We have all heard about parents that start teaching their children maths or science, or train them in playing piano or tennis at a very early age. Sometime it feels as if the parents may be trying to fulfil their own dreams through their children and not thinking of how it affects their children’s childhood.
So how about us that have decided to pass on our families’ languages to our offspring – do we belong to this group of pushy parents as well? Are we expecting too much from our children? Isn’t the pressure piled on by the education system enough?
Yes, we do need to push a bit now and then to stay focused on the goal, but that definitely doesn’t make us pushy parents. Being aware of certain principles necessary for your success in raising a bilingual child and making sure you incorporate these principles into your daily life will make the journey so much easier and there won’t be the need to be pushy.
You need to be aware of your goal, choose a strategy and then be consistent in your language use within the family. Furthermore it is important that you stay confident when you come up against the challenges of multilingual parenting. Arm yourself with the facts about being bilingual so you can stand up against doubters. Believe in your own ability to pass on your language and don’t give in if your son doesn’t always answer in the language you expect.
All this said, listen to your son – if he finds some aspects of learning more than one language difficult or if he is uncomfortable in any situation, discuss it and find a solution that will still keep you on track. Most of all, make it fun – celebrate all successes and always be proud of your culture and language.
Your son will not blame you for being pushy but thank you for giving him a gift of a life time.