The ABC’s of Multilingual Parenting: The Letter D

by Corey · 6 comments

D is for DISCUSS your multilingual parenting goals!

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!

Corey Heller is the founder of Multilingual Living and the Editor-In-Chief/Publisher of Multilingual Living Magazine. Multilingual Living is the place where she shares her knowledge about raising multilingual and multicultural children. Corey, an American, and her German husband live in Seattle where they raise and homeschool their three children, ages 15, 14 and 12, in German and English.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ana Lomba March 8, 2011 at 9:54 am

Well, I like this other one… “D” is for dad, the most fun language source for bilingual children. But I agree that discussing the path to bilingualism is important too 🙂


2 Corey March 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Ana, I love this! You are so right! How often we forget the role that BOTH parents play (and grandparents and aunts and uncles and on an on). Thank you for sharing this!


3 Lynn March 8, 2011 at 11:37 am

Determination…you definitely need to stick with it!


4 Corey March 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm

You are so right, Lynn! Determination is the backbone of so much in multilingual parenting, isn’t it? Thank you so much for sharing this!!


5 Marlene March 9, 2011 at 4:34 am

D is for DARING to speak a language with your child that your monolingual friends don’t understand when you are with them.


6 Gretha March 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Doing………….you have to do alot so your child will be


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