Trouble in Paradise
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To Speak or not to Speak....

My husband and I are married 4.5 years.  We have similar interests and an unbelievable telepathic energy. We often times call or text each other at the exact same time or share the same thought. One year we even gave each other the same Valentine's card and teddy bear.

Over the course of our marriage and becoming parents to two beautiful young children, our vast differences have become increasingly apparent to the point I feel completely disheartened and I'm realizing we are in fact polar opposites, more different than similar.  I'm disheartened because the issues where we differ are significant.

One of the main issues for me is that my husband absolutely refuses for our children to learn Spanish. His reasoning: two languages will confuse them, they are American and English needs to be their main language, that it's not fair to him that I would speak Spanish with the kids and he would be excluded from the convo (he's not interested in learning Spanish), he wouldn't know what is being discussed. If he hears me speak a few words to the kids in Spanish, he makes faces or will "correct" with the English translation.

Why do I want our children to learn Spanish? Because it's my native language, I am of Hispanic origin and beside it being a part of my culture, there are obvious benefits to being bilingual. People pay top dollar to have their children learn a second language and here my husband completely opposes me teaching our children.

 

Can anyone provide any insight or suggestions as to how to handle?

Re: To Speak or not to Speak....

  • You sound excited to share your culture with your children, and he sounds scared of being left out.  Is there more of a reason that he isn't interested in learning Spanish, too?  That's the worrisome part.  Keep explaining how this is important to you, and it makes you feel sad that he outright rejects it.  
  • My husband and I are married 4.5 years.  We have similar interests and an unbelievable telepathic energy. We often times call or text each other at the exact same time or share the same thought. One year we even gave each other the same Valentine's card and teddy bear.

    Over the course of our marriage and becoming parents to two beautiful young children, our vast differences have become increasingly apparent to the point I feel completely disheartened and I'm realizing we are in fact polar opposites, more different than similar.  I'm disheartened because the issues where we differ are significant.

    One of the main issues for me is that my husband absolutely refuses for our children to learn Spanish. His reasoning: two languages will confuse them, they are American and English needs to be their main language, that it's not fair to him that I would speak Spanish with the kids and he would be excluded from the convo (he's not interested in learning Spanish), he wouldn't know what is being discussed. If he hears me speak a few words to the kids in Spanish, he makes faces or will "correct" with the English translation.

    Why do I want our children to learn Spanish? Because it's my native language, I am of Hispanic origin and beside it being a part of my culture, there are obvious benefits to being bilingual. People pay top dollar to have their children learn a second language and here my husband completely opposes me teaching our children.

     

    Can anyone provide any insight or suggestions as to how to handle?

    I don't buy the "no second  language at all."

    In our house -- at least when Bobchi was still living with us before she went home to her reward -- we spoke English and Polish.

    I have forgotten most of my Polish by now --- but I still retained the "understanding part of it." I would usually translate for Bro if the grownups were speaking Polish when us kids were around. Usually it involved something we were not supposed to hear. hehe

    A friend of mine lived in many countries and spoke several languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Armenian and I think she had some German thrown in there, too.

    Then again, I knew a Cuban kid who was in my Spanish class. He didn't speak a stick of Spanish. Spanish was not spoken at home at all. He was there to learn the language.:)

    Languages are highly useful. Doesn't matter which ones you learn.:)

    Uh, to say that you would not speak Spanish (or any other language) in the presence of those who do not understand and speak the language also would be highly rude and just plain tacky. I am sure your H would be on board with this.

    I have no idea why he's so touchy about "no Spanish for the kids."

    That you have somewhat grown apart is what concerns me.

    You need to have a long heart to heart talk with him --- let somebody babysit the kids at their house for an afternoon --- that's when you'll speak to your H about what's happening between the 2 of you.  There is some kind of distance growing between the 2 of you and I'd nip this in the bud asap if I were you.


  • There is tons of documentation that show that bilingual is the way to go, Show it to him. 
    Take the kids for lessons out of the home.
    This is your language and they are yours kids, why are you letting him dictate what you can and can not do?



  • AARRRGGHHH!!!  I am frustrated for you.  So unbelievably short sighted of him.  I just can't even.  In our diverse country and the global economy we live in, to speak multiple languages is such an ASSET.  A huge asset.  And English and Spanish are two of the most widely spoken languages both in this country and around the world.  Your all's kids have the perfect ability RIGHT NOW to learn those two languages so easily, instead of spending years of classes later on just trying to hold their own in a basic conversation.

    Let me lay out some facts and anecdotes you can pass on to him.  Up until the age of 5-6, our brains are PRIMED to learn languages and learn to communicate.  But those neurons and pathways shut down and atrophy after those ages.  Obviously people can still learn languages past the age of 6 but, instead of it coming naturally, it comes through rote and memorization.

    Does he seriously think they will get confused between the two languages?  Has he done even one iota of research that says that?  I guarantee you he hasn't.  Because that doesn't happen.  I grew up in So. CA, 60 miles from the Mexican border.  I've known dozens of people who were brought up speaking both languages.  From what they tell me, they were not confused then, and they certainly aren't confused now.  Now, they have a valuable skill that has gotten many of them better jobs.  There are bilingual schools that teach in both Spanish and English in order for the children to learn both languages. 

    Anecdotal story.  I used to work at a bank in So CA and one of my customers was telling me about her 4-year-old son.  When he was still an infant and she went back to work, they specifically hired a bilingual nanny.  They asked her to talk to him during the day, but only in Spanish.  Neither my customer or her husband spoke much Spanish, so they spoke to him in English at night.  From when he first started speaking, he spoke both languages.  By the time he was old enough to have conversations, he was naturally fluent in both languages.  Just like that.

    Funny story.  My cousin married a Spaniard and lived with him in Spain the first year of their marriage.  His niece was somewhere around 3-4 when she first moved there.  The niece, not only learned how to speak English fluently just from hanging out with my cousin, but she spoke it with a perfect American accent.  Then the family went on vacation to Ireland for three weeks.  She came back speaking with a perfect Irish accent, lol.  And she could flip between the accents like it was nothing.

    THAT is the power of learning languages before the age of 6.

    I know I'm preaching to the choir and I'm sure you have talked yourself blue in the face already from stressing the importance of being bilingual.  If he doesn't want to learn Spanish.  Fine.  But how dare he deprive your all's children of this golden opportunity.  Sorry to rant about your own husband, lol.  But I would have given my eye teeth to have had someone in my formative years speaking a foreign language to me that I could have learned.

    I don't even understand why he is so dead set against it.  Maybe if you show him research that they will not be confused by two languages.  Maybe if you translate for him what you are saying or at least the gist of it.  Like, he probably doesn't need the play by play of asking them what they want for lunch.  But a preface of, "I'm going to ask the kids what they want for lunch," then a Spanish convo with the kids on their lunch preference.

    Even I could join in on that!  Food is one of the only things I am fluent in, for Spanish ;).

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