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I have 3 sons ages: 9, 6 and 2. My eldest has no problem speaking in French or English. My 6yr old finds talking in French easier and seems to find it difficult to stick to the ‘minority language (English) at home’ rule. My 2yr old stopped speaking in English as soon as he started nursery though does understand eveything we say to him in both languages.
My husband gets quite annoyed and tells my 6yr old to say it in English. I get annoyed by this as I feel we can’t and shouldn’t force him, but should reinforce in a positive way, increase his stimulation to the minority language, and help him by sometimes allowing him to talk in French and then just repeat what he said in English. Or help him to translate what he said into English.
It’s causing a big rift between my husband and myself as he holds the opinion that my 6yr old is not and never will be bilingual. I really need good info to help open his eyes that this is untrue!
Is there a best way to deal with the problem of a child not wanting to talk in his minority language?

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Hi Ed,

I am a psychology undergrad and I have studied language development in multilingual children. Many children go through this phase, especially after they start school. Could you tell me when it happened and if the child explained his decision?


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