Before I got pregnant with my one-and-only girl, I never gave the concept of “raising a bilingual child” much thought. All I knew was that my husband and I both spoke Spanish to each other and as a first choice among friends, and that we would naturally speak Spanish to our daughter. But not with a laid-out plan or a specific method because, well, that’s just so not our style! I guess we naively thought the Spanish-fluency gene would automatically be passed on to her at birth, just like my curls and her dad’s blonde looks would be.
But once she was born and we delved into an almost helicopter parenting mode, we began to ask ourselves some of the same questions many families ask themselves about raising bilingual children. Would hearing more than one language from birth be confusing for a child’s seemingly small, undeveloped brain? Would it put her at a cognitive and social disadvantage? Is there even any real benefit whatsoever to make it worth the hard work of raising a bilingual child? We knew in our hearts that raising our daughter in two languages would be good for her, but was there any solid evidence to back that up? That’s when the parenting books, websites and blogs came in, not that we found a whole lot of information out there for bilingual families at that time.
While we truly believe that bilingual is better, in the United States we are fighting against decades of solid belief systems based on ignorance, social oppression, xenophobia and a false assumption that assimilation means completely letting go of your heritage language and customs in order to become fully American. There are so many misconceptions about growing up multilingual that have been continuously perpetuated from one generation to the next, but thankfully there is also a great deal of scientific evidence which can help us separate fact from fiction.
Let’s take a look at five of the most common myths about raising bilingual children. Hopefully this valuable information will be enough to debunk some of the major myths associated with bilingualism, once and for all.
Now that we’ve debunked the old myths about raising bilinguals, I invite you to delve into the many amazing reasons why bilingual truly is better.
Buy the book I co-authored, Bilingual is Better: Two Latina Moms on How the Bilingual Parenting Revolution is Changing the Face of America.
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