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Finding Joy in Bilingual Parenting

 · September 14, 2021

Meet Vanessa of Bilinguify

We are so excited to share with you a comradre (mama of 3) and her incredible course Bilinguify!  Vanessa is an entrepreneur based in Arizona that after many years of working in jobs at the intersection of migration and communication—as an interpreter and then running Hispanic marketing & PR campaigns— she launched her own business.  Bilinguify! is a program to help you connect with the JOY and FUN of raising bilingual kids through 21 days of simple strategies that fuel your family’s Spanish speaking.

When I was growing up, my mom told me that “En nuestra casa solo se habla espanol”. In our home, we only spoke Spanish. I didn’t learn English until I was in school and I have always been grateful for the gift of being fluent and literate in both Spanish and English.

When I had my first daughter, I committed to teaching her Spanish. But GUESS WHAT. I rarely spoke it to her.  Even though my husband also speaks Spanish, we found ourselves speaking English predominantly and to say I have some guilt about this is a huge understatement. I ended up being able to send her to a Spanish immersion preschool and she learned a lot but I still found myself without a lot of resources... but to learn and to know that Bilinguify exists is super exciting!!  

You can enroll in BILINGUIFY! at bilinguify.com from September 15 - September 24, 2021 and use the code “LATINXPARENTING” for 10% off. Latinx Parenting is an affiliate for this program, which means that if you purchase through our link we may earn a commission, at no cost to you. We only share things we genuinely believe in and that we feel are helpful to our comunidad! 

Below Vanessa is going to share with us the #1 way to make bilingual parenting fun!  
Hola! I’m Vanessa Nielsen Molina, an entrepreneur, educator, and mamá to three little bilingual Mexican-Ecuadorian-American girls.

On September 15th, 2021 I’m opening the doors to BILINGUIFY , a program I created to help Latinx parents that want to raise bilingual kids, but have a hard time staying motivated or don’t quite know where to start. I always say that BILINGUIFY! is like bilingual parenting summer camp (...in September) that helps us all connect with the fun and JOY of raising bilingual kids.

Because the truth is that as Latinx moms, sometimes there's a lot of shame and guilt and just FEELINGS (and people) involved in whether or not we speak Spanish to our kids, how much Spanish our kids know, or even how much Spanish WE speak. And at the same time, we know that bilingualism is a gift that has so many cognitive benefits, not to mention its importance in connecting with people (often in our own families) that speak only or mostly Spanish.

It’s something I think about often, but especially during Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month. Because of course, language doesn’t change your heritage—it’s not like you’re less Latinx if you don’t speak Spanish. Language is just a point of connection.

But after years of working in the field of bilingualism, what I understand now, more clearly than ever, is that bilingualism is the key that opens doors to relationships with people that we wouldn’t have known otherwise. And in our fractured world, that type of bridge-building is exactly what we need more of.

I feel so passionately about helping empower Latinx parents to raise babies that feel rooted in their heritage and in the language of their families. If you’re raising (or want to raise) bilingual kids, I hope you will join us in BILINGUIFY! this month!

And while I would love to see you there, I also want to share something you can do today to connect with the FUN of raising bilingual kids. It’s my #1 strategy to make sure you never feel like speaking Spanish with your kids is just complicating your life or adding more to your to-do list! Are you ready?

My best tip is to connect español with something that you and your kids love. Do you like music? Dance to Spanish music in the kitchen! Are you a movie-loving family? Try watching some in Spanish! Do you like going out for ice cream together? Try making it a Spanish-only event!

It doesn’t really matter what the activity is. The whole point of raising bilingual kids is to help them connect with other humans. So it only makes sense that the best way to make “Spanish = love & connection” in our kids’ minds, is to give them as many experiences as possible where they feel both loved by, and connected to, someone that’s speaking Spanish. And if that someone is you? Pues ¡qué mejor!

—Vanessa Nielson Molina

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Throughout my adulthood, from time to time I’ve felt heavy grief over my childhood. The emotional abuse & disconnection was rampant, and I recognize that there are many things I will work on healing from until I transition from my body. The traumatic events shifted my needs & priorities, and I had no choice but to adapt. At the time, I couldn’t have known the long-term impact of what was happening. ⁣

Growing up, I saw my peers accomplish things I didn’t feel I could do— mainly because I didn’t care to anymore. School wasn’t a priority at all. Any kind of academic or professional achievements were last on my list. I had given up my interests, or the idea that I could have enriching interests. I didn’t apply to any colleges. I thought it would‘ve been a waste & I would’ve failed out immediately. ⁣⁣
What DID I want? Friendships. Fast fun. Numbing. Someone to love me. Even if I didn’t love me. I attached myself to whatever and whomever I could. Often it didn’t end well. ⁣⁣
Trauma interrupts development. Maybe this isn’t news to you. But what it means is that those who have *not* experienced abuse haven’t had this interruption. Their baseline for success looks different. Neurotypical kids who have supportive secure attachments spend their childhoods building brain pathways that allow for self-control, critical thinking, healthy decision making skills, etc.⁣⁣
This is a conversation about the privilege that comes with having been raised with unconditional love and acceptance. It’s also a conversation about class disparities, about race & ethnicity, about subconscious ancestral wounds that need healing, about comparison, and most importantly about the mandate we have to break cycles of abuse for our children. ⁣⁣

PRIVILEGE in itself isn’t bad, it’s what is *done* with it once it is recognized— in this case, the privilege of healthy brain development— that is important. If you were this parent that has entered into parenting with wounds that you didn’t even notice until you started to repeat some of the patterns that harmed you: You’re doing great. You’re noticing now & evolving. And your kids will be privileged because of it, & use their privileges well. ⁣⁣

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I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this conversation with Ysabel of @estoyaquillc. 🥹

We get really real & raw with our discussion on suicide through a cultural lens. If you have ever been anyone who has considered suicide as an option (like me!), or have had loved ones that have (like me!), or just care about people in general, please watch and listen.

We talk about:
👉🏽Redefining suicidal ideation
👉🏽Learning how to communicate needs
👉🏽The REAL causes of people’s suicidal ideation and/or death by suicide
👉🏽Questions to ask a person who might be considering it
👉🏽The importance of agency and autonomy in choosing resources
👉🏽 Choosing providers who are abolitionist

And SO MUCH MORE! We were on for an hour and a half and it still felt like too short of a time! 🫀

You can support Ysabel by following her work and learning about her offerings and tapping into her merch ‼️

Gracias Ysabel and I can’t wait to keep collaborating with you. 💕

#CommunityPlatica #suicide #suicideideation #suicideprevention #suicideintervention #suicidalideation

#LatinxParenting #EndChanclaCulture #RaisingFutureAncestors #DecolonizeOurFamilias #IJustWantMiGenteToHeal #TheCycleStopsConmigo

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Reclaiming our Familias.
Reclaiming Ourselves.
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