Though "parent" is in the title, this is an episode for all. Language learning was the first area in my life where I started being able to face some of my personal demons and really start on a path to self-acceptance and growth. The skills I've gained through this journey of learning languages have absolutely been useful in other areas of my life, as well, like in parenting. There are so many similarities between how I used to approach language learning and how I've approached parenting. While it may sound odd at first, this shouldn't be surprising because there's one common factor here - me. The perfectionist language learner in me is also the perfectionist parent. The part of me that lacks confidence and always assumes I'm wrong when it comes to languages is the same part of me that always assumes I'm screwing up in parenting. And the side of me that beats myself up over language mistakes and just wishes I could go back in time to prevent the mistake? Yep, she's there in my parenting, as well.
It just so happens that, for me, language learning was the first area of my life where I could start facing these things, questioning them, and figuring out how to overcome them or at least live with them in a better headspace. So when I started finding better ways to deal with these things in my language life, of course I eventually started asking myself if they'd work in my parenting, as well. I'm not at the end-state of this story, though. I absolutely still have down days and troubling times when I fall back into my old ways, both in languages and in parenting, and I'm not here to paint a picture of perfection that simply isn't reality. But let's start talking about these intersections of life because none of the challenges we face exist alone, and recognizing what challenging parts overlap can be incredibly useful to accelerating your personal growth, as well as your language growth.
Links from this episode:
New Year New Language Summit, Online, 10-14 January 2024
Multilingual Parenting Podcasts & Videos:
Talking to Grandma Podcast
The Future is Bilingual
Bilingual Parenting Podcast
Speaking Tongues Podcast (Not multilingual parenting specifically, but Elle has tons of guests who grew up multilingual and/or are multilingual parents, so there's a wealth of resources and networking here)
Multilingual Family on YouTube
Multilingual Parenting on YouTube