The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

13 November 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 18 articles and 7 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!




A Compassionate Approach to Caring for Babies
by Dawn Fry

We live in a society that constantly judges, labels, and compares one person to another. It is understandable and necessary that over time we adjust to the pressures of these comparisons by developing a bit of a thick skin, toughening up emotionally and not letting others' opinions affect us (too much, at least!). For some, coping with the stress of such judgments is more easily said than done.

Unfortunately, new parents experience this stress in spades, because everyone has an opinion about how to "do the right thing" when it comes to raising a child.

Read more ...

A Little Respect, Please
by Pinky McKay

"Have I ever done anything abusive to you?" I asked my daughter who had just affirmed that I had never smacked her (I didn't think I had, but needed to check just in case maternal amnesia was causing mummy smugness). After a bit of a pause, my self-image as gentle mummy was shattered. "Yes, you have," she said with absolute conviction. "When I was little, if we went out, and I had a dirty face, you would spit on your hanky and wipe it."

Read more ...

When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink?
by Jeanne Maglaty,

Little Franklin Delano Roosevelt sits primly on a stool, his white skirt spread smoothly over his lap, his hands clasping a hat trimmed with a marabou feather. Shoulder-length hair and patent leather party shoes complete the ensemble.

We find the look unsettling today, yet social convention of 1884, when FDR was photographed at age 2 1/2, dictated that boys wore dresses until age 6 or 7, also the time of their first haircut. Franklin's outfit was considered gender-neutral.

Read more ...

Are You the 'Perfect' Parent?
by Barb Lundgren and Sarah Parent

Do you strive to be a perfect parent?  Or often have lamenting thoughts that you're not?  Barb and Sarah discuss the truths and fallacies of 'perfect' parenting.

Read more ...

The Father Effect - Positive Effects of Involved Dads
by Michelle Higgins

Feminist academic, author and father, Hugo Schwyzer , sees a real change in the way that the current generation of fathers are approaching their parenting role: "Many of them see fathering as a genuine vocation. They don't just pay lip service to putting family first. They do it."

Read more ...

Myth Series #3: Kids Need Structure
by Jeff Sabo

We've seen it hundreds of times. A parent enforces bedtimes, against the obvious will of the child. The days are planned carefully, with enriching activities scheduled out by the minute. Playtime is defined and controlled and scheduled. Many of the things a child does in a day - from when to arise to what to wear to what to eat to who they interact with and what they do - are presented in a tightly bound package that sometimes gives the illusion of free choice, but which in actuality removes almost all aspects of the child's free choice from the equation. Sometimes it looks like this; sometimes it is less severe. And, of course, sometimes it is even more restrictive that I have illustrated here. And if the child goes to school, it is even worse.

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 ...

Mentor: Fancy Name For Grown-Ups Kids Need
by Laura Weldon

The little boy just wanted to "do stuff."

His parents let him traipse around with his wagon on garbage collection day. He'd take home pieces of wood, carefully pulling out nails to store in a can, so he and his friends would have the necessary materials to build forts or go-carts. Occasionally he found small engines that he'd do his best to fix. No one intervened to tell him his pursuits weren't safe, although he was expected to clean up any mess as well help around the house.

Read more ...

Children Tell Adults about What Makes Them Feel Happy
by Yvette Vignando

When we are asked what we want most for our children, most of us will answer "happiness". Asking children about what contributes to their feelings of wellbeing reveals some insightful answers to how we can provide that happy life.

Read more ...

A Little Bit Unhappy
by Ronit Baras

In the past month, I heard it a lot. I had client after client sitting on my "life coaching deck" and talking about being totally unhappy about some things in their life. They were unhappy about their relationship with their partner, their kids, their health, their job, their money or their social life, and they wanted it to stop.

When this happens, I tell them there is something good about being unhappy. They always look at me surprised, thinking I have fallen on my head, but gradually, they understand that being unhappy and going to see a life coach is a wonderful sign that your body is talking to you and you are listening and actually doing something about it.

Read more ...

Why Children Protest Going to School: More Evolutionary Mismatch
by Peter Gray

Most children in our society protest going to school. Am I telling you something new?
They protest in many ways-by feigning illness, by dragging their feet in the morning, by doing the least they can to meet the school's demands (or not doing even that), and by violating school rules when they can get away with it. Even those who get high grades in school and enjoy a bit of showing off protest school through their expressions of cynicism, and sometimes by cheating, which they justify by saying that it's all just stupid hoops to jump through anyway ...

Read more ...

The Diagnosing and Drugging of 'ADHD' Children -- An American Tragedy Worsens
by Dr. Peter Breggin

The diagnosing of millions of children with ADHD in order to medicate them with stimulants and other psychoactive chemicals is an American tragedy, growing into a worldwide catastrophe. Never before in history has a society attempted to deal with its children by drugging a significant portion of them into conformity while failing to meet their needs in the home, school and society. The ethical scientist or physician, the concerned parent or teacher, must feel stricken with grief and dumbfounded that we have allowed the interests of powerful advocacy groups to completely override the interests of our children.

Read more ...

The Art of Education: Part 2 of 4
by Linda Dobson

We have sleepily accepted that each young mind exists as an empty vessel that needs to be filled with an accumulation of facts and figures, and we accept that, once accomplished, this will lead our children to success. This term - success - the goal of our backwards educational practices, has itself been perverted. Schools spend lots of time teaching us a connection between success and job, money, materialism, and class status. There's even a lesson in relative success (your success depends on your classmates' failures) thrown in for free.

Read more ...

Unschooling: A natural way to learn
by Carista Brewster

When our son turned three, my husband and I decided that instead of enrolling him in preschool, we would explore homeschooling. My husband was no stranger to the idea; he was homeschooled for almost six years. I was a product of Philadelphia Public Schools, with a mother who had me practically living at the library starting when I was about three.

While still not the norm, homeschooling is becoming more popular.

Read more ...

Unschooling: An Introduction
by mamapoekie

I've written lots of articles throughout my blogging 'career' about unschooling, but I've never tackled the basic questions, like "What is Unschooling" or "Why Unschool", or "How Do You Do It?".

Read more ...

"No Rules-Sir ,Yes Sir"
by Ben Lovejoy

Over the years, when I've been given the opportunity to speak at unschooling conferences, I've shied away from sharing my own story and the changes I've made to enjoy this wonderful life I now live. I've relied more on examples from the rest of my family: what our sons were doing or how peaceful our home was or how our own passions and eclectic friends have enriched our lives. I've shared stories about how Cameron visited the Yukon (and everywhere else in between, if you know Cameron), what game Duncan was into, or what incredible event Kelly was helping link me to. This year, I took Kelly's advice and decided to pull back the curtain to open up about my own journey and shed some light on how I personally came to the unschooling lifestyle.

Read more ...

Learning to Read, the autonomous way
by Alan Thomas & Harriet Pattison

Amongst the home education community, at least amongst those who adhere to an autonomous way of educating, the idea that children do not need to be taught to read is a piece of community wisdom.  Reading is one of the many skills which children are able to pick up simply through living full and sociable lives as members of their own families; many families know this through their own experiences and through sharing the experiences of others.  Accepted, and embraced, as it is by so many inside the home educating community, the very idea continues to raise eyebrows (to put it mildly) amongst academics and professional educators. Here the response is much more likely to be that only exceptional children might be able to achieve this whilst the vast majority need to be specifically taught and that over a number of years.  Challenging these entrenched views is not easy!  For one thing, explaining just how any child might manage this seemingly colossal achievement without assistance is an area totally untouched by previous academic research.

Read more ...

The Wonderful World of Television
by Schuyler Waynforth

The transcript of a talk given at the London Unschooling Conference in 2009.

Read more ...


Kim & Jason Kotecki

I'm very fond of these two people and I haven't mentioned them for ages.  You can read all about them and the work they do to make the world a better place at the "about" page of their blog website:

The Divided Brain in Pictures

"In this new RSAnimate, renowned psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist explains how our 'divided brain' has profoundly altered human behaviour, culture and society."

Watch the animation at (11 mins 48 secs)

Living & Learning sans School: Encouragement from veteran voices

"If you are newly adjusting to a life without school then you are in for a treat!  If you are quite used to learning independently, then you'll still enjoy this interview as the Unplugged Mom hosts Linda Dobson and Debbie Harbeson.  Both of these awesome ladies are home ed veterans, outspoken advocates and authors; having contributed much to the home ed/independent learning community.

Join us and listen in for encouragement, advice, support and great conversation on living and learning free from school intervention!" - Laurette Lynn, Unplugged Mom

Listen to the interview here

Robyn Coburn on Unschooling

A collection of observations on "unschooling" and other aspects of life from veteran unschooler Robyn Coburn.

Explore Robyn's ideas at

How long has unschooling been around?

Some observations on where schools are in the overall scheme of things.

Read them at

Australian National Home Education Week

"National Home Education Week is an annual event on the Australian Homeschool Calendar that is an iniative of the HEA [Home Education Association].

This year our Australian National Home Education Week will occur during the week of 21st - 25th November 2011

As a feature of the week, we offer you a joint collaboration between Jenni Domansky of Australian Homeschool Network and Beverley Paine of Homeschool Australia - A series of online workshops and forums.

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 27 November 2011

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

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

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