Why setting parenting goals is needed.
I have to admit, I am in a parenting funk.
What I WANT to do and what I can realistically and actually accomplish is, unfortunately too big a gap.
I am sadly trying to grasp the reality that I cannot do all that I want and I am trying to readjust my goals to be attainable. Maybe it is getting older that I have realized that I need to set myself and my family up for the possibility of success. Or maybe is that I, as a real life mom, need to stop banging my head against the door of what is NOT working and change the way I act and perceive things so that they do work.
If you look back to our old blog posts from years ago, you will see that I have many more Russian and bilingual posts than you see currently. There is a real reason for this. I haven’t done as much. I haven’t been doing an A, B, or C grade of parenting bilingual children. If I was getting a report card for teaching my kids another language, or even about the world beyond our neighborhood, I would definitely get a D-. That sure doesn’t make me feel like a good parent at all. Hey, I’m not perfect, but I do try hard. So I think it is time for a good re-evaluation and setting of realistic, attainable goals for our family.
Now this may not be a big thing for you and your family, but it is for me. When I married my husband, I knew I wanted world-wise children. I knew I wanted to spin the amazingly beautiful language of Russian and rich cultural heritage of Russia into our lives. I want them to learn about a variety of cultures, cook foods from other heritages and realize that the world is full of some amazingly talented, kind hearted people.
My original goals:
I want to raise children that have a basic understanding of the Russian language so that they can communicate with their family members who do not speak English.
I want to give them a language framework that allows them to develop skills for the future, if they should choose to continue to study the language as they become young adults.
Ideally, I would like them to interact with our target language for 25 hours a week.
I want to raise world knowledgeable kids that are compassionate to other cultures.
The parenting reality of these goals:
I have 3 young kids. My first language is English and my Russian is very basic. I can understand 85% of what other Russians say, but I have difficulty expressing my thoughts and ideas orally using vocabulary and sentence structure higher than you would expect of a young child. I can read stories, sing songs and teach basic vocabulary, but that is just it – basic vocabulary.
Originally, I had these grand ideas that my husband would speak his native language with the kids, reading stories with them and singing songs every day. He is an amazing husband and dad, but really has a hard time interacting with the kids in his native language. I can understand. He can talk to them in Russian and they don’t understand, so he says it in English and they respond in English. Nothing wrong with it, just discouraging for an adult, who is not a trained teacher and exhausted by the end of the day. We have brainstormed solutions and have decided that positive interactions with the kids trumps language learning.
I will plan and prepare one Russian lesson each week.
I will allow the children to watch 3 – 30 minute language videos each week.
I will play Russian music in the car and during playtime at least 3 times each week for 15 minutes minimum.
I will use environmental print to my advantage and rely on internet websites and social media for support and help in creating these ideas.
I will write out 4 history and geography lessons I want to teach the children each month and put them on the fridge for when the moment presents itself.