The second in our three part series on bilingualism – Millie Slavidou makes the case for bilingualism here, and in the next post, will take a look at children with special needs.
Today Millie has suggestions on how to support bilingual children, particularly in the tween and teenage years. This is a tricky age to keep them motivated, as they are often immersed in the local majority language, and may not be interested in their minority language.
What is Adolescence?
Although we often use the words adolescent and teenager interchangeably, they actually refer to different things. A teenager is a young person between the ages of 13 and 19, while the start of adolescence is marked by the onset of puberty, and its end is generally accepted to be around the age of 19 or 20. While teenagerhood is a social idea, adolescence is a period of biological development common to all human cultures, and one that is also found in many non-human species.
During adolescence young people begin to pull away from their parents and to assert their independence and individuality. At the same time they start to explore their identity and how they fit in with their peers as well as society as a whole. The opinion of their peers is likely to matter more to an adolescent than that of their parents or other adults. They may behave more impulsively and take more risks than before without thought of the consequences, while their sleep patterns change drastically. You’ll be relieved to hear that there are reasons for all this! Our science editor Samantha Gouldson investigates the neuroscience of the teenage brain.
“Put this on YouTube and it will go viral”, isn’t just heard from teens. Even little kids are telling their parents to share their funny videos online, and from a young age, they know the value of ‘likes’ and shares. The currency of social media likes, and the way it affects children’s self-esteem is a problem that worries parents and teachers around the world.
When a friend recently talked about ‘Gentle Parenting’, or parenting without punishments or rewards, I will admit to first having to look up the term, and second thinking that can’t possibly work.
After reading the list on this blog, I realised that I’d been practicing a version of this parenting philosophy, without knowing there was a name for it. There is no blueprint for successful parenting, and I wouldn’t say that I am an expert, but these are the tactics that have worked for me, and my family.
What happens after maternity leave, when you know you don’t want to return to your old job? Milla was in this situation, and explains in our Adventures in Parenting series, how she made up her mind, and what she intends to do next.