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Mayim Bialik Addresses The Controversy Surrounding Her New Book

Shaina Eng |
April 25, 2012 | 1:37 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter


Actress Mayim Bialik talks about her controversial new book about attachment parenting. (Shaina Eng)
Actress Mayim Bialik talks about her controversial new book about attachment parenting. (Shaina Eng)
On Sunday afternoon as the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books neared its conclusion, Mayim Bialik spoke on the Los Angeles Times Stage about her new book “Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way.”

Bialik, while best known for her roles as Blossom Russo in “Blossom” and Amy Farrah Fowler in “The Big Bang Theory,” also holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.  Although there were many fans of Bialik the actress present for the event, she focused mainly on her highly controversial book on attachment parenting.

Her book is not, as she often states, a parenting handbook.  Bialik said that it is more like a memoir that shows how her family applies attachment parenting to their lifestyle.

On explaining why she wrote the book, Bialik stated, “This is the way that my husband and I decided to parent…  I wrote about the nitty gritty of our lifestyle, and really became this unofficial voice for this style of parenting.”  She emphasized the fact that she had not started out with an intent to write a book, but was eventually persuaded by many people to give an account of what it is like in an attachment parenting household.

She then went on to explain that attachment parenting is “not about who’s best attached to their child; the term attachment refers to the psychological stage of development, and it refers to secure attachment.”  Bialik listed several characteristics of attachment parenting, such as an emphasis on natural birth, breastfeeding, sleeping with one’s child, an emphasis on letting the child have its say, and gentle discipline.

Bialik then addressed three common myths about attachment parenting, and debunks them all by talking about her family situation in particular.  She argued that attachment parenting does not necessarily lead to spoiled, clingy and manipulative children, nor does it mean that many fear-based myths are true or that the parents will have absolutely no time for physical or emotional intimacy; these kinds of situations can be found in any type of household, regardless of the style of parenting.

The book has been the center of a lot of controversy, and Bialik addresses many arguments made by others, both in her presentation and in the Q&A with the audience.  She talks about the controversies of elimination communication and clearly distinguishes between elimination communication and potty training.  She also addressed her family’s decision regarding breastfeeding and child-led weaning, and she argued strongly against the argument brought up by an audience member that breast feeding is child abuse.

More generally, Bialik answered questions from the audience about how she became involved with “The Big Bang Theory”, why she decided not to go into academia, and how she came to love neuroscience.

Before being escorted offstage, Bialik had this to say about the positive aspects of attachment parenting: because of the emphasis on letting a child know that his or her voice matters, her son was comfortable telling her what kind of car he wanted when they were looking for a new car.  “It was just a really interesting nod to when you tell a child that their voice matters, they really believe that their voice matters.  And that’s what I want for all of our kids, to believe that their voice matters.”

Reach reporter Shaina Eng here.  Follow Shaina on Twitter.

For complete coverage of the Festival of Books, click here



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