The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

3 April 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 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!




Geek Dad Spreads Parental Intelligence
by Laura Grace Weldon

Once a month, every month, I look forward to learning some fresh parenting wisdom thanks to Bob Collier. This Australian father of two sends along the latest links about breastfeeding, digital learning, family togetherness, anger management, alternative schooling, and much more in an online publication titled Parental Intelligence.

Read more ...

[The picture accompanying this article - me in my gardening hat - is also my current Facebook profile picture. If you'd like to connect with me on Facebook, please visit]

Preparing an older sibling for a new birth
by Lauren Wayne

I am in the third trimester of pregnancy, awaiting our second baby. Our first child, Mikko, will be turning four years old just about the time our baby arrives. Since we're planning a home birth, we've spent a lot of time prepping Mikko for what to expect, and making our own plans for how to arrange the logistics of the birthing time.

Here are some of the aspects of birthing we've gone over with Mikko, along with the resources that have helped our family prepare.

Read more ...

Beyond Tiger Mothers and Glass Children - The Development of Responsibility
by Chris White

As much as we love being parents, not a single one of us wants this job forever. We all hope that gradually our children will begin wiping their own butts, complete their own projects, and learn how to get along with others without constant monitoring and intervention. In a nutshell, we want our kids to mature into responsible beings. In this post, I will hi-light the key ingredients to help our children grow into responsible beings.

Read more ...

Information, Power, and Control
by Teresa Graham Brett

Even when we reject the dominant norms of a culture that confers privilege and power on adults over children, that power still exists and it is in play in our relationships whether we want it to be or not. It is how we use that power that we need to challenge.

Read more ...

Approval Trap (1): Birth to Adulthood
by Ronit Baras

The way things are structured when we are young, we seek our parents' approval to learn about life and build our confidence. Living every day of our life around them makes them almighty gods for us and we do everything within our tiny power to get their approval.

It is amazing how many grownups looking for emotional relief are in fact in the approval trap, as if they are caged inside that childhood belief that their existence depends on what their parents think of them.

Read more ...

Approval Trap (2): Are you trapped?
by Ronit Baras

It is very important to understand that we are social creatures and our desire to have a sense of belonging makes us dependent on some form of "approval" from our society. What we call "socialization" - the process of learning what is acceptable in our society and what is not - involves kids' main "socializing agents" - their parents, their teachers and other family members - giving them messages of approval and disapproval. So, unless we live all by ourselves, totally isolated and without any human contact, we can never claim that we do not need approval.

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How The Secret Garden Saved Me
by Laura Grace Weldon

My mother gave me an old clothbound book when I was nine years old.  It was her childhood copy of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I felt a sudden tug of connection to the little girl my mother once was, especially when I found her name carefully penciled on the inside cover.  Right away, I signed my name under hers.

Read more ...

Please do NOT read to your child for 20 minutes a day
by Lisa Russell

I always thought the "20 minutes a day" guideline was lame. How many books take precisely 20 minutes to read? If a children's author is pitching their new book, would they have better luck if they wrote it so that it could be read in 20 minutes? Maybe with a built-in timer or something… What's a parent to do at the end of that 20 minutes, if the book isn't over? If they decide to finish the book and end up reading for 23 minutes tonight, then do they only need to read for 17 minutes tomorrow?  If reading is such a wonderful thing, why are so many adults "forced" into doing it? What does it teach children to have their teacher at school sending home a tracking form to monitor their parents?

Read more ...

Reading With Grace
by Becca Challman

The year is 1971 and my six-year-old self is about to learn a traumatic lesson. My first grade classmates are all struggling to sound out a list of phonetically spelled words. Things are moving agonizingly slow and I feel as if my turn will never come. I cannot wait to show off how well I can read, thereby winning Mrs. Hank's undying approval. She has only made it around to Daphne in the middle of the first row (they've arranged us in four rows of five). The tiny blonde girl flushes and sweats under the teacher's critical examination. Meanwhile, I wait in my hard chair in the last row next to the window and oh, I am so bored. Craving stimulation, I flip to the back of the chunky phonics workbook. Jackpot! Whole paragraphs punctuated by colorful illustrations beckon. I begin reading about Dick and Jane, occasionally stopping to steal glances out the window at a squirrel gathering nuts beneath the maple tree.

Soon, I am oblivious to the fact that the students' voices have fallen silent.

Read more ...

Effort to Restore Children's Play Gains Momentum
by Hilary Stout,
The New York Times

For several years, studies and statistics have been mounting that suggest the culture of play in the United States is vanishing. Children spend far too much time in front of a screen, educators and parents lament - 7 hours 38 minutes a day on average, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation last year. And only one in five children live within walking distance (a half-mile) of a park or playground, according to a 2010 report by the federal Centers for Disease Control, making them even less inclined to frolic outdoors.

Read more ...

Life Coaching for Kids?
by Gal Baras

A few months ago, an Australian reporter called me to ask what I thought about life coaching for kids. She said, "There is now a growing trend of parents taking their children to a life coach. Isn't that ridiculous? I mean, putting such pressure on kids from such a young age to perform… I see that you offer life coaching for kids. What do you think about this trend?"

Read more ...

Peaceful Parenting in the Teen Years
by mamapoekie

I recently got a request on my Facebook page about parenting peacefully when you have a teen. Now, I think much of peaceful parenting is the same no matter the age of your child. Respect and trust need to be the basics of your parenting toolbox.

As I have a toddler right now, I went searching for links by bloggers who have teens themselves.

Read more ...

2011: The Year of the Visionless Revolution for Schools
by Clark Aldrich

"Don't just stand there. Do something."

That might just be the rallying cry for education change in the next 12 months. What exactly will be done, however, and why, is almost anyone's guess.

Read more ...

Education Transformation
by Laurette Lynn

Education reform is the phrase of the hot headlines, a topic on many minds and the subject of a great many social network discussions, and rightly so!  This perplexing issue of what to do about educating our nation‟s youth poses many questions.   The most common questions raised have to do with how to reform the system, whether or not to spend more money on the process and what to do about the facilitators.  Interestingly, these top concerns include little to no focus on the quality of life for the children during their 12-15 [years?] experience in this system or the academic significance of this experience.  Upon considering this, one may find themselves wondering why.  The answer is simple; the Government School System is not, never was, and never will be about educating the children.

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Yes I think Home Education is better
by Laurette Lynn

I've been criticized recently for being too hard on Public Schools and not more open to Public School System as an option for parents.  I've been reprimanded for speaking out with an obvious and firm stance that home education is a better choice and told that I shouldn't be so rigid in my view point and realize that it's all good and for some families Public School is a good thing.  I'm told I should be more accommodating and respectful of a parents choice. 

Okay, I have to say something here...

Read more ...

Unschooling Parents (Not School Teachers) Best Equipped By Nature to Guide Learning
by Laurie A. Couture

This evening I read the first sentences of an online article speaking of teachers in almost fantastical, iconic-like terms, painting a picture of nurturing, loving caretakers wiping away children's tears, inspiring the passion of youth and shaping the future. I felt the indignation and frustration of years of working with children ages 3 to 18, whose spirits, bodies and psyches have been mangled by traditional schooling, often at the hands of teachers.

Contrary to the sentimental, somewhat maudlin cultural imagery of school teachers pouring out selfless nurturance, tending to the needs of youth or lighting the passionate fires of inspiration in grinning, alert children, the youth I have worked with and met over the years have painted me a very different picture.

Read more ...

by Meredith Harris

"Unschooling" is a new term for me. Last April, Good Morning America's Juju Chang reported on the trend in a segment titled "Extreme Parenting: 'Radical Unschooling.'" ABC News followed up on the topic with a segment called "Free Range Children" a few months later.

To say I was shocked at these reports is an understatement.

Read more ...

One Family's Journey To Unschooling
by Kimberly Sharpe

When my family sat down in 2006 to discuss the possibility of homeschooling the first method of learning we all agreed on was called Natural Learning, Child-led Learning, or better referred to as Unschooling.  The choice to home educate was very scary for all of us to make, not because we doubted our capabilities, but because we did not know anyone who lived an unschooling life. The majority of the people we were coming in contact with followed some form of curriculum or structured schedule based on control. In the end, our final decision to unschool has been an exciting journey of  love, warmth and unimaginable closeness.

Read more ...

Unschooling for Seven years
Jill Parmer

I'm not one to remember anniversaries, but for some reason, I remembered that April is our anniversary month for unschooling.

Seven years ago, I sat at the dining table forcing Addi to do saxon math for three hours! We were both in tears, from frustration and fear. And I said to myself, NEVER AGAIN! Nothing is worth what we went through that day. I had ignored Luke (three years old then) for those three hours, unconscionable to me today. So many thoughts sped through my head when I made that declaration, one of which was that I was prepared to go to the mat with Steve on this issue. It's sometimes been rocky with him; he likes convention, and the traditional; unschooling still freaks him out for a moment or two. But I've become better at calming his fears, from learning about natural learning, and deeply paying attention to my kids, and expressing (and arguing) that to/with him. But he gets it that all the spoken and unspoken promises of school and schooling don't come to pass. It's a carrot on a stick; you can never get it, you always have to think ahead, you can't relax in the moment, you have to push, you barely get to breathe.

Read more ...

Learn from the Web while waiting for Superman
by Judy Breck

Waiting for Superman is a GREAT movie. But something should be added!! While waiting and working for super schools with super teachers, we can do this immediately: show every kid how to learn everything known by humankind through the device they already have.

Read more

How to Steal Like an Artist (and 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)
by Austin Kleon

Note: This is a slightly edited version of a talk I gave yesterday at Broome Community College in Binghamton, New York. It's a simple list of 10 things I wish I'd heard when I was in college.

Read more ...

Generation Z will revolutionise education
by Penelope Trunk

My kids are Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2010. And I wonder: what can we see in those kids now that can tell us what they'll be like later, at work?

Read more ...

We Are One Being
by Laura Grace Weldon

We are one being, linked in ways so profound and essential that we rarely pause to consider them.

The surface of Earth is seventy percent water just as we are made up of seventy percent water. This is the same water that has been on Earth for four and a half billion years. It flows in and out of each one of us. In cycles too infinite to imagine this water has been drawn up in plant cells, swirled in oceans, circulated in bloodstreams, sweated, excreted, wept out tearfully and drunk up thirstily, formed into new life, risen into vapor, and locked into ice. The saliva in your mouth is made of water molecules intimately shared with beings that lived long ago and will be shared with all who come after us.

Read more ...


The Parental Intelligence Report on "ADHD" translated into Belarusian

I wrote The Parental Intelligence Report on "ADHD" in 2003 as a summary of all the information on the subject I'd been collecting on my computer, because I needed to free up hard drive space. Originally, it was intended only for subscribers to my newsletter. Little did I know ...

The original English version can be read at (sponsored by Uncommon Knowledge).

Many thanks to Martha Ruszkowski for this translation. Please pass on the link below if it's useful for you to do so.

Jean Liedloff, 1926-2011

"On March 15th, 2011, the world lost a great visionary - one whose work continues to inspire new generations of parents, caregivers, and all who seek to understand the true nature of being human.

In memory of our beloved friend Jean Liedloff, we're inviting those of you who knew her, or have benefited from her work, to share your thoughts and stories here. We also invite you to read what other friends, colleagues, and followers of Jean's work have shared here."

See also the Jean Liedloff page at Touch The Future

The Conscious Parent

A book by Dr. Shefali Tsabary.

Transforming Ourselves Empowering our Children

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

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

For more information please visit

The Essential Parenting Home Course

What I'm listening to this week.

"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

Parenting A Free Child: An Unschooling Life

A book by Rue Kream. What I'm reading this week. Wonderful!

Donate to The Natural Child Project
"The Natural Child Project has been our labor of love since 1996. Please help us to continue our current work and reach more families. Children who are loved and respected are the world's greatest hope.

Your kind support helps to make our work possible. Thank you!" - Jan Hunt, Director, The Natural Child Project

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

Sandra Dodd‭ ‬- Unschooling talks in Edinburgh‭, Scotland

May 21, 2011

The Sanctuary,‭ ‬Augustine United Church,‭ ‬41‭ ‬George IV Bridge,‭ ‬Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Please visit for 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 17 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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