5 Myths About Growing up Bilingual

When it came to teaching her kids Spanish, Marianna Du Bosq never doubted she’d raise them to be bilingual. She is from Venezuela and spent her childhood speaking Spanish. “I did my research on the benefits of bilingualism. I even had a plan in place before my daughter was born,” says Du Bosq, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia. She was prepared, but when she started noticing differences between her daughter, then 2 years old, and her monolingual friends, she started having doubts. “They were all saying more words than she was,” Du Bosq recalls. But a few months later, her vocabulary blossomed—in both English and Spanish. “My daughter not only caught up, but she surpassed them.” Du Bosq’s concern is not uncommon. “Many parents worry that bilingualism causes developmental language disorders. It doesn’t,” says Elizabeth D. Peña, Ph.D., director of the Human Abilities in Bilingual Language Acquisition Laboratory at the University of California, Irvine.

While Du Bosq was able to ride out her concerns, it’s not easy for everyone. “Especially when people such as doctors, speech-language pathologists, and teachers perpetuate myths,” Dr. Peña says. The best way to squelch misconceptions? Arm yourself with the facts. Here, we burst through the most common bilingual hurdles to help your child soar en ingles y en español.

Read more by By Holly Pevzner in Parents