Raising Bilingual Children: A Qualitative Study of Parental Attitudes, Beliefs, and Intended Behaviors

Michael Lee, Rashmi Shetgiri, Alexis Barina, John Tillitski, Glenn Flores

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


We examined parental preferences in raising Spanish/English bilingual children. We identified factors influencing their decisions, and the strategies used to promote bilingualism. Focus groups were conducted with Spanish-primary-language parents of children 3 to 7 years old. These groups were audiotaped and transcribed. Three reviewers independently analyzed transcripts for themes using margin-coding and grounded theory; disagreements were resolved by consensus. Thirteen Spanish-primary-language parents participated in two focus groups. The results show that parents wanted their children to be bilingual. Parents also stated that the benefits of bilingualism included better career opportunities, and preservation of culture and native language. Family members, schools, and prior parental experiences influenced the parents’ decisions to raise bilingual children. Parents preferred English-only school classes and to teach Spanish at home. Strategies identified for raising bilingual children included reading bilingual books and having children speak only Spanish at home. Schools and pediatricians are used as resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-521
Number of pages19
JournalHispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • bilingual development
  • language
  • multilingualism
  • parenting
  • qualitative research
  • young children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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