My 13.5 month son had a doctor check-up this morning. When our nurse practitioner asked about his language development, I explained quite eagerly that he was saying several words or parts of words in our ml because I speak to him only in the ml (as a non-native Spanish speaker). The nurse practitioner responded that I should speak to my son in ML and ml. I just smiled and we changed the subject, but I felt dumbstruck by this unsolicited advice from a medical professional on the language use with my son. What she said seemed completely against the grain of what I've read in the outstanding book "Maximizing Your Child's Bilingual Ability" and what I've striven for for months bringing as much of the ml into our lives as possible. Has anyone had advice like this from a medical professional? Do you have a little encouragement to offer?
Brace yourself, as a bilingual parent you'll get some more of this!
I have been repeatedly told by my daughter's school-visiting doctor that I should stop talking to her in ml2 (because I'm a non-native). I stuck to my guns, politely but firmly refusing to hear about it. And the bottom line was that I was right, a speech therapist confirmed the "speech problem" my daughter was supposed to have according to that silly doctor was in fact non-existent, it's simply that my daughter is young and needs time.
Don't let yourself be intimidated by other people pressing their ideas on you, even if they think they are better qualified. Stick to what feels right to you as a Mum and as a bilingual.
If you think about it, it is not much different from when you are the parent of a newborn and everyone tells you how you should do such and such a thing. At the end of the day: you know best. These unsolicited pieces of advice should recede as your child's communication skills expand (around 3). I experienced that first-hand on two occasions from relatives, the minute my daughter turned up to ask me something in ml2, one person stayed gobsmacked and the other almost fell off his chair! Lol
***"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - Oscar Wilde***
Taysha, as I mentioned in my message to you, specialists in one field aren't generally specialists in another, and I suggest simply ignoring any comments from people who have no experience or expertise in raising bilingual children. At the same time, I think even comments that come from more reliable sources should be carefully appraised, particularly when advice is offered without a sincere attempt to understand the fuller circumstances of your specific situation.
To me, both are vital for offering effective advice: personal experience plus keen understanding of the circumstances in question. After all, not everything that's valid for one person's experience is necessarily valid for another's--and I think this is often very true for bilingual and multilingual families, since, though we do share some fundamental challenges, our circumstances are naturally quite different.
When the people we encounter--no matter who they are--lack experience in this area and, moreover, make no real attempt to grasp our circumstances, their "helpful advice," while I know it can be unnerving, should be shrugged off and our focus must remain on what's truly important: our own best efforts, day by day. And, in time, when the proof is in the pudding--when our children's bilingual ability has grown active--we'll ultimately feel deep satisfaction over the fact that we persevered past all hurdles and doubts and have realized the success we long sought. In the end, you see, I think such instances of unsolicited advice are actually little "tests" of our own desire and faith.
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the book "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability", praised worldwide by parents and experts in the field. Available at Amazon amzn.to/22XKuCt, the global Amazon sites, and other booksellers.
Nellie: My daughter came home from school with her first "naughty word" in French (caca boudin)! I guess this means she is now officially integrated!
Sept 22, 2017 5:54:43 GMT 9
Nellie: Adam - will watch the video as soon as I can (living circumstances not permitting right now - we are still in temp accommodation and I can't turn on volume) - looking forward to it!
Sept 22, 2017 5:56:44 GMT 9
Mayken: Skyping with grandma last night had to be cancelled due to technological problems - I needed to talk my mom through a Skype update and her phone battery died. :-(
Sept 25, 2017 20:45:42 GMT 9
Joanna: sorry Mayken...this is sad but funny as I'm sure many skype Grandparents have the same woes !(mine..) For us this weekend: potty training has led to great quality time reading and chatting, and some pretty hilarious ml questions
Sept 26, 2017 6:20:44 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken and Joanna, I can relate! My mother (Grandma) can't seem to get the sound on her computer working so when we Skype, we also have to use the telephone!
Sept 26, 2017 6:36:03 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam, and Joanna, it's good to know we're not alone in this!
Sept 27, 2017 2:46:28 GMT 9
Joanna: Planning a long Christmas minority language visit, so exciting!
Sept 30, 2017 14:46:01 GMT 9
Mayken: Yay! Skype is working again on my mom's tablet, meaning we can skype with ml grandma again!
Oct 2, 2017 23:12:24 GMT 9
Mayken: The other day my mom (monolingual ml) called while my daughter and I were out, so Daddy (monolingual ML) answered. My mom was amazed to find out he isn't monolingual ML any more after all, and praised his active ml ability.
Oct 3, 2017 23:28:39 GMT 9
Joanna: For each day my daughter is exposed to other people speaking English (here in France) I put a little star on the calendar...trying to fill it up!
Oct 8, 2017 3:52:17 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice motivating idea, Joanna! And Mayken, thanks for sharing your good news on two fronts!
Oct 9, 2017 7:11:50 GMT 9
Marisa: My daughter won't say number one in Spanish or English, but in German! She loves recognizing the number and saying it out loud... it sounds more like the word 'ice' in English, though, but it's 'eins.' Number 9, however, is 'nueve'. So funny!
Oct 11, 2017 10:33:45 GMT 9
Mayken: My dad's giving Adam's book to his Lithuanian friend's daughter, whose husband is sceptical about their little girl learning German.
Oct 14, 2017 21:10:20 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, thank you for sharing my book! I hope it can be helpful to them!
Oct 16, 2017 15:57:32 GMT 9
Marisa: Adam, another bilingual monkey is about to be born near me (one of my colleagues is giving birth tomorrow), so I also got her and her husband a copy of your book... this world needs more bilingual kids!
Oct 18, 2017 0:06:43 GMT 9