Saturday, March 14, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

I've always been a fly-by-the-seat-of-of-my-pants kind of parent, taking advice from books, friends and family, applying what works and discarding what didn't as needed. Reading Out of the Mouths of Babes by Dyan Eybergen has made me think I didn't do all that badly.

The book covers all the major topics - sleeping thru the night, eating issues, toilet training and sibling rivalry, among others. I agreed with most of her ideas, although I did have a few little quibbles here and there.

I really like her idea that you should tailor your parenting to each child rather than expecting your child to adapt to your personality. Since every kid is different, each one reacts in different ways to their experiences so it only makes sense to adapt to the kid as needed.

The chapter that resonated with me the most was the one on toilet training. I have long thought that I was a lazy parent because I let my kids dictate when they were ready to potty train, allowing them to remain in diapers until they showed a readiness to use the toilet. This, needless to say, bothered my mother no end. "When are you going to get that child out of diapers?" she'd bark, staring when they were around 20 months old. My answer was always "When they're ready." I didn't see the point in fighting for months with a kid who just wasn't capable of recognizing that they had to use the toilet. Why not wait? What's the big deal about changing diapers? And lo and behold, when the child told me she was ready, it only took a few days to have her using the toilet all the time. I didn't use rewards, I just heaped praise on them for using the bathroom like a big kid. This is the same philosophy that Eybergen espouses - her book validated my method and who doesn't like a little validation?

Other topics she covers in the book haven't cropped up for us yet - night terrors and general fears haven't been an issue thus far, although I'm sure they're bound to happen. It will be useful to have this book on hand to reference.

This is a lovely little book, full of common-sense advice, with a friendly, down to earth tone. While it may not apply to every issue or aspect of child-rearing, it has plenty to recommend it.

This is a Mother Talk book review. To see reviews of this and other titles, please visit Mother-Talk.


Green-Eyed Momster said...

All of these books seemed to come out after I was done with all (most) of those issues. That's just my luck!
I totally agree with your approach to toilet training. When I tried to rush one of our daughter into being ready, it back-fired big time. Each and every kid is different and what worked for one, doesn't work for another. It's up to us to guide them and not force too many ideas upon them.
I'll check out the book one of these days. I hope to be an awesome grandma someday!!


Anonymous said...

I need this book. I just had a horrendous night defending myself to a very rude and upset 8 year old blaming me for not seeing her dad while he was away on a ski trip. Bah.

kittenpie said...

That sounds lovely... and we had much the same experience of potty training - no real training involved, she just announced she wanted to learn so she could wear Dora underwear. Okay, then.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm going to be taking your approach to the whole potty training disaster...I've been pushing it way too much lately and it's just not working...I think I'll lay off now...

Naomi said...

Hey Julia,
I've nominated you for an honest scrap award, check out my blog! I enjoy reading your blog & your book reviews... I either learn something or laugh my ass off!

Dyan said...

Thank you so much for this lovely review of my book Out of the Mouths of Babes. I appreciate that you felt validated - that was one of the biggest reason why I wrote the book - to allow other parents to see themselves as their own experts. You know your children best and therefore are the authority on knowing what works for them. And having quibbles about different parenting approaches or theories is good - parents who question and modifiy parenting strategies to fit the individual needs of their children are very effective parents.
Kind Regards,
Dyan Eybergen
author: Out of the Mouths of Babes