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 popular non-fiction book Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability amzn.to/22XKuCt and the humorous novel How I Lost My Ear amzn.to/2EsjVRS, both available worldwide.
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Wojtek: Adam, will you be watching in a few hours the football match between our national teams?
Jun 28, 2018 20:27:10 GMT 9
Mayken: Happy birthday to two bilingual monkeys: Adam Beck's daughter Lulu (14) and mine (8).🎂
Jun 29, 2018 23:10:16 GMT 9
Amy: Happy birthday to your 2 bilingual monkeys Mayken and Adam Beck !
Jun 30, 2018 5:15:05 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, that's true, but in our case, the U.S. didn't make it to the World Cup this time! Japan has gone through, but they'll probably get knocked out very soon...
Jun 30, 2018 7:22:16 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Wojtek, Poland won! I was disappointed, though, to see Japan hold the ball at the end of the game because they only wanted to go through to the next round. I understand why they did that but I wish they had played harder...
Jun 30, 2018 7:24:42 GMT 9
Wojtek: Well, it suited both teams to slow down the ball. However, it was really unexpected and peculiar
Jul 1, 2018 1:16:27 GMT 9
Mayken: On the train from Cologne to my hometown, I saw a boy about 9/10 and his older sister. She was fluent in German but spoke French with a slight accent, he spoke only French. They were visiting their grandparents. I was intrigued but didn't ask.
Jul 1, 2018 22:06:55 GMT 9
Wojtek: Does anyone know an online English speech language therapist? I thought that it could be a good idea to get my girl evaluated in her ml...
Jul 6, 2018 4:02:38 GMT 9
Mayken: Yay! My 8-year-old daughter passed her ml swim test today! After swimming & diving, the pool attendant asked her to recite the swimming/safety rules (our recent captive reading), and she knew them all!
Jul 6, 2018 21:28:23 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW! Bilingual Lives: Ana Cristina Gluck, Author and Publisher of Multilingual Books for Children (with a Book Giveaway!) buff.ly/2ziSQ4J
Jul 7, 2018 11:28:32 GMT 9
Agnese: First words. What to expect? My son is 10 months old. He's still babbling, but I've noticed some different sounds depending on the situation. I wonder if he'll start saying his first words in the next weeks (or months, who knows?). What should I expect?
Jul 11, 2018 0:30:24 GMT 9
Amy: Don't expect anything Agnese. Just let it happen, and then what he says will hit you like a train. It's an amazing moment. Just live it and don't overthink it. Whatever he says, in whatever language it is, it is a magical moment.
Jul 11, 2018 5:11:14 GMT 9
Agnese: I've recently found a further (annoying) challenge: when I speak ml (Italian) to my child (10m) in front of ML acquaintances, they are making jokes about what I said (mostly accent, similar unrelated words...). What do you think is the best way to act?
Jul 15, 2018 13:04:11 GMT 9
Amy: Agnese, it is simply because they never had the opportunity to be acquainted so closely to that language. Just smile and keep going. Over time (even if this may seem long), the comments will fade. Don't show your son you are embarrassed by your ml.
Jul 16, 2018 3:56:41 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Agnese, I strongly second Amy's advice! Stay strong and continue speaking Italian!
Jul 18, 2018 6:22:37 GMT 9
Adam Beck: And Agnese, keep in mind that, above all, the highest priority is your bilingual aim, not the other passing concerns that are part of this experience (for us all). Don't let these distract you from the greater goal.
Jul 18, 2018 6:24:49 GMT 9
Agnese: Thank you! After this setback I feel stronger than ever! The same day of the incident I ordered plenty of books in the ml on Amazon and I'm reading every day new research on bilingualism and bilingual education. I'm ready to defend my goal! Thanks
Jul 19, 2018 18:37:58 GMT 9