the author, pediatrician and attachment parenting proponent Dr. William Sears, baby carriers likely evolved very early in human history. "Perhaps…the need to support an altricial (completely helpless) newborn may even have contributed to the evolution of bipedalism (walking on two legs)," says Katherine Dettwyler, PhD., a professor of anthropology at the University of Delaware. "And some people have suggested that the first 'tool' made by early humans was some sort of sling or net carrying device." She goes on to explain that the earliest baby carriers were probably made of animal skin or plant fiber nets - "both things that do not preserve in the archeological record."

Read more ...

Motivating Kids
by Christine Carter, PhD, of Raising Happiness

This month, I focused on ways to motivate kids-without using bribes, rewards, or threats.

I also joined the firestorm of controversy around Amy Chua's article in the Wall Street Journal, which coincidentally centered around the best way to motivate kids.  Chua seemed to be advocating the use of coercion, threats, and bribes-not happiness habits!  CBS Sunday Morning came to Berkeley to talk to me about it, which was fun, and made clear that Chua's position is not as extreme as it first seemed.

Read more ...

Are Chinese Mothers Superior?
by Gal Baras

A good friend sent me an article called Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior from the Wall Street Journal. In it, the author claims that Chinese mothers are willing to put enormous pressure on their kids to succeed and the kids eventually realize their mothers are right. She writes, "A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it's like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I've done it".

Seems like a promising start, but then she writes, "Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do ...

Read more ...

Tiger Moms in Tigger Times
by privilegeof parenting

I doubt many parents have failed to find Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother blipping over their radar, Tigger-triggering little waves of unease.  But as the dust settles, I want to employ this latest meaningless tempest in a teacup to further the aim of facilitating calm amongst parents.

Read more ...

Don't They Love Their Children?
by mamapoekie

When parents do something to their children that seems so completely wrong and unnatural to you, it's very easy to wonder if those people even love their children at all. It's a trap we easily fall into in our dichotomous world of black and white, where parents either love their children, or they don't. I have to admit that I too have fallen into this trap, numerous times, because clearly, some parental behavior proves that some parents just don't love their children. Right?

Wrong! "Don't they love their children?" is something you should really really try to erase from your vocabulary.

Read more ...

Nine Ideas to Meaningfully Reconnect with Your Child
by Dionna from Code Name Mama

Think of a time that you have been away from your partner or friend. Days or weeks have passed, and you are anxiously awaiting the moment you will see her (or him). Something important has happened while she was away, and you want nothing more than to hug her close and share your news.

When you see your friend walk through the door, you run up excitedly, completely in the moment. But she has had a long trip, she is frazzled, she would rather just turn the radio on and tune the world out. She gives you a cursory hug, tells you to hurry up, and turns away.

And you are crushed.

Now imagine that your child is the one waiting for her friend, and you are the friend.

Read more ...

by Teresa Graham Brett

Mindfulness can be described as being focused on the present moment in a nonjudgmental way. When we are fully present in the moment, we are open to perceiving and responding to situations with greater flexibility and more options.

While conducting a literature review for my book, Parenting for Social Change, I was excited to find research from 2007, in mainstream publications, about the positive and transformative role of mindfulness in parenting. Researchers studied the impact of mindfulness training and practice in parenting and found that mothers of children diagnosed with developmental disabilities had significant positive results from mindfulness in their parenting.

Read more ...

The Power of Choice
by Chris White

Despite it being 15 degrees outside and snowing, Seneca wanted to wear her bathing suit to kindergarten. Her endlessly patient mother gave her several good reasons why that was not a good idea, but Seneca persisted. Julia - well aware of the importance of choice - danced with her daughter for a while and they finally arrived at a compromise. Seneca entered school that morning wearing a two-piece bathing suit over her "warm clothes," proudly parading in front of her opened-mouth peers. Julia's cheeks were rosy and the social norms were a bit shaken up, but Seneca's sense of autonomy and her connection with her mom were simultaneously deepened that day. Nothing feels more like true love than being given back our birthright: the sovereignty to be ourselves.

Read more ...

from the Blog of the Zombie Princess

Here's my little bombshell: I don't trust my kids.

What I mean is, I don't trust my kids in the way traditional parents mean when they talk about trusting their kids.

Think about it. When a mainstream parent says she trusts her teenager, what does she really mean? I think she means she trusts her teenager to make good choices. And what does that mean? What constitutes a good choice?

Well, that's subjective, isn't it?

Read more ...

Why Spoiled Babies Grow Up to Be Smarter, Kinder Kids
by Maia Szalavitz

Can extra nurturing during infancy make your child kinder and smarter?

Over the last several decades, more and more research has suggested that experiences in early life - even prenatal life - can have a disproportionate influence on the development of personality and physical and mental health. Now another group of studies, led by Notre Dame psychology professor Darcia Narvaez, confirms earlier work suggesting that children who get more positive touch and affection during infancy turn out to be kinder, more intelligent and to care more about others.

Read more ...

from With The Family

My daughters have had friends tell them that they are spoiled.  These comments have lead to conversations at our house about what it means to be spoiled and what would cause someone to say that about someone else.  Why would other kids say that my girls are spoiled?

Read more ...

Why always the mother?
by phdinparenting

Researchers evidently think mothers are significantly more important than fathers. Perhaps I should be flattered, but I'm not. I'm annoyed at the amount of blame that gets explicitly and implicitly put on mothers and I'm annoyed at the way fathers are dismissed as insignificant influences on their children's lives.

Read more ...

Children Are Whole People
by Rick Ackerly

Months ago in some online comment Janet Lansbury wrote:

"Maybe it's because I was encouraged by a mentor (infant specialist Magda Gerber) to view babies as whole people from the get-go, not my projects, not reflections or extensions of me, their emergent personalities never felt like my responsibility."

That babies are whole people is actually a revolutionary idea and one that I hope takes hold in the hearts and minds of all those who care about not just babies but children and their education. Unfortunately, acting as if children are incomplete adults is still the dominant way, and ignores the fact that adults are incomplete, too.

Read more ...

School, huh, yeah, what is it good for?
from Making It Up

Despite appearances to the contrary, given that we home educate, I'm not actually anti school per se. I'm just not sure I can see the point of it. And I think that there are an awful lot of ppl with similar sneaky suspicions out there, who are using school and just wondering if…

So let's break it down. School was designed on a factory model, in an industrial age. It took children in to keep them out of dangerous working conditions and equip them with basic skills, mainly so that they would be more productive factory workers.

The ppl who were destined to be the factory owners never went to those schools.

Read more ...

Homeschooling Myth #4 "You Need Teacher Training, Dearie"
by Linda Dobson

Speaking of high priced schooling, what about those teaching degrees? Don't people go to college for four years - or longer - to become professional teachers? Mustn't learning the skill of teaching be learning the secrets of how to light fires within youngsters' minds, setting them on a course to appreciate and pursue for a lifetime?

Not according to many reports, including one from the Council for Basic Education (CBE), a membership organization based in Washington, D.C. that advocates for high academic standards in K-12 education, titled "What Teachers Have to Say about Teacher Education" This is information any parent should have, but especially parents who may right now be stressing out over their own ability to teach.

Read more ...

Just Do the Math!
by David Albert

A group of homeschooling mothers gathered together in a circle to discuss unschooling approaches to their children's education.

"Not possible," homeschool mom proclaimed glumly, shaking her head.

I had just explained how the Sudbury Valley School - a democratically managed, child-directed learning environment that has been around for almost 40 years - has demonstrated repeatedly that a child could learn math - all of it grades K through 12 - in eight weeks. Average (if there is such a thing), normal (never met one), healthy children, hundreds of them, learned it all, leading to admissions to some of the leading colleges and universities in the nation.

"Must be some kind of trick," she insisted dolefully, remembering her own dark days in the classroom slaving over the seemingly inscrutable, all joy wrung out as from a wet sponge, then as an elementary school teacher herself, and now finally daily fighting what she was convinced was a losing homeschooling war with her nine-year-old over the required workbook pages.

Read more ...

What is Unschooling?
by Earl Stevens

It is very satisfying for parents to see their children in pursuit of knowledge. It is natural and healthy for the children, and in the first few years of life, the pursuit goes on during every waking hour. But after a few short years, most kids go to school. The schools also want to see children in pursuit of knowledge, but the schools want them to pursue mainly the school's knowledge and devote twelve years of life to doing so.

Read more ...

What Unschooling Is Not
from Freedom on the Road

We cannot tell you what unschooling is when the point of unschooling is to unleash the individual. Because to nurture self expression and inspiration and find the unique individual purpose within, is different for everyone.

We cannot tell you what unschooling is going to be for you and your children because unschooling is an individual experience. We can only refer to what unschooling is not. Each individual has a multitude of possibilities and inspirations. It is our role as parents to lend support and guidance so our children can realize their purpose as it comes to them.

Read more ...

Ten Tips for New Unschooling Parents
by Jan Hunt

Because few of today's unschooling parents were unschooled themselves, they may have many fears about their own competence to create a rewarding learning environment. These fears are based on the parent's inexperience with unschooling as well as on the false assumptions about learning that their school experiences taught them years ago. When the present generation of unschooling children become parents themselves, they will have more confidence and trust in the process. As I often tell my clients, today's generation of parents have it the hardest, because they have to trust a process that they themselves never experienced directly.

Here are ten tips for making a smooth transition ...

Read more ...

Learning Mystique
from the Blog of the Zombie Princess

On Twitter today, someone referred to unschooling as "the lazy parent's approach to school." The author's username includes "sarcasm," so I didn't take offense. But this opinion of unschooling is one we hear from time to time. It has its roots in the multilayered belief that (1) teaching is hard, (2) the stuff they teach in school is terribly important but so obscure that no one in the real world is likely to stumble upon it anywhere else, and if they do they won't be able to figure it out on their own, and (3) learning the terribly important things must be insisted upon, enforced, and even coerced.

Viewed from that belief system, I can see why unschoolers look like lazybones. We skip the hard part, let our kids play video games if they'd rather, and don't seem to care very much about the terribly important stuff (obscure or not).

But let's take a closer look...

Read more ...

Blame Unschooling!
by Idzie Desmarais

There's something I've noticed a lot that can make things really difficult for us unschoolers, and that is this: unschoolers are always held to a higher standard than those with more traditional educational backgrounds.

Anything "bad" (note the quotation marks) is the fault of unschooling.  If you have trouble getting a job (regardless of the state of the economy, social privileges or a lack thereof, or any other important factors), it's because you unschooled.  If you're a naturally introverted person, it's because you unschooled.  If you miss a deadline, make a typo, make a small mistake when counting out change, hell, if you happen to be clumsy, it's probably because you're an unschooler.

On the other hand, anything "good" about your personality, anything impressive that you accomplish, is entirely because of you, and has absolutely nothing to do with unschooling: you're obviously just a motivated/intelligent/whatever person who would do well no matter what the circumstances.

Read more ...

A positive effect for girls who play video games with parents
by Mike Snider, USA Today

Parents, there's a new reason to play games with your daughters. A just-released study found that girls who played video games with their parents were mentally stronger, were more well-behaved and felt a better connection with their families.

Read more ...

Should a 4-year-old have an iPhone?
by Marc Prensky

When I recently upgraded my iPhone 3G to the 3Gs (after almost 1 year, so I got the discount) I had to decide what to do with the old one.  My 4-year-old son was clamoring for it, and I said OK.  But then I thought about it. It's a pretty expensive, complex, breakable, adult device. Should a 4-year-old really have an iPhone?

My answer, after only a couple of months, is absolutely-with only a few caveats.

Read more ...

How to manipulate people's emotions
by Judy Rees

You can manipulate another person's emotions in any conversation - and you should!

What's more, you probably already do.

Apparently, that's a provocative claim: I came in for a lot of stick for it when I launched my Intelligent Influence course late last year. But if you're not controlling the emotions in a conversation, and you think it's wrong for someone else to do so… then what happens?

Read more ...

Is Hypnosis Actually A Good Thing?
by Adam Eason

Well today's blog title may well seem like an unusual one, coming from a hypnotherapist such as myself, eh? Many people seem to assume that hypnosis is good thing, and I want to suggest today that perhaps this is a misconception that needs correcting…

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.

Parenting By Heart

A new book from International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Certified Infant Massage Instructor Pinky McKay.

"Sleeping, feeding and gentle care for your baby's first year"

Find out more at

Mummy Mentor to Megastars

Pinky McKay on The Morning Show (Australian TV, 6 mins 19 secs)

Excerpt of Unschooling Rules

The Foreword to the new edition of Clark Aldrich's book Unschooling Rules and some excerpts from its opening chapters.

Read them at

Life Rocks! Radical Unschooling Conference

April 11-15, 2011

Red Jacket Mountain View Resort and Kahuna Laguna Waterpark, North Conway, New Hampshire, USA.

Visit for all the details

LIFE is Good Unschooling Conference

May 26-29, 2011

Red Lion Hotel, Vancouver, Washington, USA
Get all the details at

15th Annual Rethinking Everything Conference

September 2-5, 2011

Sheraton Grand Hotel, Irving, Texas, USA

For more information about the conference program, please visit

Good Vibrations Unschooling Conference

September 8-11, 2011

San Diego, California, USA

Get the details at

Australian Unschooling Conference Retreat

October 28-November 1, 2011

Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia

Find out more at

Parenting A Free Child: An Unschooled Life

A book by Massachusetts unschooler Rue Kream that I've seen described as "The Best Parenting Book EVER". I've also been told that if I haven't read it, I should, so I've ordered my copy.

And apparently the price is going up on March 1st. You could do what I've done and snap up a copy of the book from the author's website at its 2005 price of $14. You have until February 28th!

Read some reviews and order the book here

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 27 February 2011

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

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

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