The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

25 September 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 32 articles and 6 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!




Healing The Next Generation
by Laura Weldon

The science of epigenetics shows that the choices we make today will resonate in the minds and bodies of our grandchildren.

Read more ...

Feminism, Medicine, Consumerism and Vampires
by mamapoekie

I often wonder how we have come to a time where birth is no longer sacred and female, but medical and male. Where intervention is a bigger part of childbirth than trust.

Read more ...

A Father's Perspective On Homebirth
by Jeff Sabo

Finding out that you're going to be a father is a very crystallizing and defining moment in a man's life. Some men run from it, others embrace it, and still more are frankly puzzled by it - and some fears and uncertainties, once believed to have been overcome, can come flooding out again ...

Read more ...

The Language of Tears
by Pinky McKay

It seems there is nothing like infant crying to stir up confusion and strong feelings among mothers - and anyone else who wants to offer their 'two bobs worth'. How often do we hear, crying is good for the lungs (like bleeding is good for the veins?), or if you pick him up every time he cries, you'll make a rod for your own back (don't you like a cuddle if you feel teary?).

Read more ...

Where Are the Happy Babies?
Have we forgotten what babies need from (ALL OF) us?
by Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D.

I was so glad to meet a happy, confident, socially engaged baby this week. Baby Loren was a stark contrast to most babies--children under 2--that I encounter these days. Most tend to look distracted, unhappy, dazed, and pretty uninterested in others. And their eyes don't glow or communicate understanding like Loren's did. I even had a hard time finding a photo to put up with this post of a glowing, clued-in baby, whose eyes did not look wounded or clouded.

Why are so few babies "glowing" any more?

Read more ...

Engaged Parenting
by Teresa Graham Brett

In her book, Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks, writes about progressive, holistic education, or "engaged pedagogy" as more demanding than some other forms of teaching. She writes, "(I)t emphasizes well-being. That means that teachers must be actively committed to a process of self-actualization that promotes their own well-being if they are to teach in a manner that empowers student."

Engaged parenting requires the same commitment on the part of parents. There is a mistaken belief in our culture that parents who do not set boundaries or who do not control children's behaviors, are permissive and want to be friends with their children. That we are taking the easy way out because we don't want to say "no."

Read more ...

Ten Steps To Kinder, Gentler Parenting
by Vickie Bergman

It seems many parents know exactly the "Mean Voice" I wrote about in Did You Kiss Your Baby With That Mouth? Now some people want to know: How do you stop yourself from being mean? What do you say instead?

So here are some suggestions for adjustments that might help you move toward kindness.

Read more ...

9 Basic Human Needs
by Roger Elliott

Problems due to missing 'basics' in peoples lives tend to develop over time, and so can be easily missed. Then, when the problem arises - be it anxiety, depression, addiction or some other nasty - they can't for the life of them fathom out why!

It's therefore a great idea to know what your own garden needs in order to grow well, so when you see something starting to wither, you can check your list and apply the necessary nutrients.

So here's the list. (At least, our list. If you think we've missed any, do let us know!)

Read more ...

Sleep Freedom: Letting Kids Find Their Own Sleep Pattern
by Stephanie Waldron

Editors Note: As Stephanie Waldron points out in this article, it's important for people (and yes, people includes children), to find their own natural sleep rhythym. As parents we can help our kids with that, instead of forcing a schedule on them. Instead of thinking about how to get kids to sleep,  find ways to guide them towards listening to their bodies.

Read more ...

A Child's Nap Is More Complicated Than It Looks
by Perri Klass, M.D., The New York Times

What makes a child nap? Most parents cherish toddlers' naps as moments of respite and recharging, for parent and child alike; we are all familiar with the increased crankiness that comes when a nap is unduly delayed or evaded. But napping behavior has been somewhat taken for granted, even by sleep scientists, and napping problems have often been treated by pediatricians as parents' "limit-setting" problems.

Now, researchers are learning that it is not so simple: napping in children actually is a complex behavior, a mix of individual biology, including neurologic and hormonal development, cultural expectations and family dynamics.

Read more ...

Independence Requires Attachment
by Chris White, M.D.

Several months ago, I wrote a post re-framing the way we might think about discipline. The short and skinny of that post is this:

Real discipline is not merely obtaining short-term compliance out of your kids, but helping them become mature, self-motivated, and self-directed beings who understand the truth of interdependence.
These qualities and capacities emerge when the brain is supported in wiring up in the most complex way possible, and in particular, when the pre-frontal cortex develops optimally (the area right between the eyes and behind the forehead).

Read more ...

by mamapoekie

Trust is one of the key factors in parenting, many parent child conflicts spring out of a distortion of trust in the relationship. But how does this trust work? How do we get it? How do we keep it?

Read more ...

What Should a 4 Year Old Know?
by Alicia

It's back to school time and children all over are starting preschool.  Many parents are frantically searching the internet to find out if their little ones are "on track" and know everything they should.

I wrote this article about what a four-year-old should know many years ago but it continues to be the most popular page on the Magical Childhood site.  I don't think a week has passed in the past eight or so years when I have not received a letter from a parent, grandparent or teacher about it.  Parents and principals especially have said they wish more parents realized these things.

Read more ...

Secondhand Ambition
by Wendy Priesnitz

This morning on the radio, I heard that "Kids aren't born with ambition." It was one of those annoying "parenting minute" advertorials - a paid subscription advertisement from a mainstream parenting magazine masquerading as sage advice. Parents were instructed to assign ten tasks to their children during this school year. Then they are to observe which of them interests the kid and then pressure the kid into ambitiously cultivating those interests. Unfortunately, that manipulative pressure has a good chance of destroying a kid's basic interest in a topic, let alone any enthusiasm and energy (i.e. ambition) she might have had about pursuing it.

Read more ...

Educating Too Early
by Laura Grace Weldon

Highly instructional preschool programs have been studied for years. Although they're more popular than ever, the outcomes don't hold up under scrutiny.

Read more ...

Homeschooling Parent Responds to Disney's Teacher of the Year
by Linda Dobson

Someone at CNN thought it would be a good idea to start off the new school year with an article by Disney's Teacher of the Year, Ron Clark. Since it's titled "What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents", I'm sure many parent readers thought the information therein could help them help their children have a great school year. I mean this is from the man at the top, Disney's Teacher of the Year, for crying out loud. Let's see what he has to say!

Read more ...

Parents Take Issue with Advice of 'Super Teacher' Ron Clark
by Christiel Gota

Sorry, Mr. Clark and all your minions, but I will NEVER stand against my child in support of you or the system. I will never apologize for jumping to my child's defense - and I will ALWAYS jump to my child's defense. Sorry, but I can't trust you - especially when you say my child has a behavior problem. They are no problem at home. If behavior problems only occur at school, it is YOU that is doing something wrong, not me!

Read more ...

My response to Ron Clark
by Joe Bower

I read a lot of articles on education. Some of them are insightful and some of them are not. Here's an article written by Ron Clark that I believe falls short of insightful. At best the messages delivered by Clark are unhelpful and at worst they may be harmful.

Read more ...

What Parents Really Want to Tell Teachers: What You Do Hurts Our Children
by Laurie A. Couture

Many parents are shaking their heads at the audacity and insolence of the CNN article, What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents by Disney-and-Oprah-endorsed teacher, Ron Clark. His article is dangerous because it represents how the majority of traditional school teachers view children, parents and teachers' roles as authorities over children's lives. In my post, What Teachers Really Need to Hear From Parents, I challenge Ron Clark to consider the dehumanization of children and the undermining of the parent-child bond in the institution he represents.

Read more ...

If School Was Causing Your Child's ADD / ADHD Would You Remove Him?
by Lisa Nielsen

During a recent conversation with friends and family, the topic of ADHD / ADD came up and I shared my belief that this is not a disease that should result in people being drugged, but instead a personality type (like mine!) that should be honored.  My friends and family looked at me stunned.  They wondered how an educator like me didn't know better as this new epidemic was clearly documented as a disease.  I then found out that a few of those among us had been drugged or had been responsible for drugging their children.  They were offended by my words!  Fortunately, I'm used to this.

Read more ...

Three Radical Ideas to Reform Education. Surprise. They Don't Involve School Buildings
by Lisa Nielsen

Earlier this year, I shared my disappointment with Fast Company's compilation of "13 Radical Ideas for Spending $100 Million to Overhaul Schools"  The problem was that these ideas really just weren't all that radical.   Even Will Richardson, who was featured in the article, commented on my blog that he agreed ... Richardson did feature a radical idea in his own blog a few years back in his post, One Town's Reform…Close the Schools.  The article explains how a UK community shut down its 11 schools replacing them with dynamic learning centers that looked very different than traditional compulsory schools. According to their site, they are still going strong. 

Read more ...

Homeschooling: Leap of Faith Required
by Linda Dobson

Reading about a teacher-turned-homeschooler who saw that schooling greatly interfered with family rhythm is a great way to start the day! I love that, once again, it was a young child's simple and innocent questions, "Why can't I go to the pond to catch frogs with you? Do I have to go to school?" that got this mom trying - in vain - to come up with a good answer. Like many of us, she couldn't.

Read more ...

Homeschooling Research: Fish Climbing Trees
by Wendy Priesnitz

There's an Albert Einstein quote: "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid." I thought of it as I read a tiny new Canadian study ... comparing schooled kids to homeschooled and unschooled kids.

Read more ...

The homeschool truth
by Laura Genn

Sometimes, it feels like I've spent at least half of my life answering the same question over and over again.

"So, what school do you go to?"

It's an innocent inquiry, but I know where the conversation is going.

I sigh. "I'm homeschooled."

And, lo and behold, the person says one of the following things ...

Read more ...

Homeschooling and the Myth of Socialization
by Manfred B. Zysk

One of the silliest and most annoying comments made to homeschooling parents is, "Aren't you concerned about how your child will be able to socialize with others?". What is being implied here is that the homeschooled child is some kind of introverted misfit who cannot relate to other people, children, and the outside world. In reality, most of the homeschooled children that I have known and met are not only outgoing, but polite and respectful, too. This is a sharp contrast to the public school children that I have known, who can't relate to adults and whose behavior is rude and inconsiderate. Realistically, there are some exceptions on both sides.

Read more ...

Speaking Of Unschooling
by Amy Bradstreet

As we begin activities and pursue our interests and move into our fall routine, we are as committed as ever to unschooling. Inescapable, however, is the focus on school. Back-to-school promotions, sales events, scheduling, so much is centered on school. And while we benefit, certainly, from uncrowded libraries, museums, parks and a wide range of other venues, the silence, the lack of young peoples' presence is also unsettling; their voices go unheard, their ideas and needs are unmet and society can forget them for six or more hours a day. For these reasons, when our unschoolers are out in the world, people (read adult people) question their presence. Sometimes with polite interest, more times with rudeness. But always, always, the question is why aren't you in school?, or it's companion but how can you learn anything without school?

Read more ...

Unschooling is not "Child-Led Learning"
by Pam Sorooshian

I do not refer to unschooling as "child-led learning" and I encourage others not to use that term because I think overuse of it has led to some pretty serious misunderstanding of what unschooling is really like.

The term, "child-led learning," does emphasize something very important - that the child is the learner! I couldn't agree more. However, it also disregards the significant role played by the parent in helping and supporting and, yes, quite often taking the lead, in the investigation and exploration of the world that is unschooling.

Read more ...

What has Changed 01 - Content is Free and Fluid
by Clark Aldrich

Things work until they don't. We need a new manifesto for education. Why? What has changed existentially over the last ten years? Why does education in the 21st Century need to be different than education in the 20th Century?

Reason 01: Most content is now free. Almost all content is fluid.

Read more ...

Home- and Unschooling are not theoretical reforms; they are real, large, and growing movements
by Clark Aldrich

The ideas in the book 'Unschooling Rules' are not theoretical. These are not nascent theories that have been used on small pilots and studied by Harvard or M.I.T. grad students. I am not in the process of begging for funding from Ph.D. controlled-foundations, school principals, or other gate-keepers to roll them out to larger sample groups as part of some quixotic tenure-securing portfolio. (And, of course, these ideas certainly aren't "mine.")

Home- and unschooling is happening now. Over a million students already home school. And the number is growing.

Read more ...

How Unschooling will Save Education
by Clark Aldrich

Unschooling will save education.

Collectively, we eventually will figure out that the massive school industry, as currently structured: costs way too much; teaches irrelevant material; crowds out more beneficial activities; breaks up families; and even creates a long term effect similar to a mild post-traumatic stress disorder.

However, we, as a culture, are not at that point yet. We are still tinkering with schools. We still think we want schools to work.

Read more ...

Video Games, needs, fears, and unschooling
by Sarah McGrath

If video games are your kids' thing right now, then why not play video games?

Read more ...

Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle
by AFP [Agence France-Presse]

Online gamers have achieved a feat beyond the realm of Second Life or Dungeons and Dragons: they have deciphered the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like virus that had thwarted scientists for a decade.

Read more ...


Teresa Graham Brett's YouTube Channel

"Learn more about Teresa Graham Brett and her website and work Parenting for Social Change."

Visit this page at

Emotional Intelligence and Self-esteem courses for Parents

If you're in or near Sydney, you may be interested in these Saturday classes run by Keith Gilbert, author of my favourite parenting book ever, Liberating Parents.

Find out more about the emotional intelligence and self-esteem courses here

Happy Parents Raise Happy Kids Better Parenting Skills Workshop

If you're in or near Brisbane, you may be interested in the Better Parenting Skills Workshop to be run by international relationship and parenting expert (and prolific blogger) Ronit Baras on Sunday 30 October 2011.

Find out more about the parenting workshop here

Home Education Association of Australia

"HEA is an incorporated association that supports and provides services for Australian home educators. The HEA is run by a committee of home educators that voluntarily come together to provide direction for the association."

This is its brand new website:

Australian Unschooling Conference Retreat

October 28-November 1, 2011

Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia

Find out more at

Always Learning Live Unschooling Symposium

December 28-31, 2011

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Find out more at

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 9 October 2011

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

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

Subscribe to the Parental Intelligence Newsletter

Read the current issue

Parental Intelligence