I’m a new mom, I had a newborn baby in September. During my pregnancy, I faced a lot of issues and felt that I should also share my experience on motherhood with other people and other moms that’s why I became a mom blogger.
So my thoughts about this is, we live in a globalized world in today’s date and English is most commonly used and spoken language in the world, not only it is common in our country but in other countries as well. It acts like a bridge between two people who don’t have a common language between them, so it acts as a means of communication especially for those people.
In other sense also as Britain has colonized almost the entire world and everyone is very familiar with English in many countries. Even in India, we have different languages like Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Hindi, Bengali, so even between those people if anyone do not speak Hindi then they can definitely interact with each other in English at least.
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Personally, I feel that whatever language is spoken in front of the child most often that’s the language child picks up very fast. So everyone speaks their native language at their home be it Tamil, Bengali, Hindi or any other so that is the language in India they find it very easy to learn, their own language. So I think because of that parents feel that my kid will eventually learn the native language anyway, so maybe I should put more effort in teaching them English and may not the native language be important in future apart from talking to your own family as on your workplace you cannot speak your native language, you have to speak in what others are speaking in.
If we talk about children we see that pressure is not from inside that’s a social pressure actually. It’s often like people look at somebody else’s child and say ‘acha ye to itni achi English bol rhe hain and my child is speaking in Hindi’, so there is this inferiority complex that we have attached to our native language that ‘English hota to bahut acha hota and it's our own language and it is not that great’ that is one problem.
I can give my own example when it comes to learning a language then I say that the child eventually learns all the languages that you are trying to teach so when I was small I was not able to speak Hindi, I could understand Punjabi but I can only speak in English or swaheri because we were living in Africa that time so swaheri was their local language, so I used to speak English and swaheri but I could understand Hindi and Punjabi as my parents used to speak at home. So when I came to India I was in 1st standard when I started with my first Hindi alphabets and I grasp the language very easily, so I feel that if I could do that the other way round like I knew English and I learnt Hindi. So I think it will be a very natural transition for a child who knows Hindi or their native tongue they can easily transition to English as well it shouldn’t be a very major problem. That’s my own experience.
You know we have attached this inferiority complex like English is elite so I definitely don't agree with this approach that you know have often seen parents especially when the child is like three or four years old when the child has started talking fluently, parents have this thing that they all of a sudden start talking to their child in English and whenever someone else is also around they start talking in English and then when the child responses in Hindi or whatever the native language is, all of a sudden parents will be like ‘no reply in English, English mein baat karo English mein baat karo’ so that is a very forced way of telling the child ‘ki Tumko English mein hi baat karni hai.’
The child is responding in the language in which he or she is more comfortable in conversing so I think parents should give the children a little time and should understand every child has a different way to learn things. So English will also come very naturally and very gradually to the child.
That is one thing that I feel it is very wrong also because the child is disheartened also when you're constantly nagging the child that ‘English mein baat karo, English mein baat karo, talk to me in English’ specially when some third person is also around and I find that that's very wrong every child will learn English, you learnt English, I have learnt English even though English is not our mother tongue we are all fluent in it so they’ll all get eventually.
First point will be for those parents who themselves also talk in English just don't wait for when your child turns three and then all of a sudden you bring this foreign language into your child's life as ‘aaj Se hum log English mein hi baat karenge’.
Even the latest research and all say that even small babies understand what their parents are trying to say so I think parents should make it a point to start talking to their babies only like you know when your baby is like 2- 3 months old when they started responding or speak in English, Hindi or whatever your native languages is, be it Tamil Telugu anything.
English is just like another language it is a means of communication. I think it should start from the very beginning this is for parents who themselves are fluent in English and you know they can start talking slowly, use all languages in front of your child even parents can talk to each other in English occasionally then the child will feel that this is the one language that my parents are talking in and he or she will also be curious to know ‘ mama papa kya baat kar rahe and I also want to understand, I don’t want to feel left out.’
You know sometimes I feel like Indian parents are like helicopter parents they want to hover around their children and look at every single thing that the child is doing right away. Somehow I feel that it kills the child's Independence and his or her creativity.
In general, I’m just saying that you know there is a limit to where you can influence your child's decision, sometimes you should let your child see what he or she likes more or understand what do they like what do they dislike and encourage them to make the right choices. When the child is very young you need to support the child but once the child gets the mind of his own you should let them be and let them make some mistakes it's OK to make mistakes and it is OK to fail sometimes in life and they’ll eventually figure it out and they’ll look back and feel that my parents were always there for me but they never hover over my head all the time so now I am an independent person I've grown up to make my own decisions and to be confident enough to make my own decisions in life.
I think this should start from the very beginning because you know you shouldn't pounce on the child that from today onwards I am going to talk to you in English and you also have to talk to me in English, no that’s not possible because when we were in school when we have had third language be it French German Sanskrit whatever at that time also when we were in class 6 teacher starts from the basic because it’s a slow learning process you don't just you know it's not like a click of the finger and humne French seekh li.
You know when I took french it took from class 6 to class 10 to actually reach like an intermediate level or maybe like I would just say beginners level and it took us 5 years to get there.
If you start talking to your child in English from the very first day like thoda sa English, thodi si Hindi, like you speak some line in Hindi and you say the same thing in English then the child learns that 'ok this is the translation' and that’s how the child will pick up the correct grammar as well because just English isn’t important it is to be grammatically correct as well and your pronunciation has to be correct, your diction, your syllable everything has to be good so everything is important.
So I think it is to start as a gradual process in this way the child will learn Hindi and the child will learn English as well ‘sath sath mein Sab Kuchh Sikh Jaega’ enjoying the language is important. Singsong with your child don’t just make them listen to Bollywood music make them listen to English songs as well, make them sing those songs. If your child likes dancing or singing sing a song-dance on English songs, watch English movies with them don't wait ‘ki acha my child doesn't know how to speak in English so we should watch the Hindi dubbed version of a cartoon, no ensure that the child is watching an English Cartoon because Hindi eventually the child will learn or whatever your own language is or whatever you speak at home to that is very important read to your child in the language that you want to them to learn.
And I think movies are very important in this regard although I know we are all talking about less screen time these days, but I think one movie in a week will do no harm it is like a one and a half or two thing and it can actually become an activity that the child will look forward to do with the parents that ‘ok today is movie night today mama papa and I are going to watch Lion King or 101 dalmatians or something’ and in all these movie you will learn something also from them and it will bring interest of your child also.
It should not be an imposition concept that the child has to speak in English, I think that is very bad that was the one question that were to be discussed right now that why is it so forced, the pressure that’s our main topic that's not a good thing at all.
It feels like a double-edged sword like both ways you know it's like you have to learn English you can't do without it also in today's date and yet there is this pressure so I just feel that instead of taking it on as the pressure that we should just take it slow and just gradually ‘Dhire Dhire the child will learn apne aap se’.
But I just feel that the parents should put that effort from before because the mistake is not on the part of the child, the child going to learn whatever the parents are teaching him/her so it is the parents or the grandparents responsibility or whoever is around the child for maximum time in the day. Parents mostly should know that ‘Jitna jaldi we will start the better it will be for your child and bad Mein you won't have to put any extra effort for anything on your baby.
Every child is special never compare your child with anybody else and especially don't compare someone in front of them because I think that really hurts anybody. That even as adults, we hate being compared to somebody so just imagine how someone who is just three or four years old would feel when you say that you are not like this or you are not like that.
Never compare, give them their space give them their chances to grow let them fall just be there to pick them back up that is very important as parents that if the child has made any mistake keep a watchful eye on what they are doing because that is a parent duty you have to be there to teach your child what is right and what is wrong but once you've given that upbringing have some faith in your upbringing also I feel that you should have a faith that I have taught my child enough that he or she will not do something really stupid and even if they do end up doing something stupid then be with them you can’t just let them be that is one very important thing.