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Parlez-vous Français? Raising Bilingual Children in a New Country

How Speaking Your Native Language Can Benefit Your Child's Future


As an immigrant parent raising a child in a new country, one of the biggest decisions you may face is what language to speak with your child. Should you stick to your native language, or switch to the language of your new home? The answer is not as straightforward as you may think.


Many parents feel pressure to assimilate and prioritize the language of their new country, believing it will benefit their child's future success. However, research shows that maintaining the native language has many advantages.


First and foremost, speaking the native language helps to maintain a strong connection to culture and family heritage. It allows children to communicate with grandparents and extended family, fostering a sense of belonging and identity.


Moreover, bilingualism has been linked to cognitive benefits such as increased creativity, problem-solving skills, and better performance in school. In a globalized world, being able to speak multiple languages is becoming more and more valuable.


But what about the concern that speaking the native language may hinder a child's ability to learn the dominant language? The truth is, this is a myth. Studies show that bilingual children are actually better at learning new languages because they have already developed language-learning skills.


So, if you're an immigrant parent, don't be afraid to speak your native language with your child. You're not only preserving your culture and family ties, but also giving your child a competitive advantage in a multilingual world.


Of course, this doesn't mean you should completely disregard the language of your new home. Encourage your child to learn and use it as well. Bilingualism is a valuable asset that will benefit them in countless ways.


It's not uncommon for children of immigrants to prefer speaking the language of their new home over their native language. If your child responds to you in Hebrew, don't be discouraged. Instead, try to maintain a balance between both languages. Encourage your child to speak French with you, but also make an effort to speak Hebrew with them when appropriate. You can also try incorporating French into their daily routine by reading books, watching movies, or singing songs in French. Over time, your child may become more comfortable speaking both languages and will reap the benefits of bilingualism. Remember, patience and consistency are key when it comes to raising bilingual children.


In the end, the decision of what language to speak with your child should be based on what works best for your family. Don't let societal pressure or misconceptions guide your choice. Embrace your native language and all the benefits it brings. After all, raising bilingual children is a win-win situation.

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