Mayim Bialik is an actress known for the popular 1990's tv show, Blossom. She went on to receive a Ph.D. in neuroscience.
I have read a few interviews with Mayim Bialik over the years about her adherence to what people call "Attachment Parenting". If you're not familiar with it, the basic tenets of it include co-sleeping or bed sharing, carrying your baby as much as possible instead of using strollers and playpens, and breastfeeding until the child is ready to wean (child lead weaning instead of parent lead weaning). In addition, parents may home school and use different methods of potty training. Mayim has been outspoken about her parenting methods, and has published a book called "Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way". Mayim has admitted that just like any parent, she is not trying to be perfect, she just wants to do what is best for her kids and family. She and her husband believe that this style of parenting will produce confident, empathetic, and happy children who grow into well adjusted adults.
A lot of people may write all this off as overwrought hippie parenting, but I think that Mayim has a lot of good things to say. It seems today there is so much pressure for kids to become independent, especially of "baby" things. There are set ages for weaning, sleeping in a crib alone, potty training, giving up comfort items, going to school alone. I have felt a lot of pressure from people in my life concerning these things. When my child turned a year old, I started hearing that I needed to "socialize" my child. People told me that we were too "cooped up" at home together and that my child would be "too attached" to only me. I joined Gymboree because I started to feel like I was doing something wrong. My child absolutely hated it. He screamed whenever we turned into the parking lot, so we stopped going. I listened to him and instead of forcing him to socialize in a way that others found acceptable, I tried other things that worked for him. We started spending a lot more time with his cousins in an environment where he felt comfortable and happy.
When it comes to sleeping, my child always slept pretty well in a crib. I never thought too much about it. Now that he sleeps in a regular bed, he gets in and out a lot more and asks for us in the middle of the night. Guess what--we are co-sleepers now, which people criticize. I have heard a lot of parents say they will never do that because it will be too hard to break the habit later on, and that it spoils the child. Isn't it easier to provide your child with the comfort and security they need right now instead of battling them every night? I don't see it as spoiling or coddling.
Mayim also home schools. Now I have to admit, when I think of home schooling, I envision a parent at home alone all day with their kids doing schoolwork, which sounds lonely and tedious. People think that home schooled kids aren't socialized properly. When I read a little bit more about current styles of home schooling, I was intrigued. Home schooling today seems more like what I would call Alternative Community Schooling. It's not just one-on-one lessons at home. Home School parents form small communities, where they have group lessons, field trips, and outings together, so of course their kids are going to learn how to function and socialize in a group setting.
Attachment Parenting may not work for every family structure, but I believe in the method of gentle parenting that considers a child's individual needs and development. I also believe parents need to be more supportive of each other instead of critical. As long as you are giving your child a loving home where their needs are put first, you really can't go wrong. Putting your child's needs first isn't spoiling them; it's letting them know that they matter. It's better to lead positively than to be a dictator, in my opinion.
What do you think? Do you practice Attachment Parenting? What works for your family so that everyone is content at the end of the day?