During this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 through October 15, I am reflecting on the importance of teaching children our families’ traditions, language, and ways of being.
As you may recall, I grew up speaking two languages and am raising bilingual children. It is hard work, but bilingualism has many cognitive, social, and emotional benefits for my kids, so I persevere.
But language is not only important as a way to communicate and connect with others. Language is also culture–it impacts how we perceive the world, influences our values, and is a lens into people’s behavior.
Sadly, many bilingual and multilingual students (particularly our Indigenous, Asian, Hispanic, and Latinx children) attend schools that don’t consider these students’ language practices in the educational program, which leads to students internalizing harmful messages about themselves.
Sometimes parents avoid speaking their home language outside the house for fear of being ridiculed, singled out, or plainly rejected in social environments. For example, 23% of Latino Spanish speakers said they had been criticized for speaking Spanish in public, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2021.
This week, I am resharing an article that I wrote for Confident Parents Confident Kids last year, where I describe my experience growing up bilingual and raising bilingual kids. You can read it here:
Raising Bilingual Children
Let me know what you think! I always love to hear from you.
Gratitude to Jennifer Miller, author and founder of Confident Parents Confident Kids, for making space for this important topic.