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Wife refuses to speak same language as husband to daughter
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NitroBiz posted:
This is probably not the right forum to discuss this, but I know there are a few great minds with a lot of experience in here and I wanted to get your input whether this is good or bad and if I'm just way off base. [br>[br>My wife is Brazilian and I'm from the states. We have a 2 year old daughter who will be 3 in March, who was born in the US. I don't speak Portuguese all that well and my wife speaks perfect English . My daughter was born in Seattle and after her 1st birthday we hade a huge decision to move to my wife's native country of Brazil. Last year my wife decided without discussion with me to only speak Portuguese with our daughter. As a result of this I have been unable to communicate with my daughter 98% of the time and it's getting to be very frustrating and disheartening. I feel like I am missing some of the best moments with my daughter. My daughter gets exposed to Portuguese from her Mom, Grandmother, Aunt, fellow students and teachers at her school and I only get to see her a few hours out of the day and weekends with the exception of this past month since she has been on school vacation. I've tried talking to my wife about this and approached her from several different angles but she refuses to compromise. This is a growing problem for me and it infuriates me every-time I hear my wife speaking to my daughter in Portuguese that I don't understand. [br>[br>Now I know there are a lot of families where the mother and father speak separate languages to their children but in my experience it's when the children are at a more advanced age and it's after the child knows both languages. In my case my daughter and I can't communicate. I read to her, making sure most of her TV and books are in English but it's just not enough. I think she can kinda understand me and vice-versa but there is a lot missing. The most important person in her life is her Mom (I understand that) and she is naturally going to want too follow her. So I'm left out and my feelings of being isolated grow stronger everyday. [br>[br>I realize that I'm in Brazil and 99% of the citizens don't speak English and I'm supposed to do what Romans do but until I am completely fluent in Portuguese (which might be a while or never) I need for all of us to be speaking the same language for family unity, especially at this fragile time in my daughters life and my ability to adapt to my new surroundings. So I ask, am I wrong to want my wife to speak English to our daughter (at least when I'm around) or until she can speak both languages better?
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jazka responded:
Hi!
Signed up just to reply,
Our 2.5 old daughter is bi-lingual (Finnish, Russian) as well and I see your situation.

We both go to work and she's with the nanny (who speaks Russian) 8-10 hours a day, so of course she knows more Russian at the moment.
But I don't think it's a negative thing, it takes time to learn two languages instead of one. She switches languages easily, we all laugh when she sometimes speaks her mixed-language.

I'd say go for it, keep on talking English to your daughter and let her learn it, even if it takes time. Most definitely let your wife to talk Portugese since it's her native language (even if she'd speak English fluently.. first language is always first language). Maybe you could take up some lessons as well to catch up their conversation?

Your daugher will soon speak both languages fluently and it will be a great benefit in her life!


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