The Parental Intelligence Newsletter

1 April 2012

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 20 articles and 9 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!




Adam Mansbach's Best Seller Is Deceptive and Destructive
by Dawn Fry

When I heard that the Habitot, in Berkeley, was hosting a reading by Adam Mansbach, of his latest book Go the F to Sleep, I reserved a ticket right away. I have strong opinions about his book and I wanted a chance to voice them in public.

At the book reading it quickly became clear that I was the only one there who didn't like the book, but that did not detour me from my mission.  I was there to speak on behalf of children, to speak against the injustice being done to children through dark humor. Not all laughter is the best medicine, i.e. fat jokes and racist jokes. A joke at a child's expense is destructive to all.

The cursing in the book was not pleasant but I have no problem with stressed out parents who use vulgarity to get an emotional release. (Where and when parents vent their emotions needs to be considerate of others.) I do dislike the author using Jesus Christ and God Dam as curse words. It is disrespectful. Was it really necessary to do that?

Did I think my opinions could concern Mr. Mansbach? No, that would be foolish thinking, the book is published and the money is in the bank. It makes sense that he would hold up his position about what he wrote. I was there to say what needed to be said out loud and in front of him.

During the discussion I pointed out that Mr. Mansbach could have the parent angry about the situation he was in, not directing blame at his child for the problems. Children are not responsible for their parenting or their lack of parenting. Being angry at a child for their behavior is unfair. They need help just as much as the parents. They are struggling too.

Here is the problem. Venting anger, resentment, and vulgarity at children and making demands of them is destructive behavior. Yes, I know the words are in thought only and that the book is not for children, but children are not robots, they have feelings and they are smart. Children are born with a Masters Degree in reading body language and tones of voices. When a parent is thinking one way and behaving in a different way they send mixed messages causing distress for the child. A stressed child cannot relax into sleep.

As a sleep consultant I work with families who struggle with the problems in the book. I know it is painful for them. Certainly they are filled with frustration and stress, very understandable.  Without a doubt they need an opportunity to vent those uncomfortable feelings. What they don't need is to be misinformed that venting their resentment against their child's behavior, if only in thought, won't have a negative effect on their child. Parents need support that helps resolve their problems, not complicate them.

One of the biggest social problems we have in this country is bullying. A common behavior of bullying is name calling. In the book the parent calls the child a liar. Again, maybe only in thought but putting it in the book perpetuates name calling against innocent children. This visually beautiful book is deceptive, because name calling is ugly.

As I explained my concerns it became clear that my fellow attendees were still not in agreement with me. One woman stated that she has been a parent educator for twelve years and that this book is wonderful and helpful for families. They claimed that they didn't see or hear the problems I described. Well, I shared some food for thought; maybe it will help.

It's not always pleasant to speak out against popular beliefs but nothing will keep me from speaking on behalf of children when I believe they are treated unjustly. Perhaps if Adam Mansbach had these perspectives before the book was published he would have made some changes, one can hope.

P.S., The question we need to ask ourselves, as a society, is what message are we sending to a child who is old enough to read a copy of this book? Will that child find it funny?


About the Author:

Dawn Fry is the founder and CEO of Helping Our Children Productions, a publishing company that provides educational CD's giving practical help to families and childcare professionals. Ms. Fry has more than 60,000 hours of professional experience working with children. For more information, visit


The Most Scientific Birth Is Often the Least Technological Birth
by Alice Dreger

When I ask my medical students to describe their image of a woman who elects to birth with a midwife rather than with an obstetrician, they generally describe a woman who wears long cotton skirts, braids her hair, eats only organic vegan food, does yoga, and maybe drives a VW microbus. What they don't envision is the omnivorous, pants-wearing science geek standing before them.

Indeed, they become downright confused when I go on to explain that there was really only one reason why my mate -- an academic internist -- and I decided to ditch our obstetrician and move to a midwife: Our midwife could be trusted to be scientific, whereas our obstetrician could not.

Read more ...

Busting Breastfeeding Myths
by Paul M. Fleiss with Frederick M. Hodges

Because young American women today grow up in a culture that bears the marks of decades of an officially orchestrated anti-breastfeeding campaign, to many of them breastfeeding remains strange and mildly disgusting. In earlier centuries, when families were larger, and before the relentless marketing of formula feeding, there was no mystery about breastfeeding-children grew up seeing their own mothers breastfeed. A young girl could watch as her newborn sibling latched on to her mother's breast, and could observe how the mother would switch the nursling from one breast to the other. She unconsciously noted the frequency of feedings. In short, girls received years of valuable lessons in how to be a good mammal without ever having to read a book or take a class in the subject.

Read more ...

Children Are Complete RIGHT NOW
by Linda Dobson

In our culture, we generally treat children as less than whole. When you step outside this imposed cultural box, though, this treatment appears a rather egotistical attitude on the part of adults. We behave as if children need this, that, and a good dose of the other thing - from us, of course - before we can take them as seriously as we take our friends, coworkers, and other adult acquaintances.

Read more ...

How Supportive Parenting Impacts Your Child's Brain
by Yvette Vignando

The importance of parental love and warmth to children's emotional wellbeing is widely accepted. It makes sense that a loving childhood may protect children from developing mental illnesses later in life.  A recent study by experts at Washington University illustrates why good parenting skills and parent wellbeing is so important that it can even affect the size of an important part of our brain - the hippocampus.

Read more ...

When Your Parents Disapprove Of Your Parenting
by Vickie Bergman

I imagine it is difficult for parents who are used to having (at least the illusion of) complete control over their children to transition to any other kind of relationship with their children. I'm glad I am starting now, when my kids are toddlers, to practice letting go. I'm practicing giving them real choices, real control over their bodies and their lives.

Read more ...

The War On SpongeBob
by Vickie Bergman

Everybody PANIC! SpongeBob SquarePants is the newest thing we should all be worried about for our kids. Well, SpongeBob and other shows like his. According to a new study, the "fast-paced" nature of the show can affect a child's ability to focus and concentrate. Well actually, I'm not sure if it's specifically SpongeBob, because the show used in the study is not named, only described as an "animated kitchen sponge cartoon" so I guess it could be something else?

Read more ...

Putting the Child Back into Childhood
by Linda Dobson

I know I'm dating myself, but here goes. I remember a time when preschool was almost unheard of and daycare wasn't a noun. Most families participated in "early years" homeschooling (although they didn't call it that) until somewhere around a child's fifth or sixth birthday. Until then we, all the neighborhood children, got together to ride bikes, visit each other's homes, and enjoy rainy day quiet time in our own rooms. Even after we began to go to school, we spent the summertime together chasing lightning bugs in our pajamas, creating impromptu ball games at the park, and enjoying cookies and Kool-Aid at a shaded picnic table in each other's backyards.

Fast-forward to life for children today, and the picture changes

Read more ...

Navigating by Inner Guidance
by Rebecca Thompson

Now, as then, so many families are still struggling, and parents don't know what to do. Many parents have gone from expert to expert only to find themselves back in the same place or in a worse place than they were before they followed the "expert" advice. At a very early age, most of us learned that the answers are outside of ourselves, and so we seek external solutions to our problems. We think that someone else is going to come and save us.

Read more ...

Freedom or Control
Kids' Right to Live and Learn in Freedom
by Wendy Priesnitz

Life learners trust kids to learn. We believe that learning is innate and doesn't require teaching, texts or tests. We know that children are not blank slates or raw clay, to be written on or molded into shape by adults. We allow kids to learn by living. And our trust is well placed, as they grow into responsible, well-educated, sociable adults.

However, those of us who are dedicated to the philosophy of self-initiated learning do not always trust our children to make all their learning and other life decisions for themselves. It is easy to agree with our kids' choices when they make the ones we want them to make. But is it really freedom to be allowed only to make choices about things for which an adult is confident the decisions will be "correct"?

Read more ...

Parenting for Social Change book review
by Sara McGrath

I've been taking my time with Teresa Graham Brett's new book Parenting for Social Change, which challenges not just mainstream but also alternative parenting cultural double-standards. Perhaps especially in alternative circles, for example, we find covert manipulation of children's choices to maintain the parents' control over of every aspect of the child's life.

Read more ...

How to talk about sex with your children
by Sarah Newton

Britain has the worst sexual health in Europe - and it is teenagers who have the worst sexual health of all. And as a nation we are not talking about it still!

To this end I consulted my "sexpert" Clare Hanbury and asked her to share some wisdom.

Read more ...

Important Facts Every Parent Needs to Know about Children and Learning
by Linda Dobson

Linus Pauling, a poor little boy who grew up to become the recipient of the Nobel prize in chemistry in 1954 and the Nobel peace prize in 1962, wasn't considered a child genius. "What started him on a long and productive life," writes Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Professor C.), "was a determination to participate as fully as possible in the life around him."

Many were surprised that Pauling had the curiosity and enthusiasm of a child even when he was ninety years old. "I just went ahead doing what I liked to do," he explained when asked his secret to happiness.

Read more ...

Unschooling Question: What About the Things You Have to Know?
by mamapoekie

Many a time, when one enters a discussion with someone who opposes unschooling, or when you read a critique about life learning, the opposition takes up the queste of "The Things You Have to Know". Because, they argue, formal schooling will teach you all these things you cannot go through life without, which you wouldn't learn if you were solely guided by interest.

They'll offer a list of things like national anthems, historic facts, the complete work of this or that author, trigonometry... Writing them all in capitals and making them seem like Universal Knowledge You Cannot Live Without.

Let me tell you something about Universal Knowledge.

Read more ...

Give Em The Finger
by Laura Grace Weldon

No one wants to be cajoled, forced, or coerced. Some of us resist mightily. Such resisters are called all sorts of names: underachieving, non-compliant, difficult, withdrawn, eccentric, or worse.

Human beings naturally resist when our autonomy is threatened. And autonomy is most threatened in childhood because many adults (particularly in the western world) believe children require moment-to-moment instruction, advice, and entertainment.

Read more ...

Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning
by Lisa Niver Rajna

Reading Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning by Marc Prensky was a fantastic experience. This book details the importance of real learning is our students. As a teacher, I am always looking to share connections with my students. I want them to ask, "Who cares about this topic?" I have a great answer. I know that brain research says it is easier to learn and you will make a stronger memory if you are interested in your topic. Partnering and passion-based learning are two concepts based in brain research.

Read more ...

The Most Empowered Children of The Future Will Be Deprogrammed and Deschooled
by Marco Torres

What has ultimately enabled you to think for yourself in life? Above parenting, many say that both age and experience have allowed them to evolve and move past the restrictive classic conditioning that educational systems impose upon students. This not only derails children from reaching their full potential, but it scars critical thought processing tied to social and emotional intelligence. Only through deprogramming future generations from the classical educational model, will children be empowered by building behavioral, social and emotional skills at levels which will contribute to their success in all areas of life.

Read more ...

Laurie A. Couture Debunks ADHD on Anderson Show
by Laurie A. Couture

"ADHD" is a fraud. It was a label concocted by psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry that allowed them to turn the distress of children held hostage to public schools (and other traumatic environments) into a financial goldmine. Manufacturing a label for the alarm signals of suffering children serves the needs, pockets and whims  of the pharmaceutical industry, the medical and mental health industry and of course, the factory public schools. The "ADHD" label does not serve the needs of children, who are suffering distress as a result of this unhealthy society we have created. Instead, the label draws attention away from children's unmet needs and conveniently redirects the focus to stimulant drugs- a form of chemical restraint that requires no responsibility on the part of adults or our culture to meet children's needs.

Read more ...

ADHD medications, heart attacks in children and The ADHD Fraud: How Psychiatry Makes "Patients" of Normal Children
by Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD

Is your child taking Ritalin?

Is there a plague of psychiatric diseases in children?

This is a true story.

On March 21, 2000, fourteen-year old Matthew Smith was having a good time skateboarding with two of his cousins. Suddenly, he collapsed to the floor and started turning blue.  His cousins called 911 but the paramedics couldn't revive him. At the hospital he was pronounced dead from a heart attack - a heart attack caused by Ritalin.

Read more ...

Depression Propaganda Makes You Demand Antidepressants
by Ian White, Author of
Beat Depression The Drug Free Way

I hope you'll 'get' the analogies here in this post. I want to give you a short insight into what we are all up against in terms of legitimacy or otherwise of the depression "disease" issue.

Read more ...


How I Parent

A short and hopefully useful instantly downloadable FREE e-book about how I've parented my own children.

Download your copy here (290KB) 

Hypnosis MP3s for Beginners

Here's another FREE e-book for you.

Are you a little bit afraid of hypnosis?

"Hypnosis MP3s for Beginners will help you understand and maximize the benefits of using downloadable pre-recorded hypnosis sessions to make positive changes in your life and to feel comfortable and safe when using hypnosis MP3s no matter what you believe about hypnosis right now."

For more information and to download a free copy of Hypnosis MP3s for Beginners, visit

A Kindle version will be available shortly under the title of How to Use Hypnosis Effectively.  The free pdf version of my "beginners guide to hypnosis MP3s" by that name containing a special 50% discount offer from leading UK hypnotherapist Adam Eason is still available at the time of writing.

To take advantage of that, go to

Beat Depression The Drug Free Way

A new and eagerly awaited book from Ian White, originator of Af-x® Therapy (and the only person ever to write an article exclusively for the Parental Intelligence Newsletter).

Beat Depression The Drug Free Way: Getting Better by Breaking the Myths

"Do You Really Know The Truth About Your Depression?"

Get the facts at

Book Review: Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs
"By far the most informative, well-documented critique on psychiatric drugs that I've come across is Grace Jackson's Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide for Informed Consent. It is appropriate for both professionals and lay-people, it is succinct and concise and loaded with information."


Beyond School: Living As If School Doesn't Exist

"This is homeschooling pioneer Wendy Priesnitz's long-awaited fourth book about life learning (also known as unschooling, radical unschooling, whole life unschooling, or self-education). Beyond School is a collection of seventeen essays about how families and individuals can live and learn without coercion or struggle, and with trust, respect, if school doesn't exist. Together, they create an impassioned but well reasoned case for a different way of helping children and young people learn about today's world while becoming equipped to live in tomorrow's world."

Please visit for more information

Free to Learn

"five ideas for a joyful unschooling life"

An excellent new book from Canadian unschooler Pam Laricchia for anyone thinking about homeschooling or unschooling. Pam has been writing on the subject of unschooling for many years and here she shares the five "paradigm-changing ideas" about learning and living that freed her family from the limitations of school. This book also contains substantial amounts of parenting wisdom! Did I mention it's only $2.99?

You can read more about Free to Learn here

I'm that mom

An impromptu blog carnival from 2010 that was inspired by a short blog post about ice cream and which blossomed into a long list of contributions. More uplifting reading than you can shake a stick at. Revisited with pleasure.

Click on a sample link or three at

Conscious Parenting & Natural Learning Conference 2012

"Join us to celebrate empowered conscious parenting and natural learning choices!

Our aim is to provide enriching experiences and to inspire families wanting to live more harmoniously and consciously while living and learning with their children and partners."

Welcome Stranger Holiday Park, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Wednesday, 8th August - Friday, 10th August 2012 (inclusive)

Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park, Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia
Saturday, 11th August - Monday, 13th August 2012 (inclusive)

Visit for all the details

Sandra Dodd World Tour

Unschooling legend Sandra Dodd (and colleague Joyce Fetteroll) are planning a visit to Australia some time in 2013. Brisbane and Adelaide are currently 'pencilled in' and I'm hoping it will also be possible to add Canberra to the itinerary. If this is of interest to you, please go here to subscribe to the updates.

The link below has details of Sandra Dodd's speaking appearances generally:

Thank you for reading the Parental Intelligence Newsletter!

The next issue of this newsletter will be published on or about 15 April 2012

Subscribe now and stay in touch

Published by Bob Collier, Canberra, Australia  

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

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