Let’s face it, unless we have a general sense of where we are headed, we tend to feel a certain degree of anxiety and lack of motivation. This is true for raising children in more than one language as well. The question is, what can we do to avoid worry and lack of direction?
To solve this, we need to take some time to figure out our multilingual parenting goals. Remember that these goals will not be the same for each family, so you can’t just assume that another family’s goals will be the same as yours. In fact, multilingual parenting goals may not even be the same for each person in the same family. This is why discussion is key!
At the very least, you should have a conversation with yourself about what you expect to come of raising your children multilingually. This is where you will figure out what your goals are. A multilingual parenting goal is something that you would like to happen through the process of raising your children multilingually.
To figure out these goals, you need to dig deep inside and be completely honest with yourself. Do you expect that your children will be able to read and write in all of their languages? Or that your children will be able to attend college in another country in a target language? Maybe you just want to make sure that your children can converse well in their language(s) so that family overseas can keep a close connection?
It could be that while having a conversation with yourself that you realize that things that you thought were goals are actually wishful thinking simply because you are not willing to put in the time, effort and focus that would be needed to make it happen. That is fine! It is good to clarify which are doable and which are not. Dream big while also being realistic.
After you are clear on what your goals are for this adventure, then it is good to discuss this with your spouse to find out what his/her goals are and if you are on the same page.
Discuss your multilingual parenting goals with trusted and supportive friends and family. Even discuss your goals with your children if they are old enough to understand what you are talking about. The more you talk this over with the people who are integral to your family’s multilingual journey, the more you will be able to stay on track.
Ironically, the more we discuss our goals, the clearer they become for us (sometimes this even happens while discussing things with people who disagree with us since it forces us to think more clearly)! It is funny how it works this way. So start the discussion and watch your multilingual parenting goals come to fruition.
We are going through the alphabet one letter at a time, multilingual-style! Join in the fun and add your own ideas, suggestions and tips in the comments below that begin with today’s letter! Check out all of the ABC’s of Multilingual Parenting posts so far!