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I'm mom to V, 2 years old in a couple weeks.
I'm Italian and my husband is a Chinese naturalized American. V was born in the UK and we have been living there up to 3 months ago, now we are living in Italy.
I speak Italian to V and my husband Mandarin and we speak English between each other. V can speak Italian in full sentences, very good vocabulary. But we are having issues with the minority language (Mandarin). We left out English for now as we thought would very easy to learn in the future as very likely we might move back to the US.
I already have checked the link to suggestions to encourage the minority language acceptance but I think that the situation is getting rather complicated.
DH was very busy with work and thought he had time for starting talking to him whenever the wanted...big mistake.
Now that we live in Italy and V's language picked up so quickly, my husband felt he was very behind. V keep refusing not just Chinese but also his father and although my husband can speak Italian doesn't have the same command of the language as in Chinese or English.
When V was 1 year old I bought for him Muzzy which he really liked. Now he is loosing interest. My PIL live in the US so I cannot have their help. The Chinese source right now can come just from my husband.
To me it's not just a matter of learning another language, it's a matter of communication between father and son.
What to do? Any hint would be really appreciated.
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Greetings, Francesca, and I hope you are weathering through your difficult situation. I speak Latvian to my child but her father only English, and despite living in the U.S. her Latvian developed first, somewhat also because of her father's lack of linguistic concern, after all we are in America. When his relatives began to express concern, every minute with him became an English lesson and so we are now fully functioning in both languages; however, my daughter (four) does express to me sometimes that she does not like her father. He is a man of high standards, I have no doubt, and quite a good father, except that he is often too busy working and reworking equations in his mind to please a small child. My instinct tells me there is also a bit of his not being a part of our linguistic community coming in to play. Therefore, I do empathize with your situation. At age two, your child probably isn't ready to comprehend the, "he's your father, you can feel love in different ways toward different people," spiel yet. And it does seem that your child's Chinese/Mandarin input is severely lacking. Because you are so immersed in the Italian, would it be at all possible to find perhaps a family or two in your area who are Chinese? I realize that may be impossible. Perhaps finding a Chinese nanny or caregiver for a regular time each week would give you some time to do something for yourself and provide some linguistic support for V. Certainly there are some very nice videos (Mei Mei teaches singing, et al.). Maybe you could begin with some combined activities, where father reads in Mandarin to you both, or something to show V. that it is important to you as well. Nothing, however, can ultimately take the place of the father needing to spend time and providing personal communication and love to the child. Somehow, despite the difficulty they need to find their way to communicate, and they will, though it may not be easy.