The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

20 March 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 23 articles and 8 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!




What Your Baby Sees In You
by Robin Grille

Many people seem surprised to find how aware newborn babies can be. A healthy newborn can look as if he or she sees right into you. My daughter was just minutes old when our eyes met for the first time, as she rested in wifes arms. I was gobsmacked by the attentiveness and intelligence I saw in her.

Read more ...

Love Yourself
by mamapoekie

When you aspire to be an authentic parent, the most important thing is not the great tactics you use to live in harmony with your child, it's not the displays of affection nor is it about how many books or articles you read. In fact, the biggest thing you can do for your child, is to love yourself.

Read more ...

Gentle Baby and Toddler Sleep Tips
by PhD in Parenting

This post provides tips for sleep deprived parents that want their babies to sleep better and, like me, do not want to use the cry it out approach. Some of these things I have learned through experience and others I've learned through reading research. I should note that I have not necessarily tried all of these things because I do not consider my children's sleep to be a problem. That doesn't mean that they never wake up and it doesn't mean that there are not tough nights here and there, but on the whole I get enough rest and my kids get enough rest.

Read more ...

Taming the Tiger Mother
by Naomi Aldort

Q: I have read a great deal about Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother - interviews on CNN and NPR, and in Oprah's magazine; an article in Time; an excerpt from the book in the Wall Street Journal, and so on. Chua speaks of her superior Chinese parenting. Many people see her as abusive, but others think she puts much more into her children. I am feeling confused. I am here to give my children all that I can. If I give less than this "Tiger" mom does, it is because I think it is actually better to allow children to grow up on their own. But now I am not sure. We are unschooling, and my children fifteen, twelve, and nine, are not practicing anything. Are they missing something? Am I depriving them of accomplishing high ranks in society?

Read more ...

Beyond Tiger Mothers and Glass Children - Part Three
by Chris White

Setting limits can be one of the most challenging parts of parenting.

We all have felt the impact of being un-necessarily restrained, manipulated, and controlled and the pain that it brings. Many of us conscious parents have vowed not to do this to our children. This move away from authoritarian parenting is indeed a step forward, but have we thrown out the baby with the bath water?

Read more ...

Beyond Tiger Mothers and Glass Children - Part Four
by Chris White

As I have said in previous posts, I believe that attachment parenting represents the "high-bar" for parenting in the 21st century. Yet some of us in the attachment community are still having trouble navigating the use of healthy limits and guidance. I want to continue making the case that one of the most loving - and most liberating - things we can do is provide the supportive structure in which our children's vitality can bloom into its full potential.

Read more ...

The Real Costs Of Parental Pressure: dabbling, digging deep and quitting
by Lyla Wolfenstein

At the heart of life learning, and really at the heart of growing up, is the process of determining what it is a person loves to do - where and with what to spend one's time. Children come into this world with no preconceived notions of what is or isn't valuable, or what is or isn't "supposed" to be enjoyable.

And frequently, inadvertently, parents send crystal clear messages about just those perceptions, messages that run directly counter to what many of us would say we wanted to convey if asked.

Read more ...

Choosing Between Self-Respect and Adult Approval
by Teresa Graham Brett

"How much easier her life would be if we did not continually oblige [a child] to choose between our adult approval and her self-respect." John Holt

After reading this quote from John Holt in his book How Children Fail, I was struck by how as a child I often had to choose between adult approval and self-respect. And alternatively, how I have required Martel or Greyson to choose between self-respect and my love and approval.

Read more ...

How to Advise and Help Your Kids Without Driving Them (or Yourself) Crazy
by Peter Gray

We love our kids. We want to protect them. We want the best for them. We don't want them to make the same mistakes we made. We have walked this planet longer than they have and know some things that they don't know. And so we offer our kids advice and help that they didn't ask for and don't want, and they reject it or ignore it. And then what was a positive impulse to help becomes a confrontation.

Read more ...

Be permissive, raise a scientist
by Gwen Dewar, Ph.D.

First, let's define terms. I don't like permissive parenting when it means "letting kids get away with selfish or anti-social behavior."

That's what psychologists have in mind when they talk about permissive parenting.

But there is another, nontechnical, everyday notion of permissive parenting that might be characterized as "letting your kid stick drinking straws in his mashed potatoes."

Read more ...

Emotions are Not Bad Behaviour
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 ...

What is the Opposite of Anger?
by Dan Spira

Last week's post reflected on the pitfalls of using anger as a kind of performance-enhancing drug, especially for those of us who don't work as professional boxers*. (*Boxers often use anger to win their fights, which is part of the reason why their careers are so short.)  So I decided to explore the positive side of the equation, the opposite of anger, which is… wait… what is the opposite of anger?

A simple question - what is the opposite of anger  - yields so many different answers, depending on who you ask.

Read more ...

Brene Brown: In Support of An Ordinary Childhood
by Christine Carter, Ph.D.

Last week, a friend told me that she thinks her kids will probably have a hard time getting into an independent high school in their area because they "aren't really good at any one sport." It then occurred to me that my kids really don't do any formal sports.

I started to feel panicky. I found myself thinking seriously about somehow getting my kids on a local team, even though they've already missed the try-outs for soccer and softball sign-ups … and have very little interest in organized sports.

My kids are interested in less organized childhood-y things. Playing with neighborhood kids. Making daisy-chains and building structures for their pet rats. Swimming, though not on a team. Both of them would really like to be able to ride horses (technically this could be an organized activity, but for my kids, it is a fantasy activity).  Drawing with glitter gel pens, and dressing the dog up with ribbons. Nothing that will help them get into college (or, sheesh, high school!).

Read more ...

How to Raise Friendly Kids (1): What are Friends for?
by Ronit Baras
When we play The Value Game in my parenting workshops, friendship is usually somewhere at the top of the list after happiness and love. As part of the game, I pretend to be a fairy and ask the parents to write the things they would like to bless their kids with. Most parents do not know they can, in fact, grant their kids those wishes and all they need is the special "fairy dust" of love and determination.

Read more ...

Who Should NOT Homeschool?
by Antonio Buehler

Homeschooling provides the best learning environment for the majority of children, irrespective of parental socioeconomic status or educational attainment.  Homeschooling has the potential to help maximize the potential of tens of millions of students over the next decade.  Homeschooling has the ability to save more children from destructive public schools than all other education reform initiatives combined.

Despite the superiority of homeschooling, some parents would be better off sending their kids off to a regular brick and mortar school.  Below is a list of some of those reasons.

Read more ...

Who SHOULD Homeschool?
by Antonio Buehler

The reality that homeschooling is superior to public schooling has come as a very inconvenient truth to the public school advocates who attack homeschooling.  They used to argue that those without college diplomas and teaching certifications could not do the job of the teacher.  However, in EVERY academic study (controlled or not) I've ever seen, homeschoolers have done as well or better than those in public schools. They then argued that homeschoolers could not be properly socialized.  However, in EVERY behavioral study (controlled or not) I've ever seen, homeschoolers have done as well or better than those in public schools. Pathetically, the most passionate argument against homeschooling these days is that homeschooling undermines the public school system. Of course this is an absurd charge, as the public school system needs no help in failing to educate our children even at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars per child per year.

Read more ...

The Lasting Influence of Homeschooling
by Peter Kowalke

How do homeschoolers turn out as adults?

I've been writing and speaking about homeschooling for more than 20 years, and this is a question that everybody asks me, from homeschooling parents to media outlets such as the BBC and Psychology Today.

Read more ...

I liked it
by Kate

Everyone is talking about education. Waiting for Superman, budget cuts, teen suicides, charter schools, healthier school lunches, colleges flooded with applications, student debt, student loans that go forever, elite preschools, KIPP, abstinence only sex ed, gay kids at prom, no child left behind, teachers' unions, rubber rooms, standardized testing, teacher suicides, cutting music and art classes, where it all is going, what we might be able to do, whether we should do it, and if it really works at all. And then there are the people who drop out. The people who don't start in the first place. People like me. We're still a tiny minority-about 3% of the population, according to some studies (the exact numbers are never really clear). But we have a lot to say about education.

Read more ...

Grown Without Schooling
Julia Dibbern interviews Jason Hunt

This interview was given to five unschoolers for a feature story in the Spring 2010 issue of German magazine Unerzogen.

What are your current interests and plans for the future (that's what interests most people - will they be able to make a career)? Are you going to study something and get an official degree?

Read more ...

Unschooling: You'll See it When you Believe It
by Sandra Dodd

Following years of sporadic reports by people who claimed they had tried unschooling but it hadn't worked for them, I started tracking their similarities and, as usual, I learned something new. And, as usual, I thought I should share it so others might not have to wonder for ten years.

So here is a snapshot of what I thought I knew when I sat down to write this one day not too long ago: Some people don't know what unschooling is supposed to look like.

Read more ...

How Unschooling Compliant is Unschooling Rules?
by Clark Aldrich

For some dedicated practioners and theorists, there is an approach to childhood education called "Unschooling" that strives to eliminate all forms of coercion from the process .... This approach can overlap, but is not synonymous, with "homeschooling" which can be seen as a broader umbrella concept that focuses on transferring the primary responsibility for the education of children to their parents, who may or may not then use other organizations to help them out, such as libraries, camps, workbooks, and youth groups.

Given that, there is a valid question about my new book Unschooling Rules from some that basically asks, "How Unschooling compliant is Unschooling Rules?"

Read more ...

Digital Natives 3 -- What a Five Year Old Knows
by Laureen Hudson

Previously, I've posted about Digital Natives ... mostly in terms of  how unschooling is pretty much the most ideal way to approach the sticky problem of trying to be an authority to someone who can look up your sources faster than you can.

It did not occur to me, until I was sitting in a room with about 40 other corporate web content delivery professionals (a set of Kiss-of-Death adjectives if ever there were), at a recent gathering for sharing of information about using multimedia on websites, how thoroughly our assumptions are informed by the schooling we got.

Read more ...

The idea of learning from the same page
by Judy Breck

With a handschooling device (a mobile that can browse the internet) each student looks at the same frog.

As the first decade of the 21st century ends, over half of the world's population has a mobile digital device of some sort. All cellphones are mobiles. All wireless laptops, minis, and tablets are mobiles. Pagers and similar limited digital communication devices are mobiles. All of these -- and any other digital device people can carry with them -- support handschooling if the device can do just one thing: browse the open internet.

Read more ...


Dr. Thomas Szasz

Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus and author of The Myth of Mental Illness, and some of his comments on "the psychiatric labels scam".

Watch the video at (4 mins 48 secs)

Homebirth Australia Conference Challenging the Boundaries

August 19-21, 2011

Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

"For everyone with a passion for homebirth; midwives, doulas, mothers, families, students.

If you are able to assist with promoting the conference by putting a poster, flyer or postcards up in your community, please contact Sonja MacGregor."

For further information please visit

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

Always Learning Live Unschooling Symposium

July 26-30, 2011

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Find out more 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

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 3 April 2011

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

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

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