Thursday, 26 January 2012

Raising Bilingual/Biracial Kids

Once again I've been too busy to be able to write this post on Monday so here it comes, a little late.

Raising my children with several languages and cultures is something I'm really proud of. I think that having my kids with the man I chose at the time was a great choice, since that gave my kids a unique mixture that will make them special wherever they go.

Some of you might already know that my kids are a lovely mixture of Spanish, Finish and Moroccan genes. On the outside you can't really tell them apart from other Spaniards, so in that way I don't think they'll ever have a cultural crisis. But what's going on on the inside is a different story.

My kids are trilingual since the day they were born - their first language is Spanish since it's my mother tongue and the language I speak with their father, their second language is Swedish since they were born in Sweden and it's the language my parents use with my kids. When my kids were babies their father used to speak to them in Moroccan Arabic, but after a few years it got harder and harder for him so he decided to use Spanish instead. But when we moved to Morocco they learned to speak perfect Moroccan and also classical Arabic.

Lot of people think that raising a bi/multilingual kid is a piece of cake, but no, it's not at all like that. First of all, you yourselves need to be fluent in the language you want them to learn, because in many cases you're the only linguistic reference for your kid. You need to be able to sing children's songs in the language and read bed time stories, in order to give them the cultural aspects of the language. You have to celebrate the holidays and incorporate them into your family's normal day to day routines. And here is where many problems start because not everyone has a partner that agrees with this. And most important of all - never give up! Even if your child doesn't seem to understand when you speak your language with him/her and he/she answers in the mayority language, keep on going, because in spite of everything, your kids is learning, he/she just isn't ready to speak the language just yet. It might take 2, 5, 10, 15 years but whenever he/she feels confident enough - or in a situation where no other language will do, you will be surprised to hear how well he/she speaks the language!

I think I've given my kids a good cultural start since they have lived in Sweden, Morocco and now in Spain. They are able to blend in in all their cultures, they speak the languages, they know about the culture and religious life and they know that they have the freedom to chose wherever they want to live in the future. My kids and I know that "home is wherever you lay your hat" and that it is posible to have several places in your heart. I think I've achived my goal to raise international kids and I'm extremely proud of my babies.

1 greetings:

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