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: I found sample Eiken tests on grade 5 and 4 (There was Adam's article) and did the first part with my daughter (20 questions). On Grade 5 she did 16 of 20 correctly and on grade 4: 12 of 20. Not so bad though. She failed those where grammar was included.
Feb 15, 2018 20:43:25 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Wojtek, your daughter is still very young so I would say those are really positive results! Your efforts are clearly producing a lot of progress. Good for you, and good for your daughter!
Feb 16, 2018 7:52:23 GMT 9
Undraa: A big congrats from my end to you for your new book Adam!
Feb 16, 2018 16:50:56 GMT 9
Wojtek: Big thanks, Adam. Those tests on grade 5 are so basic but anyway they prove that my girl understands them and knows the answers. That was quite interesting experience.
Feb 16, 2018 16:54:32 GMT 9
Wojtek: Congratulations on your book, Adam! I read the beginning on Amazon and as always I have the impression you took several pages from the dictionary with a range of sophisticated words and just put them in. That's why the book will be very valuable for me.
Feb 16, 2018 17:01:19 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Wojtek, thanks! Even if you're unfamiliar with some of the vocabulary, I think the lively story will carry you through the book. I hope you enjoy it, and also find it useful for your English!
Feb 16, 2018 18:43:12 GMT 9
Dani: Hi everyone, It has been a while... Congrats on your new book Adam! Would love to get a copy too.
Feb 17, 2018 8:30:36 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam, your guest poster sounds just as crazy as you - and I mean that as a compliment!
Feb 21, 2018 5:13:52 GMT 9
Adam Beck: You're right, Mayken! And I told him that!
Feb 21, 2018 6:25:52 GMT 9
Amy: I totally agree with you Mayken!
Feb 22, 2018 1:50:25 GMT 9
Kristin T.: Just bought your bilingual book off amazon, can't wait to search for more tips and inspiration!
Feb 26, 2018 4:05:20 GMT 9
Wojtek: I've just ordered k12 pre-k program for the next whole year. Probably will be very demanding but hopefully, it will give me and my daughter lots of fun as there are lots of online activities too...
Feb 26, 2018 4:10:20 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Kristin, I hope you find it helpful and encouraging! I look forward to your impressions!
Feb 26, 2018 5:12:34 GMT 9
Mayken: Last night I dreamed I was on a package tour in a Russian-speaking country, talking to a hotel employee mixing up my (little remaining) Russian and my (basic) Italian. Woke up thinking "квартира in Russian doesn't mean the same as camera in Italian"!
Mar 2, 2018 6:16:20 GMT 9