Even though we live in a world whose population is more than half bilingual; parents wanting to raise bilingual children are often told not to. The comments we receive at times make us feel like they would be better off raising monolingual or children with one language. Perhaps we had an encounter where someone commented that we are confusing their child with too many languages. Or perhaps family members insisted that only one language be spoken for now and the other could be. Below you find a list of ways to deal with the negativity that you may receive.
Ways to deal with these naysayers
Unsolicited happens no matter what
You are always going to get unsolicited advice that is just what happens when you become an adult. Just thank them for their advice and then move the conversation somewhere else.
Remind yourself of your why
Think of your reasons and the benefits of raising bilingual children. Think about all the great things your children will accomplish when they are bilingual or multilingual.
Journal it out
When I feel frustrated or overwhelmed by something someone says, I found that it is best to journal or write it all out and then throw away the page.
Don’t feel let down in front of kids
Don’t feel embarrassed, be proud of speaking your language. If you don’t speak the language to your kids that you want your kids to grow up speaking, how will they learn.
Connect with others
There are many facebook groups where you can connect with other bilingual parents around the world.
Here are a few that I’m a part of:
Multilingual Families // Multilingual Family Life // Multilingual Parenting // Homeschooling Multilingual Kids
Accents are beautiful
Remember accents are beautiful there is no reason to be ashamed of them. They signify that you are cultured.
Be you, do you
Do what you know is best, you don’t need to have someone else tell you what to do.
Know that you are capable to do it
Most negative reactions are usually due to jealous or envy.
Inform yourself on raising bilingual children
Read books, connect with other parents as mentionned above, check out our resource page.
Half of the world is bilingual
No one has ever regretted learning an additional language as a child – many are those who regret they didn’t”Rita Rosenbeck of Multilingual Parenting
Therefore, all these naysayers really don’t have anything to complain about. It’s these people who are truly missing out.
For more, check out this article by Rita Rosenbeck of Multilingual Parenting: 12 silly questions a bilingual could ask a monolingual
Most people have good intentions and are curious. Often these same people give unsolicited advice about raising bilingual children but it is because they have been misinformed or are just giving their point of view. By using the tips that I listed above and giving the naysayers some more information about your family and your plan to raising bilingual children, you will be on your way to encouraging others to do the same!
Thank you very much, Adrienne, for linking to my facebook group (Multilingual Families)! Raising bilingual/multilingual children is a great gift we give to our children. It surely doesn’t happen by magic: it requires not only commitment but also some strategies, and, like I usually tell parents: “we need a multilingual village to raise a multilingual child” (based on an African saying). Having people criticize or doubt what we do is what we have to expect like with everything. And we need to be prepared about how to respond. Thank you so much for pointing out that we shouldn’t feel down about it in front of our children. It is very important for us to keep calm and answer rationally. You are very right: most people who question this are worried about something. Grandparents worry that they won’t be able to connect with their grandchildren, or others might seem excluded or overwhelmed about what we ask them to do. It’s so important to make it clear from the beginning that we need help of others, that family and friends can have their roles in our children’s multilingual journey. – Thank you for writing these important posts, Adrienne!
Thank you for your kind comment Ute!