Jump to content


What's with the ads?

Photo

2 yo screams and tantrums when you speak minority language...


12 replies to this topic

What's with the ads?

#1 4kookiekids

4kookiekids

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 883 posts

Posted 27 September 2017 - 09:37 AM

This is probably silly, but I'm just not sure how to respond to my 2 yo. Background: She had massive amounts of fluid built up in her ears and had surgery this past March to clear it out because she wasn't talking, wasn't responsive to speech, etc. Right after her surgery, it happened that my husband was off of work for four months (injury, surgery, & recovery), and so for her first four months of real hearing  after her surgery, she heard almost exclusively English (we speak English as a family whenever dh is around instead of doing OPOL). Now, six months later, hubby is back at work, and I speak lots of German again during the day and my 2 yo is angry about it. This morning (just as an example), she felt my hair after my shower, and I asked her if my wet hair felt cold and wet (in German) and she said "wet". So I agreed with "Yes, it's really wet!" in German and she got really upset. One more round of me saying it in German, and she screamed at me the English word "WET!!" and then ran off and threw a massive tantrum on the couch and wanted nothing to do with me for at least ten minutes.

 

Fine, I don't really mind her throwing a little tantrum, but I'm not sure how to best handle this sort of situation in the future, when it's clear that it's the language itself that is the source of conflict. I didn't even start speaking German to my oldest until he was 2, and he adjusted to it right away and was speaking it back with me within six months, so I had expected a smoother transition with the little one (but she does have three older siblings who speak a lot of English at this point, so I'm not sure how much that plays into things). Should I not have repeated it 2-3 times? Should I have agreed with her that it was "wet" (in English)? Other alternatives?



#2 regentrude

regentrude

    Qualified Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 26669 posts

Posted 27 September 2017 - 10:25 AM

This will be an uphill battle if you speak English in the home, and even more so if there are siblings who speak English with one another. Resistance is normal.

Keep talking in German, but also know that at some point they will just answer you in English. Just keep going. Being strict with OPOL woul probably have been the easiest, but that ship might have sailed since you let on that you speak English just fine.

I would affirm her in both languages: "yes, it is wet. Meine Haare sind nass". Rinse and repeat.

Ignore the tantrums as best as possible, and don't budge: mom speaks German - that's the way things are.


Edited by regentrude, 27 September 2017 - 10:25 AM.

  • Grover, maize, 4kookiekids and 1 other like this

#3 Arcadia

Arcadia

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17143 posts

Posted 27 September 2017 - 11:45 AM

You can reply in German since she understands but I don’t see a point of repeating to a two year old that is not in the mood for repetition. My area has plenty of expats and school age kids tend to answer back in English regardless of what language was used by the other speaker.

My kids converse in Chinese and German besides English. I can’t really control what language they use daily. They do speak Chinese only to their Chinese tutor and German only during outsourced German class because it is a few hours a week and there is peer pressure there. Kids do switch to English during German school break time.

What I do find is that kids are good at picking up scolding words. All my younger relatives (including my kids) picked up how to scold someone politely in multiple languages through immersion. They pick up vocabulary from the news channels as well because k-8 textbook vocabulary is not as wide. The Chinese we use for conference calls and the German that their German school board members use for board meetings exceed textbook vocabulary.

There is a family in my kids’ German school that sends their kids back to Germany to stay with grandparents every summer. They are dual income so they would have to pay for summer camps or a babysitter otherwise. Their kids German is fluent but still speaks to classmates in English outside of the classroom.

My kids learned fast through immersion and when there is a need. They are very strong willed like most of my relatives. However my oldest learn at twice the speed of my youngest for any language. My youngest pick up languages faster than my husband. My husband is the one that needs explicit spiral instruction for any language including English.

Do you have any Oktoberfest near you? We have quite a few Oktoberfest here and they have kids activities as well. Basically it is fun for my kids to hear majority of the people of all ages chatting in German.

#4 4kookiekids

4kookiekids

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 883 posts

Posted 27 September 2017 - 12:53 PM

This will be an uphill battle if you speak English in the home, and even more so if there are siblings who speak English with one another. Resistance is normal.

Keep talking in German, but also know that at some point they will just answer you in English. Just keep going. Being strict with OPOL woul probably have been the easiest, but that ship might have sailed since you let on that you speak English just fine.

I would affirm her in both languages: "yes, it is wet. Meine Haare sind nass". Rinse and repeat.

Ignore the tantrums as best as possible, and don't budge: mom speaks German - that's the way things are.

 

Ok. So just keep going. For some reason, I was concerned that I'm going to permanently damage to our linguistic endeavors or something. I don't know - it's probably dumb, but she's SO insistent about wanting me to say the English word that I think I panicked a bit. lol. Sorry! And thanks for the reassurance!

 

We started off OPOL, honestly, but it didn't work for our family dynamic. Dh already is gone alot for his work, and instead of picking up the German he was hearing, he ended up just tuning us out and thus wasn't engaging with the family when he was home. I knew the German part itself would be harder by giving up OPOL, but I decided it was worth it in our situation. So I now I just have to live with that! :)



#5 4kookiekids

4kookiekids

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 883 posts

Posted 27 September 2017 - 01:13 PM

You can reply in German since she understands but I don’t see a point of repeating to a two year old that is not in the mood for repetition. My area has plenty of expats and school age kids tend to answer back in English regardless of what language was used by the other speaker.

My kids converse in Chinese and German besides English. I can’t really control what language they use daily. They do speak Chinese only to their Chinese tutor and German only during outsourced German class because it is a few hours a week and there is peer pressure there. Kids do switch to English during German school break time.

What I do find is that kids are good at picking up scolding words. All my younger relatives (including my kids) picked up how to scold someone politely in multiple languages through immersion. They pick up vocabulary from the news channels as well because k-8 textbook vocabulary is not as wide. The Chinese we use for conference calls and the German that their German school board members use for board meetings exceed textbook vocabulary.

There is a family in my kids’ German school that sends their kids back to Germany to stay with grandparents every summer. They are dual income so they would have to pay for summer camps or a babysitter otherwise. Their kids German is fluent but still speaks to classmates in English outside of the classroom.

My kids learned fast through immersion and when there is a need. They are very strong willed like most of my relatives. However my oldest learn at twice the speed of my youngest for any language. My youngest pick up languages faster than my husband. My husband is the one that needs explicit spiral instruction for any language including English.

Do you have any Oktoberfest near you? We have quite a few Oktoberfest here and they have kids activities as well. Basically it is fun for my kids to hear majority of the people of all ages chatting in German.

Thanks for all the ideas! I'm ok with her learning it in time - I was mostly concerned about causing her to hate it or something weird. She's still catching up on her English, because she was so incredibly far behind before we realized she had problems hearing, so I just didn't know how hard I should push, or if it's just a "roll with it" sort of situation like running a marathon. I have hope that we'll get there eventually, even though it's always pushing uphill! :)



#6 Lawyer&Mom

Lawyer&Mom

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1055 posts

Posted 27 September 2017 - 01:31 PM

Can you reward/bribe her with German? My two year old would watch Frozen in Chinese/Esperanto/Klingon if I let her. Something fun that's German only?
  • SusanC likes this

#7 Arcadia

Arcadia

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17143 posts

Posted 27 September 2017 - 01:41 PM

I was mostly concerned about causing her to hate it or something weird.


My kids decided that terrible twos should stretch to threes :)

The kids I know who were turned off by Chinese had parents child expectations mismatch. The parents expectations were much higher than the kids were willing or able to meet. My kids do not want to be language majors at the moment even though my oldest enjoy comparing languages.

They think recreational/conversation level is achievable and the SAT subject tests level is doable for German. So with goals that they think are achievable, they don’t mind studying grammar, vocabulary and writing short paragraphs for German. It is a marathon for them, my DS11 won’t be able to sprint even if he want to while DS12 could but don’t want to.

Also my kids listening abilities are much higher than their speaking abilities even for our heritage language. I was telling friends that my kids spoken Chinese is not good and they commented that my kids understood most of what they said. Same with German, they understand but get caught up with worrying about grammar when speaking.

My kids has fun with the compound words in German. The German language has lots more long compound words than English. My kids love breaking a long compound word up into single words. They also enjoy combining words to form compound words and see if it is a legit German word.

#8 bibiche

bibiche

    Hive Mind Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2561 posts

Posted 27 September 2017 - 03:06 PM

I'd just power through. We had a language strike at that age as well. I just continued speaking our language while DS spoke only English. After a while he switched back to our language and we've had no more problems.
  • 4kookiekids likes this

#9 wendyroo

wendyroo

    Hive Mind Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2099 posts

Posted 27 September 2017 - 04:08 PM

We are in a very, very different situation because I am only roughly conversational in Spanish - far from fluent and I only attempt to speak it to the kids for about half an hour a day.  

 

When reading your post, though, I thought of one trick that I use.  I take advantage of the older siblings who understand most of what I am saying, but are resistant to actually speaking Spanish.

 

If my preschooler starts to get frustrated while I am speaking in Spanish, I will sometimes ask, in Spanish, for one of his brothers to translate for him...or, at least, reassure him that, yes, I am saying my hair is wet even though I am using the word mojado.

 

I see it as a win-win.  We stave off the preschool meltdowns (which I think are perfectly understandable given the stress of your mother speaking an incomprehensible language) and the older kids are forced to listen to, think about, and translate Spanish...even if they still avoid speaking it.

 

Wendy


  • Earthmerlin likes this

#10 Earthmerlin

Earthmerlin

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 581 posts

Posted 27 September 2017 - 07:10 PM

Good ideas here! I also have a resistant child & she's 8, LOL. I just keep going though--I'm in it for the long haul. What's funny is I recently put it like this 'French isn't so important to you now & I understand that. However, when you're grown & I'm not around, you'll always have me nearby through French (you'll always carry me with you in that way).' It seemed to affect her because she's even asked Dad to 'teach her Spanish' (we speak it all the time, LOL). She's game for both languages...for now.

Edited by Earthmerlin, 27 September 2017 - 07:12 PM.


#11 maize

maize

    Maizgyver

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19333 posts

Posted 27 September 2017 - 07:37 PM

It is normal for toddlers to want a parent to parrot back what the toddler has said--it confirms that you are hearing and understanding them. She may have been partly upset that you did not repeat her word "wet" back to her.

If this conversation were happening in English between myself and my child and she said my hair was wet I would say something like "yes, it is wet!"--of course you did that in German, but it may have upset her that you didn't validate her actual speech. It might have felt more like a correction than a validation.

Or she could just want nothing to do with German right now :) I think I might try responding to her in both languages when she talks, so she gets that confirmation/reinforcement/validation of her speech.

Edited by maize, 27 September 2017 - 07:42 PM.

  • regentrude and Monica_in_Switzerland like this

#12 4kookiekids

4kookiekids

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 883 posts

Posted 28 September 2017 - 12:02 AM

It is normal for toddlers to want a parent to parrot back what the toddler has said--it confirms that you are hearing and understanding them. She may have been partly upset that you did not repeat her word "wet" back to her.

If this conversation were happening in English between myself and my child and she said my hair was wet I would say something like "yes, it is wet!"--of course you did that in German, but it may have upset her that you didn't validate her actual speech. It might have felt more like a correction than a validation.
 

 

I think this is spot on and something I hadn't considered yet. It seemed like she understood what I was saying, but she was angry as all get out that I wouldn't actually say HER word back. Thanks for bringing this up, because I don't know that I would've made this connection otherwise.


  • Arcadia and maize like this

#13 lolo

lolo

    Hive Mind Level 5 Worker: Forager Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 330 posts

Posted 29 September 2017 - 09:27 AM

This is normal for a lot of kids! Keep on and let her decide what language to speak to you. Look up the global mom blog and podcast there is so much helpful info there.