Things you shouldn’t do when bringing up a bilingual child – part 1 of 3

by | Apr 24, 2013 | Challenges, Practical advice | 0 comments

Things you shouldn't do when bringing up a bilingual babyThere is no one-fits-all formula to bringing up a bilingual child. However, independent of which strategy you choose, how old your daughter is or which languages she is learning, there are some things you should do your very best to avoid at all times. These are things that may seem obvious, but that we sometimes forget about when life takes over. These are also things that often apply to parenting in general, not only with regards to your daughter learning to speak your language. This is the first of a three-part series dealing with those “do-nots” of multilingual parenting.

Never criticise
Never criticise your daughter’s language use. You might at times feel like passing a less positive comment on which word or language she uses in a particular situation, how she pronounces a word or any other aspect of her communication – the advice is the same, don’t criticise. If you feel a strong need to recommend a different way of saying something, repeat what she said in the way you think is correct/better/more appropriate. First though, carefully consider whether your comment is really necessary. If it is, you could also start by saying something like: “Did you really mean to say…?” or “I didn’t quite catch that …” to allow her to come up with a better alternative herself.

Never compare
Comparing your daughter’s progress in any aspect is not helpful at all. Children are different and develop and learn at a different pace. Don’t ever compare her to her siblings or any other children. You need to help her feel confident about her language use, not knock her down. It makes me really sad when I hear parents commenting on their children’s language skills along the ways of “She hasn’t learnt the language as well as her cousin” or “Neighbour’s kids can speak much more fluently than you do.” If you are truly worried about your daughter’s communication skills (in any language) speak to a specialist, don’t pass your own verdict. If you do consult a specialist, make sure to choose one that has experience in dealing with bilinguals.

Part 2 and part 3 to follow.

May the peace and power be with you.

Yours,
Rita

© Rita Rosenback 2013

Never miss a post! Sign up to the Multilingual Parenting newsletter and I will send you a recap of the week’s posts every Sunday. Every second week you will receive a more extensive issue with links to research articles and interesting posts from other writers, as well as handy tips and ideas! Want to read more like this? My book Bringing up a Bilingual Child is available on Amazon and in well-stocked bookshops. Do you have a specific question? You can send it to our team of Family Language Coaches and we will reply in a Q&A (questions are answered in order of arrival). If you are interested in tailor-made family language coaching, please, contact me and I will send you a proposal.

0 Comments

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Multilingual Parenting 2013 Highlights « multilingual parenting – bilingual children - […] most read series of posts ‘Things you shouldn’t do when raising a bilingual child’ has been the most popular…
  2. 7 things you should not say to a bilingual child « multilingual families raising bilingual children - […] compare children’s language skills. Children learn at different speeds. Also, shy children may come across […]
  3. Things you shouldn't do when bringing up a bilingual child - part 3 of 3 - multilingual parenting - bilingual children - […] series about things we shouldn’t do when bringing up a bilingual child in a multilingual family. Part 1 and…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.