bilingualism causing arguments between dh and i

(48 Posts)
ididnt Tue 29-Jan-13 12:06:41

Dh is French, I'm English. We meet and lived in France for 4 years before coming back to the UK where our two sons were born. Dh and i soak French between ourselves and it respective native languages to the boys. Ds 1 is 8, has a good grasp of French mostly aural and doesn't speak it apart from when speaking to French relatives. It is pretty basic French and he often misunderstands his dad.I soak fluent French and dh thinks I should be speaking to the boys on French so that their French is stronger. I don't mind practising some French with them but it doesn't feel natural speaking with them in French all the time. Dh and I argue about it every now and then because he hates that his son doesn't understand him and sees it as partially my fault because I won't soak in French with him. Now he's concerned that the same thing will happen with Ds 2 so the arguments have started again. Anyone have any advice?

ididnt Tue 29-Jan-13 12:07:22

Sorry about all the mistakes, I'm new to my phonegrin blush

PhyllisDoris Tue 29-Jan-13 12:10:20

Have you tried to get them into a French after school club, or tried to meet up with other French speaking families?

Google L'Alliance Francaise.

Otherwise, I'd pack them off to France for long periods in the holdays to stay with French relatives (without you, so there is no option to speak English).

Also, get some French kids' DVDs, and subscribe to French channels on TV - go for maximum exposure. CDs of French songs to sing along to in the car - that sort of thing.

LadyMargolotta Tue 29-Jan-13 12:12:28

It can be difficult for a parent to presevere and teach their child the minority language.

I don't think you should be speaking french to your children as it is not your mother tongue, and they need a good grasp of english at home for their education. You need to feel natural while conversing with your own children.

What I would do is try and get then speaking french in other ways - more trips to France, French lessons, French social groups.

How much time does your dh spend with your ds? Can he have them a whole day at the weekends, so it is just him and the children, and exclusively French?

BertieBotts Tue 29-Jan-13 12:12:45

You're both right in a way, but you should probably piick one method and stick with it smile

One is OPOL - one parent one language - which means that you should each speak your native language to the child and never in the other language. This way they get a good grasp of both languages.

The other is that both parents should speak the minority language - so in your case as you live in the UK you should both speak French.

Either way I've heard it's common for DC to refuse to speak one particular language or act as though they don't understand it even though you have seen them speak it e.g. with their peers or relatives etc, so it might be this is what your DS is doing?

Snusmumriken Tue 29-Jan-13 12:14:28

Could the two of you try and introduce more French into your lives in other ways? For example, French children's tv shows, music and play dates with other French speaking families?
Does your DH spend a lot of time with your children? Could you encourage him to read to them more?

Snusmumriken Tue 29-Jan-13 12:14:54

X post

battyralphie Tue 29-Jan-13 12:15:50

What Phyllis said about DVDs etc. You could (try to) make a rule that all or most media should be in French, you can order things so easily via amazon etc. Could you not try to establish a few days a week where you speak French too? Maybe make weekends just French? To find a compromise between speaking French all the time and just practicing a bit?

ididnt Tue 29-Jan-13 13:09:33

Thanks for all the quick replies, was expecting to have to wait a while! Will try and address them all.

We did used to have all our DVDs in French as well as a xmall collection of kids books in French. But I think it was around school age that he refused to watch them anymore. Likewise, he didn't want dh to read to him in French anymore. So dh started reading in English, we swapped French for English DVDs and that was that. We've tried a few times since to reintroduce, but he'd rather not watch/read anything than do it in French confused

I am not comfortable speaking full time in French,as I said, and I was always under the impression that having chosen a method one should stick to it - we chose OPOL and so, imo, we stick to it. But it's not working as dh would like hence him wanting to change method. I'm not sure a few days a week of me speaking French is a particularly good idea - as well as which, when I've tried in the past to have a whole day in French, I always end up reverting back to English, because it feels wrong for me to speak French with my kids.

We've looked into after-school French clubs, and ds1's French is better than what we've come across. I think he'd be bored. We know two other francophone families: one the couple is French and desperately want their son to speak more English and the other who has a much older girl confused. Neither seem to offer the right situation for a play together! There is a local French Saturday group, but dh dpesn't drive, so it would mean me taking the boys and again, English is bound to creep back in.

The long holidays with grandparents we had considered before, but dh is concerned - they are not particularly good with children, in spite of having 12 grandchildren, dh's dad is getting old and I think would find it hard. No point in even asking dh's siblings, they are mostly estranged apart from one brother who.... well, it just wouldn't work for the time being (that's a whole other thread though!)

Dh does spend time with the boys, but not an awful lot so as they'd actually have to talk! I could try and encourage him in that sense as well as encourage him to start reading in French again. We don't have a whole lot of money to be buying all new books in French - is it possible to get such things through the local library?

Bertie I think it is almost certianly a bit of this. I heard him a few weeks ago maintain a very respectable conversation in French with his mamie on skype, yet he never ever speaks like that with his dad. Any idea why they do this? Or ways around it?

Will def google l'Allian Francaise, thank you.

PhyllisDoris Tue 29-Jan-13 13:20:08

I've got a feeling you blew it when you caved in and allowed DCs the choice to not watch French DVDs and reading to him in French. Like anything else that's worthwhile, you have to be firm with kids, and stick to your guns.
Kids hate being labled as "different", and speaking French probably makes DS1 feel different.

I think you have to decide on a rule (eg French Fridays) and stick to it. If they speak to you in English, answer in French. If you're not comfortable speaking French to the kids, then DH needs to take matters into his own hands and organise a regular time when he's with the kids on his own, and English is forbidden. Again, if they do speak English, then he must respond in French. That way, they will at least understand and assimilte the language, even if they chose not to speak it themselves.

Once they realise you and he mean business, they'll learn to put up with it, even if they don't enjoy it. Just don't give them the option!

When they start formally learning French - even if this isn't for years - they'll probably find they know more than they think, and learning it will come easier to them.

LadyMargolotta Tue 29-Jan-13 13:24:11

Well it's extrememly unfair of your dh to blame you for the lack of french spoken to your children, when you say 'So dh started reading in English'!

Your dh needs to persevere with speaking French to your sons.

Good idea to go to your local library and ask them to order French books.

Also, it's worth thinking about the saturday French club, even if you drive them there although maybe your dh can take them there on public transport, and try and have that whole day of just French (giving you a day offwink)

ididnt Tue 29-Jan-13 19:08:30

Phyllis funny, as I was typing my last post I though exactly what you just said - the moment we started anglophone media was the moment we failed! I know ds1 definitely feels different - I know in the past he's been asked several times at school to talk in French and he's hated it. They've just started lessons at school (year 3) and I think he might be enjoying being better than everyone else at something, though grin

When you say 'they'll learn to put up with it, even if they don't enjoy it', is there not then a danger of putting them off? That has always been my worry, that if we forced too hard with the French, it would go the other way and make them even less likely to want to speak it? I may be completely wrong and am open to trying your advice - French Fridays sounds good to me, and is something I will mention. I need to stock to it as much as they do though!

Dh is very strict with himself now that it's probably too late, in that even if ds1 replies in English he'll still carry on talking in French. He doesn't make it easy for ds though, I don't think, in that he uses vocab that I wouldn't use to speak to any kid, let alone my struggling bilingual one!

Will see about the French club, see if dh would be willing to stay with them if I dropped them off.

Thanks again for the advice, you've given me some things to work with smile

fraktion Tue 29-Jan-13 19:27:10

'He doesn't make it easy for ds though, I don't think, in that he uses vocab that I wouldn't use to speak to any kid, let alone my struggling bilingual one!'

That I suspect is partly cultural. Anglophones and francophones sometimes have different ideas on how to speak to children.

I think your DH needs to go hardcore OPOL. Everything is in French around Daddy as of tomorrow. Books, DVDs, conversation, games. Everything. That may mean that you need to join in family play in French and be strict with yourself about only speaking French even to the children then even if your primary method is OPOL.

It's certainly not easy to keep up a minority language but good luck! If the need is there it will come.

fraktion Tue 29-Jan-13 19:28:20

Also school needs to stop exhibiting your DS as their pet bilingual student. That's not fair and will put him off the language.

Greythorne Tue 29-Jan-13 19:30:50

Hmmmmmm

Interesting logic that your son does not speak better French because you don't speak to him - with your imperfect French - in French.

I'm probably biased, as we are not doing OPOL, but I do think you should consider some compromises, like French Fridays. Just because you chose one method when DS was a baby doesn't necessarily mean you should stick to it now that he's older and has his own personality and preferences.

My DH is French-German and grew up in various countries, when he was around 6 he suddenly refused to speak French at home, he just wanted to speak German or English. I think his parents just sort of humoured him and he outgrew it. He's now trilingual.

He has three siblings and they all had very different outcomes in terms of languages, even though they were raised the same. So I don't think you can say that any particular method will have a definite outcome really.

Are you in London? They're opening quite a few new bilingual schools in Wandsworth apparently...

LillianGish Tue 29-Jan-13 19:59:34

Dh does spend time with the boys, but not an awful lot so as they'd actually have to talk! Sorry, but I think it's down to him. They aren't going to speak French just because he wants them to especially now you are living in England - what's the point? That's not my opinion, but I think how that's how kids see it. My dcs are bilingual English/French - they used to speak fluent German when we lived there, but they don't speak it now - what's the point? Again, not my opinion, but theirs. They soon learned German when they realised they'd have to to join in all the playground banter, understand what their swimming teacher was saying, watch cartoons - in fact they couldn't understand why I was so slow on the uptake - but as soon as we moved to the UK they lost it because there was no reason for them to keep it up. If your dcs are in an English school then it's down to your dh. My sil is French, but her dcs speak no French because she didn't used to speak it with them and when she finally realised it might have been a good idea to do so it was too late - they knew they could speak to her in English, no point speaking French. I think it requires quite an effort to insist on bilingualism - it doesn't just happen - I think that unless you are going to put them in a French school then that effort will have to come from your dh.

nailak Tue 29-Jan-13 20:04:07

you should talk to your kids in the language you are most comfortable in, unless your french is perfect, perfect grammar etc then stick to english as it will actually be bad for them.

Rosa Tue 29-Jan-13 20:09:29

To be honest I have found that my dds are not confused when I speak one or both languages. Dh is Italian I am English and we live in Italy. In the house we speak Italian between dh and I - DD1 now 6 is fluent in English and will reply to me when I speak in English. Often we talk in English and also in Italian. The Tv is generally in English and they watch dvds in both languages - they don't express a preference. I tend to read in English and dh in Italian and we read lots. When dd meets relatives or English speaking people she is shy but will reply. Her vocab often needs topping up and since she started elementary school we have halted on the written English simply to avoid confusion.
However when they were little I spoke exclusive English and dh Italian until pre school . Here I stopped as they were finding it hard to tell me what they did as they only knew the Italian words. From my experience speaking my 'foreign' language hasn't hindered my dd . I just try to ensure I balance it out with English.

Rosa Tue 29-Jan-13 20:10:40

When I make a mistake in Italian dd has corrected me smile

littleducks Tue 29-Jan-13 20:13:41

I'm less convinced with the strict OPOL approach. DH can speak English and 3 other asian languages (2 well 1 badly) as his was exposed to them all, as everyone in his family was 'back home.' I can only speak English properly blush

I wonder if something like French family dinner time a couple of times a week or french boardgames would work. If you speak french to dh anyway its just an extension of that.

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Tue 29-Jan-13 20:25:42

We live in Germany, always have done, dh is German, I'm a Brit, we speak German together and do OPOL with the dc. They've always been to German-only schools and nurseries.

I doubt very much that the English would work if I weren't very strict indeed about OPOL. Which means I speak English to the children all the time - even when walking across the marketplace in the small town we've been living in for a year and a bit and attracting stares confused. It means I read to them in English every evening - and have taught the elder one to read in English using phonics - and the vast majority of their books, DVDs etc are in English. Because I am so consistent about it, they have never really had the idea of speaking to me in German (except, say, when German friends are there). I think we've also been lucky in that they've never felt self-conscious about it (that's reserved to me - I get so so sick of people stopping dead and staring ion the most obvious way when they hear me talking to the dc out and about - but I have developed a v thick skin). I do think you have to be quite committed to keeping the minority language up.

Can your dh set some time aside with the children to not just speak French, but also focus on French things, aspects of culture, things he enjoyed as a child? Any old schoolbooks, photos etc. he has? That might draw them in again and get them engaged with that part of their heritage.

MmeLindor Tue 29-Jan-13 20:36:05

We haven't been strict with the OPOL and it has worked fine for us.

DH is German, I am British, we lived in Germany till DD was 6yo, then French speaking Switzerland for 3 years. Moved to UK last year.

The DC both speak mainly English (we spoke a lot of English in Geneva), pretty good German and good French. DH speaks German with them when he is here - he is based in Munich atm so only here for weekends, and I speak a mix of German and English. I use German when they are being naughty smile

I think in your case, if your DH want the DC to be more fluent in French, he has to commit to spending more time chatting with him. Taking them places where they have to talk a bit, such a museum would be good.

At the same time, he may have to accept that, like many 'bilingual' people, his sons will have a stronger language and a weaker language. If they ever need to use their French language skills, they will find it extremely easy to add vocabulary - the basis is there already, they just need to add to it.

I find it really important to give DC the feeling of being special because they speak an extra language - give them a reason to feel proud of their French skills. Can you find a really cool TV series or film that doesn't exist in English? We got DS back to German by letting him watch Die Wilde Kerle - a film about football.

I don't think your French needs to be perfect to speak to your DC in French -- you say are fluent? Surely the odd mistake here and there is not the end of the world?

It sounds like this is really frowned upon in OPOL but in practice I know lots of people who would do this.

I really think you need to do what's best for your family and not worry about whether it's 100% correct according to theory.

Branleuse Wed 30-Jan-13 06:52:21

i think you should speak more french to them. If you speak to your dh in french, surely that feels natural. Try and make french the home language if you want them to improve fluency. Or maybe there is a french saturday school somewhere near you

fraktion Wed 30-Jan-13 11:11:30

I don't think OPOL means never, ever speaking the other language to your DC. That, IMO, is hardcore OPOL (which is what your DH needs to do). It does mean that when you're alone you only speak your language or you're the one who initiates a conversely ok with the children but it doesn't include DH. As soon as DH enters into it you can switch to French.

I would say we do OPOL but it's flexi. If I open my mouth to speak to DS I speak English, DH speaks French, but it's difficult to carry on a conversation with, say, my PILs which involves DS if I'm constantly switching to English so I stick with French. Also if I need to join in a conversation DH started with DS I will speak French. My French isn't perfect but I think there I'm demonstrating the social courtesy that you adapt to other people.

If I noticed DS's English dropping dramatically I'd do hardcore OPOL and get DH to adapt the language to me.

BertieBotts Wed 30-Jan-13 11:22:39

I don't know what you would do about the refusal. Just keep speaking it around him and don't make it a big deal I guess? If it's a rebellion thing then he'll probably grow out of it, it's not like he'll forget the French that he's learned, and he'll presumably be grateful as an adult and if he wants to improve it then, then he will.

ididnt Wed 30-Jan-13 13:20:40

Lillian that's completely my opinion too - there is no point to him talking French here, he knows dh can understand/speak English, so there's no need to make the effort. When in France however, he can and does speak French, albeit imperfectly.
Fraktion he started last night - dug out some French story books and read to him in French last night!
dreaming we're not in London, but there is a French Saturday school locally which we are going to investigate further. Now just to get ds1 on side... I think, after talking a lot we are going to try for French Fridays.
Rosa I think, as fraktion mentioned up thread, that if dh is already talking with ds in French and I join the conversation, I will also continue in French. As fraktion says, it seems polite and more logical, but I was so fixed on the hardcore OPOL that I though I needed to always speak in English, when in fact, for us, I think it needs to be more nuanced. My French is good enough to teach them, I don't make grammatical errors, my vocab is not very wide, but is largely sufficient for this (and I hav just graduated from a French degree wink)
MmeLindor I really ike the idea of finding a French film/programme that hasn't been translated that will be a treat to watch. I think that would really help. Will need to get googling on that too!

PhyllisDoris Thu 31-Jan-13 00:03:26

Good luck! X

Louison Sun 03-Feb-13 18:25:20

Hello !
I'm french and my partner is Scottish. As far as I know you should speak to your kids in your native langage. My half brother is german (by dad) and french by mum. He has almost lied all the time in France and his german is not very good to be honest... Kids are probably more confident with the langage from the country where they live I guess. On top of that french is not easy to get as you may know.
But as i told you, fir having spoke about that with some french mum in uk, you should speak to your kids in your native langage.

cory Mon 04-Feb-13 21:02:50

"As far as I know you should speak to your kids in your native langage."

There are no rules; people will tell you what has worked for them; that doesn't mean something else can't work for somebody else.

I have spoken both my own and dh's language to dc since they were born and he has spoken his and (to a lesser extent) mine. They never had a problem distinguishing between the two languages and it didn't take them long to work out that daddy's Swedish accent was not something to be emulated. At 16 and 12 they are fluent in both languages.

The OPs approach sounds good to me.

Louison Wed 06-Feb-13 22:36:12

I absolutely didnt say that was a rule ! Its just from my experience and thats what the pediatrician has recommended to my mum. She wanted some opinions I just gave mine so relax man !

ididnt Thu 07-Feb-13 09:19:51

I had heard that OPOL was what was widely accepted to be the best way to encourage bilingualism. However, I am very encouraged to see that many people who have replied to my OP have had positive experiences of mixing it up, and as my French is good enough to do that, that is what we will try.

French Friday went brilliantly lasg week. Ds1 had a bit of a strop about it in the morning, but got into the swing of it pretty quickly. We've had a look at the local Sat. morning language school and it looks great, but persuading ds to spend his Sat. morning there will be something else. We may have to shelve this for the time being. Dh is now reading stories to him in French and we are visiting the local library this afternoon when I will ask about French language books.

May I just ask though, I am a bit concerned that the swapping between languages may impact ds2's lnaguage acquisition (he's 16mo). Any advice/ideas?

Suki52 Thu 07-Feb-13 13:45:21

Hello, where are you located?
I'm running a French network in Berkshire so if you're in the area, please let me know (I'm also working on a French library project). I've put together this resources blog last year http://rpfe.wordpress.com/. I agree with the above: your DH needs to speak to your children in French only. Even if your little ones reply in English (as mine do to me, I'm French, my dh is English), he needs to keep on talking in French. There are loads of games on the net, videos, etc that could interest your DS. Anything in French will help: cooking recipes (my daughter (5) impressed herself by reading the ingredients in French by herself the other day), making things (why not a castle in cardboard with knights?), or simply playing in French. It will come. The key is not to give up, and be consistent. I also agree with the other posts about you speaking to your children in English only. Bilingualism is hard work for children sometimes but then again it's a constant learning curve for us adults too, isn't it? even in our own language! I think the secret is not to make it too heavy or too difficult to learn. There are days when they are more tired than others, when a little bit of French play is enough. And other days when they show more interest and that's when they learn with enthusiasm. It's all about exposure really but hte key work is definitely consistency... Good luck!

deleted203 Thu 07-Feb-13 13:50:13

I have a friend who is married to a German (they lived in Germany for 4 years pre-children) and they tried the OPOL bit when they had children in the UK. For them, it didn't work. The children spoke English at home with mother and at pre-school/school and when Dad came home and spoke German to them he got frustrated with getting one word answers, and would switch to English. My friend also found that her German was getting rusty as she was no longer speaking it. They switched to speaking only German at home, figuring that the children would speak English at school and outside the home and it has worked very successfully for them. DCs are now in their teens and equally comfortable in either language.

ididnt Thu 07-Feb-13 18:12:13

Suki have PM'd you.

Consistency is definitely the key. I'm still a bit worried that French Friday is gonna have a negative effect on ds2's language learning, so I'm a bit uneasy about it. I'm not totally on board with swapping to French full time though. There are just some things I need to be able to say in my own language confused.

Branleuse Sun 10-Feb-13 14:08:07

my dd goes to french saturday morning school. She has kicked up a fuss but is fine once shes there. I use bribery to get her there. Its worth it. Its her heritage, plus its been BRILLIANT for her french.

French friday is a brilliant idea and i would definitely do something like that if my french was better

GingerbreadGretel Sun 10-Feb-13 14:17:38

Have you found the Institut Francais in London? They have loads of French films, shows, etc, also a library.

Lots of French beach places have kids clubs run in French, that might work as an immersion technique? My DS enjoyed the one at St Malo run by their yacht club and was the only English speaking child so had to attempt French.

MerryMarigold Sun 10-Feb-13 14:25:35

I think if they are in this country and surrounded by English, that their French will not be very good, if you don't speak it to them. My dc don't speak their father's language because I can't speak it and he doesn't see them enough. I think you need to decide if you want their French to be good, and if you want them to be bilingual. If you do, you will have to speak to them in it. If you speak to your dh in French, you must be very fluent, I don't see that it would be so hard to have French as the language at home.

ididnt Sun 10-Feb-13 20:42:13

Merry no, you're right, it wouldn't be hard, but I've always spoken to dh in French so that is natural to us, whereas I've only ever really spoken in English to my dcs, so that feels more natural than French, iyswim.

Gingerbread when we're in France, with family, his French just takes off, it's at home that we have the most trouble! He spends most of the summer with a French cousin (we all stay at my in-laws) so speaks a lot of French over the holidays, it's just he switches it off once we're back in England.

French Friday seems to be a happy compromise for us at the moment, and it has certainly appeased dh and made him feel more positive about the amount of French input the boys are getting..

I have joined a local French network (merci Suki!) which will soon be opening a library, but will have a look at l'Institut Francais all the same.

ruthyroo Wed 20-Feb-13 06:31:59

It's interesting that he speaks much better and more French happily when he's with his cousin. I would guess that his resistance to speaking it at home and with his dad is situational ie he doesn't like to be different and he resists being told what to do - like most children his age! A friend if mine who is a linguist did a talk for our expats group on bilingualism in children and she touched on the subject of language rejection. Her advice was let it go, don't take it personally, respect your child's decision, but if you do want to actively tackle it do it in positive ways - pretty much exactly as you have been doing. I would suspect that even if he's resisting speaking French with daddy, it'll all be going in there somewhere - to be called on when he needs it ie with his Mamie and his cousin! My friend also told us that she - of French mother English father brought up in England - totally rejected her French for a while. Then she got over it and ended up living, working in France married to a Frenchman! And now she is the minority language parent and understands her mothers situation a lot better!

mikkii Sat 02-Mar-13 15:26:26

My DH is half Spanish, half Italian. He was born on K and learnt English from his older brothers. With DS the plan was OPOL but as the main carer when ds was small English won out. We tried Spanish club at school, but ability was below ds's level. We sent him to stay with friends 18 months ago for 3 weeks in the summer holidays, where the daddy works and speaks a some English. Mummy spoke no English and looked after the kids. They also sent to him to holiday club in the local town with their children and other friends so ds had to speak Spanish. DD1is now asking when it ill be her turn! For now, we let her visit he friends house without us when we are away. I get a lot of pressure from DH re Spanish club/lessons, but the money only goes so far. I am hoping to get some private lessons for them together if another friend will take on n additional class sometime soon.

lookout Tue 12-Mar-13 17:38:53

Well, we just had another massive fight about it. Apparently one day of French a week is now not enough, it needs to be the whole weekend. Whilst he makes no effort to do any more activities with his sons, thus speaking French to them more often.

Ranting and very cross about it all now. Am I wrong in finding it so hard to switch to French as home language? I don't know what else to do now.

lookout Tue 12-Mar-13 17:40:05

Sorry, I name changed since my last message, I was ididnt before

MIFLAW Fri 15-Mar-13 13:40:10

I think that, regardless of approach (I am non-native OPOL which confuses some people!) the things that decide this are:

1) consistency
2) a need to use the language
3) a perceived benefit in using the language

So, with my children, I never, EVER speak English to them (1); we went through a phase at about 2.5 when I would just say "je ne comprends pas" when my elder daughter spoke to me in English (will be doing the same with the little one at that point too!) and prior to that a question in English got a "remodelling" and response in French (2); and there have been trips to France, trips to the French children's library and the French cinema in South Kensington (lucky to live in London, though there is also a library in Edinburgh and Oxfrod I think), French story time with books not readily available in English, learning to twist to the sounds of Les Chaussettes Noires (!) - basically, loads of "us time" with their father (me) is closely identified with French (3).

The result? Well, my elder daughter speaks exclusively in French to me and attends a French Saturday school for bilinguals and French monolinguals where she is far from being the weakest student in her class - even though I am not a native French speaker, she is!

CoucouCache Fri 15-Mar-13 20:26:13

Yes, I'm afraid I do think you're wrong to resist switching to French as the home language ... sorry if that's not what you want to hear.

My French probably isn't as fluent as yours (DH and I have always spoken in English) and I switched to French for two weeks - those two weeks nearly killed me and I begged to stop after a week, but my 5 yo DD wanted to continue as it really helped her. After two weeks, I was allowed to revert back to English and DD and DH continued speaking French to each other ... and they haven't stopped since.

I think if you are serious about your DC speaking French, speaking French yourself isn't too much to ask. YOu can always switch back once the French has been established.

HTH

lookout Sat 16-Mar-13 13:58:45

Thanks both for your replies. We have reached a compromise I think. French is now the family language - any time we are all together we will all speak French. English is only for when I'm alone with the kids. Hopefully this will work once we get used to it.

massistar Sat 13-Apr-13 15:55:46

Have been reading this with interest as I have a similar problem!

My DH is Italian, I am British and we live in the UK. We've done OPOL since they were born but now that they are 4 and 8 DH thinks I should speak to them in Italian as well. I'm fairly fluent with a good accent but it just doesn't come naturslly. Especially when it comes to telling them off grin

Their Italian improves loads when we go on holiday there so I'd like Italian to be the language in the home if we can. Must try harder!

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