Bil SIG: The complicated art of parenting

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Bruno Christiaens, Fukuoka Women’s University

Although an increasing number of children are being raised bi-culturally and bilingually, there seems to be little unity in research on the successful “how” of it, especially for languages besides English. Most parents are left at the mercy of trial and error, resulting in varying levels of success. This article relates the visible effects of the one parent, one language (OPOL) method and shows how they vary depending on the time share of each parent with the child(ren). In addition, the article notes how differences in the parents’ own upbringing can prove to be an unexpected obstacle. Even so, their ability to act as second-order observers can offer benefits to their children’s evolving biculturalism and bilingualism. The author concludes by advocating a shift from a cognitive skill-focused education to developing the intrinsic character and willpower of children.