Out of the Mouths of Babes
Parenting from a Child’s Perspective
Out of the Mouths of Babes offers a unique parenting approach tailored to working with the personalities of individual children, ultimately educating parents on how to observe and appreciate every experience through the eyes of their child. Eybergen’s book highlights eight main areas:
Bedtime and Sleeping through the Night
Sibling Rivalry and Conflict Resolution
Through each chapter, Eybergen uses her background as a nurse as well as a parent, and shares stories of her own misadventures and triumphs. Eybergen cleverly uses humorous quotations from children and situations of her own that parallel her children’s experiences to help parents develop an understanding from their child’s perspective. Once parents have this understanding, they are able to provide more effective parenting techniques for any behavioral challenge.
Out of the Mouths of Babes ~ Parenting from a Child’s Perspective (Chapter 7, Discipline) Excerpt:
On Christmas Eve day, when our two older children were six and four years of age, I ran upstairs to answer the door, leaving the two of them alone in the basement. It was my best friend, dropping off some gifts. About five minutes after letting her into the house, we heard the sound of breaking glass coming from downstairs. I quickly responded to the noise and found my two boys standing near the TV entertainment unit with golf clubs in their hands. A golf ball had gone through the glass of the cabinet, and it had shattered beneath their feet. Thinking they were in big trouble, they instantly began blaming each other for what had happened, and it was obvious that I was not going to get to the truth of the matter. Frazzled, I couldn’t think fast enough to do anything, except remove the boys from harm’s way and tell them I would need time to think about what I was going to do. They retreated to their rooms, indubitably shaking in their boots, and I continued to visit with my friend.
Chat with Dyan and Carrie
For many parents, following text book strategies for childrearing can often lead to frustration or feelings of failure. Bringing over a decade of experience handling behavioral problems in kids—as well as raising her own three boys—pediatric psychiatric nurse, Dyan Eybergen, provides the roadmap to parenting children according to their unique personality in her book, Out of the Mouths of Babes. Based on attachment theory, Eybergen shows parents how to trust their intuition and eliminate the one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, providing clarity and humor to the journey of parenting.
Carrie: What inspired you to write Out of the Mouths of Babes?
Dyan: I worked as a child and adolescent psychiatric nurse for more than eight years–there wasn’t a behavioral situation that I wasn’t trained to handle. When I began having my own children I thought I was more than adequately prepared for motherhood. I learned very quickly that all my education and clinical experience taught me nothing about being a mother and the emotional ties that bind. Children are unique and cannot be parented from a one-size-fits-all paradigm.
Carrie: Tell us a bit about Out of the Mouths of Babes.
Dyan: Out of the Mouths of Babes is a collection of stories and anecdotes based on the lives of my three boys and the experiences my husband and I have had raising them. It is a humorous and candid look at parenting from the child’s perspective. I do not promise any quick fix solutions to any parenting dilemma; Out of the Mouths of Babes offers guidance to parents who may feel they have been undermined somehow by contemporary approaches and are wanting to relate to their children in a more instinctive way. It encourages parents to work within the context of relationship and parent their children in a way that compliments their individual child’s needs and personality.
Carrie: What do you want readers to take away from Out of the Mouths of Babes?
Dyan: It is a personal account of one mother’s parenting journey and how she learned to rely on the uniqueness of each of her children to tell her how to parent them. The intent of the book is to encourage other parents to reflect on their own relationships with their children and find a way to parent that is right for them and their families.
Carrie: What is your favorite chapter in Out of the Mouths of Babes?
Dyan: I love the chapter on childhood fears. Writing it was so cathartic for me; it brought me to a better understanding of my middle child’s anxieties. I worked a lot of stuff out between me and him on those pages.
Carrie: What was the most difficult scene to write? Why?
Dyan: The chapter on sexuality was by far the most difficult to write because the whole book is written from the child’s perspective. I needed to be sensitive to the issues of sexuality for a young child and wanted to write it in a way that was in keeping with the rest of the text. That was not always easy to do considering the nature of the topic. Talking about sex with children is awkward at its best and the views on how to best conduct those discussions is vast and controversial. It was the chapter that needed the most re-writes!
Carrie: What are you reading right now?
Dyan: I am always simultaneously reading a non-fiction book in the genre of parenting/child development and a fictional novel for pure entertainment. Right now I am reading The Trouble with Boys by Peg Tyre and The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir.
Carrie: Who are your favorite authors and who influenced your writing?
Dyan: I picked up a book by Katrina Kenison called Mitten Strings for God a few years ago in a hospital gift shop. I read it and was awe-inspired by her gift of writing and how she was able to tell such beautiful stories about common themes surrounding family and children. I knew then, that I could make the book I wanted to write come to life. Most recently, Susan Olding’s (Pathologies: A Life in Essays) candid honesty about life and motherhood validated my own parenting and writing experience. Academically, in the genre of parenting, I was inspired by Selma H. Fraiberg, Daniel N. Stern, and Barbara Coloroso.
Carrie: Can you offer a glimpse into your “real life” ~ Outside of writing, what’s important to you?
Dyan: I am a busy working mother of three boys and I’ve been married for 15 years. I love spending time with my husband and children outdoors on nature walks, canoeing, downhill skiing, playing cards and board games. I am an avid reader. I revel being in the company of good friends.
Carrie: Tell us about your biggest struggle and/or success and what you’ve learned from it?
Dyan: Parenting has been one of my biggest struggles (and I’m not saying that because I wrote a parenting book). I started to parent from a blue-print model and it didn’t work for me or my children – more often than not it exacerbated whatever situation I was trying to deal with. I went through a period of time where I felt a lot of guilt and like a failed parent. Through my struggles to parent intuitively, I learned to modify techniques based on my children’s needs and found I got more favorable results that way. Interestingly enough, it was my children who taught me how to be an effective parent — which is now one of my biggest successes!
Carrie: Who is your biggest fan?
Dyan: Without a doubt, my mother!
Carrie: What was the best advice you’ve ever received—do you follow it?
Dyan: “Don’t look back.” I try and follow it, but when I do perseverate on issues, I at least try and work out what I can use for the future, so I won’t make the same mistakes.
Carrie: What is your favorite literary turn-of-phrase?
Dyan: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities.
Carrie: What did you learn about yourself while writing this book that you may not have expected?
Dyan: I learned just how therapeutic (and mysterious) the process of writing can be. I carried around the idea for Out of the Mouths of Babes for so long that when I actually sat down and started writing it, there were moments where my thoughts left me and my finger tips would slide across the key board involuntarily. I would look down to see the finished sentence or paragraph and be amazed at what it said. It wasn’t often what I intended to write or what I thought I knew about the situation, but it made sense and gave clarity to my understanding and I realized that I just worked something out between me and my children that I didn’t fully appreciate I was struggling with.
Carrie: Tell us a bit about your decision to publish with iUniverse and whether you’re glad you chose this path?
Dyan: Choosing to publish with an independent publishing company was an informed decision and part of a strategic plan. I researched my options very carefully and it wasn’t because I thought I wouldn’t get published by a traditional house, it was more of the time it would take to get published that prevented me from going the traditional route. Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected more than 144 times before their manuscript was accepted by a mainstream publisher and Stephen King has written about using his rejections letters to wall paper. I chose iUniverse because of the supportive services it offers and the reward system it has in place for aspiring writers. It has a 4 tier award program; Out of the Mouths of Babes has been the recipient of three of those awards thus far: Editor’s Choice, Rising Star and Reader’s Choice. Each award offers additional services to an author’s title, for example: a 100% returnable guarantee from iUniverse on its Rising Star titles for book stores. Most self published books can’t get on the shelves of brick and mortar stores because of the cost risk to the outlet if the books don’t sell. I do a lot of parenting education and have built an author platform and readership from the seminars I provide. The book has sold more than 300 copies since it’s release this past November and has won a Mom’s Choice Award outside of the publishing company. My goal is to make an impression on the mainstream publishing industry by proving that I am an author who can market and promote her work in a viable way. The hope is that I will attract an agent and get a book deal for my next writing project. I don’t regret doing it this way, although it has been a very steep learning curve and sometimes I feel very alone in the process. iUniverse has been extremely helpful with regards to book publishing through it’s supportive programs such as editorial services and book cover design. However, marketing and promotion is something entirely different and although iUniverse offers those types of services as well, as a self published author it’s beyond my budget at the moment. The stigma of self publishing is also hard to overcome. Especially when it comes to getting reviews. Some larger publications have refused to read my work based on the fact that I published independently. I had a local paper review it and the feature writer’s comments to me was that he was astounded that it was self published because he found it so readable!
Carrie: Have you ever considered writing fiction? If so, tell me more?
Dyan: Not for publication. I have written numerous poems and short stories over the years, but haven’t taken it seriously. I don’t have a story brewing inside of me that is screaming to get out on paper. I rely on my background as a psychiatric nurse and as a parent for inspiration and right now that delivers itself in the non-fiction realm. I wouldn’t rule it out for me though. When and if an idea strikes me, I’ll run with it.
Carrie: Tell us a bit about the Mom’s Choice Awards (Honoring Excellence) and why you won this award.
Dyan: iUniverse sends out a monthly newsletter to all of its published authors. The June/08 letter had a call for entry submissions for the Mom’s Choice Awards. I was in the midst of moving across the country and didn’t read the newsletter until October 15, which happened to be Mom’s Choice Awards’ deadline for submissions. I had actually missed a flight that morning to go train for a new job in another part of the province. When I returned home later that morning I sat at the computer and rummaged through old emails and read the iUniverse June newsletter. Thinking I was going to get fired from my day job for having missed that flight I figured I had nothing else to lose so I called Mom’s Choice and asked if they would accept entry for my book if I overnighted a copy to them. They graciously accepted my submission a day late. I didn’t get fired from my job and as the fates would have it missing that plane earned Out of the Mouths of Babes a Mom’s Choice silver award. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians and authors. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, Ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times Best-Selling Author; LeAnn Thieman, Motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books; Tara Paterson, Certified Parent Coach, and founder of the Mom’s Choice Awards. They will be taking Out of the Mouths of Babes to Book Expo America in New York in May and featuring it within their Mom’s Choice Awards exhibit. I will be there to do a book signing on the Saturday, May 30. It’s very exciting.
Carrie: What’s next for you, Dyan?
Dyan: I have five other book titles in my head. Eventually, I will start writing again! I would like to do a sequel to Out of the Mouths of Babes but Parenting from a Teenager’s Perspective. My eldest is just turning 13 so I am beginning to harbour material. I also want to write about a mother’s journey through parenting a child with an anxiety disorder – how the disorder takes over and the child is lost to the mother parenting him/her–she can’t see the child for the angst. There has been a lot of work done on the subject of bullying, but I would like to explore the idea from a survivor’s perspective. I want to write about children who were on the brink of suicide or homicide as a result of their victimization and look at the key components of their will to survive it. Another idea I have is to write about a child who goes through his early life undiagnosed of a mental health disorder and follow the path he/she goes down as a result of his/her deficits: substance abuse, criminal behaviour, to living on the streets; how a diagnosis when he/she is an adult sets him/her free of a life of struggle and how he/she learns to adapt to a life full of hope and prosperity. I suppose that could be a fictional book, based on a real person I know. Obviously, these ideas are in their infancy and need to be explored through the written page to test their worthiness. I have a lot of work ahead of me!
- Coffee or Coke? Coffee
- Beach or Mountains? Mountains (I live near the Rockies)
- Stilettos or Sensible Shoes? Stilettos – but I always have a pair of sensible shoes handy!
- With you on a Desert Island? My husband
- “Black or White” OR Gray? Black – very slimming!
- Compact, Convertible or Luxury Car? If a Jaguar is considered luxury – then luxury.
- Kids or Pets? Hmmm – I’ve written a parenting book….KIDS!
- Designer or Discount? Discount
- Cocktail of Choice? Cosmopolitan
Visit the Child Perspective Parenting Website
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Deadline: May 15th, 2009 ~ midnight, EDT