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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.

 

Book 22/100: Beyond the Sling by Mayim Bialik

Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way - Mayim Bialik, Jay Gordon

It's hard to review a book like this without sounding like I'm passing judgment on Bialik's parenting choices, which I don't really want to do -- I'm sure her kids, like most of us, will turn out more-or-less fine.

I don't know a ton about attachment parenting, but I knew that attachment parents did a lot of things I plan to do, like baby-wearing, exclusive breastfeeding, sleeping with baby in the same room, etc. And after reading about attachment parenting apart from Bialik's book, I still basically agree with its tenets. But Bialik's interpretation of it just takes it too far for my tastes, and throws in a bunch of stuff that just made her lose credibility in my eyes (like "elimination communication" and being anti-vax and generally anti-medical intervention in general).

I feel a little bit like Bialik's interpretation of attachment parenting principles is akin to fundamentalists' interpretation of Biblical principles -- they might feel like they are doing it "better" than everyone else, but really their extremism is mostly in service of their own feelings of righteousness. I can get behind responding to a child's needs in an intuitive way, but I was very uncomfortable with Bialik's interpretation that this essentially meant a parent could NEVER be away from her children. I cringed when I learned that she had only been out with her husband without her children three times in five years -- and I was not surprised to find out that they divorced a couple years after this book was published. In many ways, her interpretation of the parenting style seemed to be more about parental dependence on the children rather than the other way around. Not to mention that it deprived her children of relationships with other nurturing adults and the opportunity to build a wider support network -- far from being a hardship, I always considered it a treat to get attention from non-parental adults (babysitters, Grandma, aunts) when my own parents went out on dates or to do other things that didn't revolve around being parents.

So even though I hope to take a more balanced approach to parenting than Bialik seems to do, I still found the book helpful because my own responses to her ideas helped solidify my own parenting values.