I love that I am able to raise my children trilingually and that I get lots of support from bloggers and experts where I can get all kinds of tips and information. And yet, I sometimes like to play devil’s advocate and to look for inconsitencies and problematic areas.
So, I have found an inconsistency in the multilingual parenting methods, and it makes me feel a little hypocritical. For example, all experts stress the benefits of speaking another language and especially starting to learn (and teach it) it as early as possible.
However, they also stress the importance of monolingual situations for your child, especially when it comes to the minority language. If the child knows that his family and friends speak the language, he won’t use it.
Please point out if I’m wrong, but don’t these two approaches pretty much contradict each other? On one hand, we want everybody to be bilingual. On the other hand, we want our children to be bilingual by having them speak with monolingual children. Does it make sense? Does it make us hypocrites by wanting the whole world to speak many languages, except when it comes to our children’s multilingualism?
And, how best to fix this situation? The solution that comes to my mind is to have our children speak with people who speak other languages then our child does, except for the one we want the child to speak. For example, my children speak Polish, German and Dutch. Many of the Dutch children at daycare speak other languages as well, for example English, French, or Albanian.
If I wanted her to speak Polish and still the world to be multilingual, I should find somebody who speaks Polish, and then let’s say English and French, but not Dutch or German, right? Except, how would I do that? Many Polish moms try their best to fit in, and teach their children Dutch and send them to Dutch schools, as International Schools are more expensive, so basically I’d have to search low and far for somebody like that.
What do you think? Is it inconsistent to preach bilingualism and yet stress the importance of monolingual situations at the same time? If so, how to fix this?