What was or still is difficult?
Nothing really. Maybe we have been lucky that our children have never refused to speak a language or complained about having to speak so many languages.
Do your children get the differences between the languages and cultures? What do you do to keep them interested in both cultures?
We make sure that we give equal importance to England and Italy - visiting family, seeing the country, eating the food, watching films from both countries, reading books from both countries etc. We never tell them one is better than the other but just that they are different.
Can you think of any resources that helped you or recommend any support groups, websites or social media groups that you have found useful??
We have many friends, foreigners and locals, but the families that we gel with most are the ones who are like us - a mixed couple living in a third country with children who speak several languages. My friends who are in the same situation understand what it is like so I find them to be very supportive. I recently came across a facebook group Raising Bilingual/Multilingual Children which I dip into sometimes. It's a group of intelligent, caring and non-judgemental parents giving each other ideas and support.
How do you perceive the key benefits of bringing up a child bilingually/multilingually?
We didn't do it by choice. It was just the way it happened but I think it has many advantages. The children are confident when communicating with others, responsible when translating for others and have empathy for others when they do not understand a language. I have tried to learn languages all my adult life and have always struggled. They won't have to do that. Learning languages will always come easily to them.
Are there any disadvantages? Are their challenging aspects with schoolwork for example?
I don't see the disadvantages yet but then my children are still fairly young. Maybe things will change when the chldren are teenagers and there is pressure on them to do well in exams etc.
What advice would you give parents about to embark on bringing up a child bilingually?
Be confident in your choices and if your children aren't accepting of your language for whatever reason, persevere. But at the same time be as natural as possible and your children won't know that what they are doing is really extraordinary.