A Publication About Elimination Communication from DiaperFreeBaby
EC'ing Boys and Girlsby Elizabeth Parise
The differences between girls and boys has long been a compelling and controversial discussion. Are these differences biologically based or are they the result of the environment and culture children are raised in? The truth is, it is probably some of both.
Science suggests that there are differences in the way a boy's brain develops versus how a girl's brain develops. Working with these differences will not necessarily perpetuate gender stereotypes, but rather allow each gender to develop smoothly, quickly, and comfortably, thus reducing common misconceptions such as "boys 'mature' more slowly than girls".
So, what are these differences and how should they be handled? Many parents wonder if they should nurture their children following these developmental differences or should they teach their children to be more like the other gender to round them out more. Again this doesn't need to be an all-or-nothing, black-and-white, one-size-fits-all approach. Just like EC, each journey will be a little different.
Knowing what the differences are can be helpful in crafting out an approach that works for your family. Think of these differences in brain development as learning style differences. The *content* you are teaching is the same, but the way you teach it may be different. Of course, all people are different and gender is only one clue about the best approach for an individual.
In general, girls develop the right side of the brain faster than boys do. This leads to earlier verbal skills and better memory. Girls are also better able to read emotional cues and facial expressions. They are generally more interested in faces, and toys with faces. Girls develop fine motor skills faster on average than boys. Girls are also generally better able to multi-task.
The left side of the brain tends to develop faster in boys as compared to girls. This means that in general boys' gross motor skills, visual spatial skills, reasoning, and problem solving develop faster on average than girls. They are generally more interested in groups of faces, rather than a single face. Boys are more sequential and tend to complete tasks in a more linear way.
This doesn't mean that you need to pigeon hole your children into strict gender stereotypes. You most certainly can work on skills and ways of thinking generally assigned to the opposite gender. Speak softly and sweetly to your boys too. Play vigorously and boisterously with your little girls as well. Encourage creativity in your boys through the physical art of dance. Follow your daughter's imitative inclination by showing her how to fix a car.
Considering gender differences doesn't need to stop with your child either. You can use these tendencies as a guide for how you and your partner might approach EC and ways to involve older siblings.
When considering practicing EC, women are more drawn to the communication and bonding aspects. They are more likely to pick up on intuitive signals such as just getting a sense of when the baby needs to pee. Women tend to consider how the baby is feeling about EC and how it will affect them emotionally in the long run. They tend to be more patient and collaborative with the process.
Men are more interested in the immediate, practical results of EC. When trying to convince a man of the benefits of EC try stressing that it saves money on diapers. Men tend to rely on physical signals and timing. They tend to be more competitive about EC and stress graduation. Men like to find their own way to EC and take advice as criticism. They are more likely to direct a child on how to potty and will often find the most efficient EC techniques.
Siblings are often very receptive to helping EC a younger sibling. Common gender differences can provide further clues on ways to get them to help. Boys are great entertainers, especially in physical ways. Elicit their help keeping the baby occupied on the potty through games like "peek-a-boo" or stacking blocks. Boys also love tasks such as getting the potty for you too. Girls enjoy keeping baby calm on the potty through reading or talking to the baby. Girls love to help potty the baby and are concerned with how the baby is feeling about EC. They love to imitate your ECing tasks.
Parents often ask whether physical or emotional differences between boys and girls affect EC practice with each gender. The basics of EC are common to both genders. To get started with EC visit the Practicing EC pages of this website. You also might want to take the DiaperFreeChallenge(TM), Preparing For the Challenge and Get Started, at www.diaperfreechallenge.org, for further inspiration.
While individual personality is also important, gender can make a difference when it comes to pottying strategies, positioning, and other factors. Below are a few ways to help you capitalize on the unique strengths of your own child.
Tips for ECing Girls
EC'ing a girl is a lot of fun! Many girls have excellent verbal communication skills at a young age, helping them to communicate about toileting. Parents don't have to worry about aim with girls in the same way as with a boy, and girls can easily use small potties such as the "top hat" style potty. Girls can also wear dresses which make for quick pottytunities. Here are some tips if you're EC'ing a girl.
Tips for EC'ing Boys
ECing a boy is a lot of fun! Many boys have excellent gross motor skills helping them with getting to, and on and off, a potty or toilet. The ability to aim a boy can be helpful for pottying him disreetly into a bottle or small container. Boys' clothing doesn't need to be completely removed for them to urinate. Here are some tips for EC'ing boys.
Extra Tips For Aiming Boys
Remember not to let everything boil down to gender, however. Other factors which can impact your EC experiences are how much experience you have with EC, how many other children you have, how much help you have with child care and EC, what your local EC support is like, whether you work outside the home or not, what the climate is like where you live, and the personality of your EC'ed child.
Letter From the Editor
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