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Let Your Child Be Proud of Their Language Skill

Let Your Child Be Proud of Their Language Skill
This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Raising Bilingual Kids

Let your child know he has a special talent–let him shine (not boast) to his friends.

We’re driving home from Tahoe and the batteries in the iPad are (finally) gone. My 9-year old’s friend is with us and they’re now looking for something non-electronic to do. The horror!

We usually have a few English books around, but apparently we don’t have any in the car right now. My kids LOVE the Donald Duck comic series from Holland. There are something like 300 paperbacks (each one numbered–we probably have 100 of them) and they read them over and over. Slowly, they’re reading the text more and more.

His friend was looking at the pictures, but had a few questions. My son told him what the bubble text meant. Eventually, my son read aloud to him. He read the Dutch then translated on the fly and read the story in English. I used to do this with my kids when they were little (but in reverse: English books into Dutch on the fly). It’s extremely tiring.

If they’re proud of what they can do well, they’ll get even better at it and maybe even more important: they’ll enjoy it.

I’m not sure either boy realizes or cares that what my son is doing is rather difficult. But maybe it’s not difficult at that age. I don’t know, I wasn’t bilingual at that age. But the friend asked about one long word and asked how my son knew that one. “I just know,” he answered. Not boasting, just stating it matter of factly. These two are such bosom buddies that I don’t imagine they even think in terms of competition. They’re just fast friends and one is good at what he’s good at and the other at what’s he’s good at.

I find this a bit difficult to write as I’m rather modest, I don’t like (or admire) bragging or boasting but I’m hoping to show that it’s important that the children see their language talent as something positive, as something to be proud of, something that’s special. Why do I care? Because I want them to keep it up, improve, and not drop it. I hear and read about how around this age (something like 7 to 10) kids decide this second language ting is silly and they rebel and want nothing more to do with the language.

I realize it’s a fine line between pride and bragging. But I tend to believe that kids would sooner brag about their soccer goals than being able to correctly pronounce appelboom. Maybe it’s the “scholar” in me, but if my child is good at language and is proud of it, I’m completely thrilled.

Let your child shine in their second language--and be proud of it.

Let your child shine in their second language–and be proud of it.

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  1. cindydwyer

    There’s a huge difference between bragging – or boasting! – and being proud of your kids. Sounds like you have a lot to be proud of.

    • Bradley

      Thanks, Cindy. I’m also trying to document it (by writing about it) so I remember during the times when I’m not quite as proud. 😉


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