One kid deals political corruption a HUGE blow

money_congressI want this kid to come to Australia! In fact, why can’t he travel to all ‘democracies’? He’s brilliant!! Get this: he is a 16 year-old computer whiz, in USA. He programmed a plug-in that allows any American with a computer to instantly see where any politician gets their money. I love this! A 16 year-old boy in his pyjamas exposes the entire spin system and puts you in charge of seeing all the bribery and corruption that runs political parties.

I love this quote from the programmer: “Whether Democrat or Republican, we should all want a political system that is independent of the influence of big money and not dependent on endless cycles of fundraising from special interests. The United States of America was founded to serve individuals, not big interests or big industries.”

We all know that he who pays the piper calls the tune. Now Americans can easily find out who the puppet master is, at the click of one button. Don’t look now, senator, but your fly is undone. We know who you really serve and why you say what you say.

If we are finally to restrain and regulate corporations so our planet can heal and regenerate and so we can have justice and equity, first we need transparency. No prizes for guessing why the Australian government does everything in its power to defend fossil fuels and kill renewables. Political ‘donations’ (read: legal bribery) suffocate progress and raze our children’s future. Until political donations are forever banned, at least the bullshit has to be exposed, and placed at voters’ fingertips.

I would love to see this app in Australia, and the rest of the world in fact. Read all about it here: CLICK.

Meanwhile, you can trace how Australia pollies are bribed and bought at this site:  democracy4sale.org

Once you find the names of the entities that donate the money, you might find yourself saying: ‘well, who are these people, and what is their agenda?’.   It’s easy to find out.  Search in this excellent website: source watch.org

Posted in Empowerment/Activism, Uplifting/Inspiring, World News | Leave a comment

Controlled crying helps nurses, not parents.

baby-cry-1Despite all that is known today about what babies need, somewhere between 2 thirds to 3 quarters of all infant sleep interventions sold to parents are still about behavioural extinction. In other words, gradually refuse to attend to your crying baby for longer and longer periods until the crying is extinguished. The persistence of this discredited, outmoded and risky practice ignores the fact that parents DO NOT LIKE IT. According to the research, around 70% of parents say they would not apply this method, they sense the stress it brings to their child.

Researchers are characteristically understated and restrained. Almost all (not all) parents I have spoken with find ‘controlled crying’ (I include all the euphemisms for this practice) deeply disturbing, painful. Many feel heartbroken if they stick to the injunction to refuse attention to their crying child. It gets more passionate than this, actually. Most parents I have heard from who have tried this technique, absolutely HATE it. A door separates the helpless infant from the equally despairing parent, sobs on both sides.

So, babies don’t like it. Parents don’t like it. Child-development and brain experts don’t like it. Contact works. Rejection doesn’t. Who does this method really serve?

Posted in Educational | 3 Comments

Je suis L’ENFANT

imagesAnother act of brutality, a series of them, and the world comes together to protest.

To defy.  To unify.

People stand shoulder to shoulder in Paris, in shock, in bewilderment, in silence. We try to make sense of it. We box people: ‘Terrorists’, ‘Islamists’, ‘Cartoonists’, ‘Capitalists’. Blood begs an answer. We are so tired. Grasp for categories – does it help?

I think the time has come for us to change the mouldy old rhetoric, the old name-tags; and to speak of new things that are now known so very, very, very well. Media peddles its wares by staying superficial. Debates rage about ‘ideology’. As if an ideology can lead a person to kill, like a program inserted in the head. We know better than that.

We know the propensity for violence is not inborn. Nor can it be switched-on by reading a scripture. Rage, emptiness, loss of self, gullibility, lack of empathy…these necessary conditions for acts of violence are all embedded in human neurology. Violence tells the story of our childhood. No human was born to kill; our spirit was killed first. Unless there is healing, we act out as was first acted upon us. Is anyone listening? Child-development science has been shouting this from rooftops the world over, for decades!

Every war was first a war against children. Every act of terror was first the terrorising of a child. Every mocking and offensive cartoon was first an emotion of shame and violation.

Look around. Wherever in this world there is patriarchy, wherever there is authoritarian parenting and education, wherever there is punishment and shaming of children en masse, there will be violence. No, it is not about Islam. Not about Christianity, Capitalism, not about Rock & Roll. Unless of course, those are used as instruments of patriarchy and punishment.

Do this as an experiment. Look anywhere in the world where the culture is heavily patriarchal and the family dynamic is authoritarian. Tell me if such a culture doesn’t produce more violence than its neighbours. Tell me if the anthropologists and the brain scientists have been wrong all along.

As long as authoritarianism and patriarchy exist, there will be guns, bombs, petrol engines, coal stacks, chain saws. Violence is always given a brand. Islam. Capitalism. Etcetera. At the core, the driver is always the same. War and terrorism, (if we insist on making those distinctions) are not ideologies: they are SYMPTOMS.

Violence demands a response. But by the time the violence has happened, all responses bring an awful cost. That is because by the time the violence has happened, that is a very late indicator that something urgent has been left unattended. Something has been terribly neglected, overlooked, denied.  It has been left to fester, to brew. By the time we send the police, the warplanes…we are too late! We failed to pay attention when we should have. We have allowed children to be shamed, neglected, humiliated, enculturated, ‘socialised’. Then, we left the adults unhealed. In the name of ‘cultural rights’, in the name of ‘non-interference’, we abandon all care. We cloak our indifference and laziness in the banner of ‘tolerance’. Then……BOOM!

We respond to violence…because we have been too detached to PREVENT it at its source.

Wherever there is authoritarianism, wherever there is patriarchy, violence will be generated. And in this globalised age, there is no ‘far away’, there is no ‘over there’, there is no ‘them’. Violence towards children is everyone’s business. Patriarchy three thousand miles away brings a consequence, right here in our street. Our own neglect is instantly exported.

Democracy is not done yet. Neither is peace. These are not acts of Parliament. Democracy is a family dynamic. It is a way of education. Children’s rights must trump cultural rights, or we all suffer. Conservatives are punitive. But liberals are not much help either, when they accept and defend culture for culture’s sake.

I think it is time to be pre-emptive and pro-active. If we care to end violence, we need to insist on ending violence towards children. We need to balance gender dynamics and to democratise family relationships everywhere in this world.  Everywhere.

Can we declare that human rights are universal? What a question! The question presumes all humans aren’t human. So: if you exploit a man in the name of religion, then that aspect of your religion has to go. If you oppress a woman in the name of culture, then that aspect of your culture has to go. If you shame or punish a child in the name of tradition, then that tradition has to go. It has to go. Enough!

Children’s rights must trump religion and override tradition. Human rights must trump culture, no matter what the culture. West, East, Middle East, modern, ancient… for the sake of humanity we have to decide that no culture is exempt.

Posted in World News | 8 Comments

Heart to Heart Parenting seminars go to Canada, 2015

vic1I’m very happy, and honored, to announce that I will be speaking twice at the Vancouver Island Parent Conference on 7th February 2015. I appreciate the invitation to speak and am very much looking forward to working with the community of Victoria, BC. This will be my first time on Canadian soil, and I know I will be learning a lot about the various cultures that inhabit this beautiful area. All are welcome, so; to my North American friends and colleagues: please pass this on.

For more information, enquiries and bookings, CLICK HERE. 

Posted in Events | 4 Comments

Natural birth gets BIG recognition in UK

006-Toronto-Newborn-Baby-PhotographyThe National Health Service in UK has issued new guidelines urging low-risk mothers to give birth NOT in hospital settings. This is a huge recognition of the negative impacts of defensive obstetrics, and the inherent safety and lifetime benefits of midwife-assisted, natural birth.

Read more about this HERE.

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First Asian nation to ban corporal punishment of children!

Filipino-ChildrenCongratulations to the Phillippines! And a very happy Christmas to Phillipino children. As of this week, it is no longer legal for parents or teachers to hit children in the name of ‘discipline’.  So interesting what is happening in the Catholic world. This would have seemed perfectly impossible just one decade ago.

Philippines, the first Asian nation to ban! Every continent has begun the change!  47 nations where children don’t have to fear physical punishment anymore.      Hey, Australia: ready to wake up yet?

Posted in Empowerment/Activism, Uplifting/Inspiring, World News | 4 Comments

Spanking banned in Nicaragua! Viva Nicaragua numero 46!

food-fun-and-safety-for-children-in-nicaragua-apDoes it seem like progress on this issue is speeding up? Is it starting to seem weirder and weirder that people think it is OK to spank children? Just like people thought it was OK for  husbands to smack their wives, not so long ago?

Nicaragua just banned the corporal punishment of children, the sixth South American nation (in the heart of the Catholic world!) and the 46th nation in the world to clean up its act. In historical terms this world is just minutes away from a global ban.

Posted in Empowerment/Activism, Uplifting/Inspiring, World News | 2 Comments

Estonia bans corporal punishment – the list grows!!

filename-tallinn-capitalCongratulations to the Estonian parliament for making it clear, through the law, that humans are not for hitting – at any age.  Fantastic for Estonian kids, they can now live free of parental blows, like most other European children. Today, it is against the law in almost all of Europe for a parent, or anyone, ever to hit a child. In Australia we call it ‘discipline’. In most of the developed world, and much of the developing world, they call it ‘abuse’.

That makes 45 countries that protect children from being smacked, and a further 45 that have made a commitment to introducing this protection. 90 nations that GET IT (out of a total of 196). Almost half!!    (Australia nowhere to be seen yet).

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BLOODFUN – When Violence is Entertainment

imagesToday thousands of Australians are celebrating that K-Mart and Target have stopped selling the viciously violent                       Grand Theft Auto-5 (GTA5). Petitioners stared, the retailers blinked.

This game won its fame for being technologically and creatively brilliant, bringing the gory detail of human sadism to new heights, and treating female subjects like sex-toys and garbage.

Victory? Mmm. Not sure.

Its not just the game. You should have seen what followed it. News of the success of this petition brought forth a flood of outraged young gamers, almost all – but not all!! – young men. Make no mistake, petitioners, you have pissed these guys off, big time. Their comments sound like this: ‘Everyone who signed this disgusts me’, ‘You idiots need an education’, ‘Sad pathetic losers who cannot grasp the concept of reality and fiction’. The gamers had Mummy take their toys away – and they are angrier than the women protesting the gamification of rape.

Look around. The GTA5 debate has brought the love of interactive rape-and-smash fantasy out into the open, it is EVERYWHERE, and it is PASSIONATE. I still haven’t recovered. Its not the shock of seeing what was in GTA5. It was the shock of seeing the fervent devotion that legions of young fans will give it, they fight for the right to stay hooked to this machine, they will attack you for threatening their pleasure. Wow!

It’s just a game, they say. Its just fantasy, they say. So…..guys, take a big look at what your fantasies are. What is your attraction to that kind of fantasy? If you give half a damn about yourselves, then be curious about WHY you get excited by bloodfun, smashing bone, rape. C’mon! Why is that such a turn on for you? And, by the way, you know full well you are not alone with your lust for onscreen splatter and humiliation.

Two-thousand years ago, as a Roman dad, you take the wife and kids, along with tens of thousands of other punters, down to the Coliseum to watch live children being ripped apart by hyenas, or gladiator-slaves hacking each others’ body parts. You cheer together, eat Roman popcorn and enjoy the sunshine. Sunday fun.

A few hundred years ago, as a European dad, anywhere in Europe, you take the kids down to the public square to watch live cats or dogs being held over flames, to go woo-hoo at the flogging of humans in bondage and at group hangings, like housewives at Oprah. In the mosh pit, the men had hard-ons. The women hooted, laughed and clapped. Part of the shared joy was in hurling insults and rotten veggies at the bound prisoners; the receptacles of the townsfolk’s self-loathing. Sunday fun.

Today, we call it ‘torture’. For most of human recorded history, we called it ‘entertainment’. I thought this was progress. I’m discovering just how many people revile this as ‘political correctness’. We are more delicate now. We try to disinfect by distancing, making reality seem less real. We manufacture the humans we want to run down with our vans. Its exciting, isn’t it?

And so, here am I, like most of us, up until a few years ago soaking up Schwarzenegger face-punching movies with a bowl of chips. Loving it when the guy I have been manipulated into hating gets his arse kicked hard at the end. Air-punching, I feel the momentary release course through my veins. If I can’t have my revenge on all those who have hurt and humiliated me, then the fantasy of vicarious revenge will have to do. God, it feels good, doesn’t it? For a second, my pain has gone. Until the next movie.

And so, we have demonstrated the power of togetherness, the power of consumers, to change the marketplace, to disable those who profit from our children’s desperate unresolved rage. Remember that. Consumers are the new government, and with this newfound power we can even stop climate change. But don’t think we have done anything to ease the lust for revenge-entertainment. Our people are hurt, in despair, and they don’t know it.

Personally, I am not worried about the fact that so many of us are attracted to onscreen violence. What frightens the hell out of me is that almost everyone treats this as normal. Like: ‘Don’t give it another thought’ ‘ It’s just kids being kids’ ‘ It’s not reality’ ‘ They are just playing’ On and on go the petty rationalizations. I’m not frightened of violence, as much as I am terrified of naivety, denial. Stupidity, actually.

It’s time. It is time to face up to why so many need to gain pleasure and release from virtual bashings. We should also ask why so many people can enjoy the spills and thrills and wow factor, without any visceral disgust for the repeated offers to commit onscreen sadism.

Detachment. Someone has pulled the plug on human empathy. Revenge. Both.

Not one iota of this broiling anger and anesthetized humanity has changed because we managed to restrain two big salivating retailers.

By profiting and exploiting the most wounded aspects of the human condition, the makers of GTA5 – and of the massive list of bloodfun games that share the shelves – are certainly making things worse for everyone. But the game makers and sellers are definitely not the root of the problem. To blame the writers rings as hollow as blaming heavy metal music for school shootings in America. Every deflection postpones a real solution, and in the end, might cost lives.

We need to ask: ‘What has been done to us? What has been done to our children?’ We know with unprecedented clarity today that nobody is born genetically determined for viciousness. What has been done to us all? How were we, and our children, made to feel so small? So embittered? Who humiliated us? What happened in that humidi-crib, that labour-ward, that bedroom? What happened in that yard, in that classroom? What happened in that church, in that synagogue, in that mosque? Where were our children diminished, shamed, rendered helpless, infuriated? When gamers press the ‘rape’ button…do we dare to ask: who are they really paying back?

It takes a lot of courage to ask that kind of question, to seek that kind of honesty. Do we have the guts to ask it of ourselves? Who stomped on us? Why do we get this thrill from turning the tables, and becoming the stompers onscreen? Our compulsive behaviors and our fantasy-lives give vital clues about our personal histories. Something inside wants and needs healing, release. Blowing it off with a movie or game is only momentary relief, a rush…but it kicks the can down the road and does not serve us at all in the end.

I’m glad K-Mart and Target were swayed (though it was for profit, not for love). But if all that was achieved was a market ban, then none of this problem has shifted, not one bit. The hurt is still there, the anger continues under the surface. The ban did not heal, it created resentment.

For sure, parenting and education have evolved over the decades and centuries, quite a lot. But we still shame and humiliate, we still punish and manipulate. We neglect children’s emotional needs wholesale. We block their aspirations. We enculturate them. They are angry. We better listen.

Posted in Empowerment/Activism, World News | 4 Comments

The Peace Code in the Human Brain – my talk at TedX, Pittwater, Australia

10487183_310506652444596_8512592787649884743_nThis is why I do the work that I do. This is at the heart of what drives me. I hope you enjoy my TedX talk, it is my best brief condensation of a big message. Sadly the sound quality is a bit dodgy, there is a tiny bit of drop-out. But the message is intact, and it was a privilege to contribute to this powerful international discourse, in our own beloved backyard.

I encourage you to go on and listen to some of the other speakers, there were some incredible people there with fantastic things to say! Here it is – click!

Posted in Educational, Empowerment/Activism, Events, Uplifting/Inspiring | 1 Comment