Help! I Am Having Communication Frustrations With My Bilingual Children

by expert · 0 comments

Help! I am a Hungarian married to a Canadian and have 2 girls: 8 and 4 years of age. I am having major communication frustrations with my children.

My husband and I want our girls to learn Hungarian so I speak it to them all the time, (my husband speaks no Hungarian).

When the girls were little, communication was easy due to the small vocabulary they required for affective communication flow between us. However as time went on and they needed more complex explanations about general every day life, the communication became very difficult.  Often they would ask what does that mean mommy, or how do you say that in English. They wouldn’t understand what I was saying, I have to say things twice, once in Hungarian then translate, although I’ve heard that this is not a good idea.

The main source of my problem is this. I live in a small town with no Hungarian community, no family near by. I am literally the only person in my girls’ life from whom they hear Hungarian.

I desperately want to stick to speaking Hungarian to them so they will learn the language, but feel frustrated talking to my kids literally almost all the time.

My entire parenting, everyday necessary communication between myself and my girls is a constant source of frustration. I am having behavioural issues with my kids that I know is stemming from this constant frustration because of the situation.

Do I give up speaking Hungarian to them, and know that they will never have then to have the chance for picking up this language at a young age?  Switching over to English would be so much easier and would solve so many issues…

I have tried reading Hungarian books to them from the time that they were babies, and have a bunch of Hungarian kids movies. When they were tiny they were fine with it all but now if I put on a Hungarian movie, my girls don’t understand most of it and don’t want to watch it.

I really wonder if there is another person with a similar problem and or if there is a support group or helpful advice on how to deal with such a situation.  Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and hope to receive a response.

— Suzanne


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