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My kids won’t talk to me (in Korean)

Raising multi-lingual children is the hope for many parents. As an American-born Korean, I wish my own parents had instilled in me a desire to learn Korean, but I grew up in a generation where psychologists discouraged teaching young kids more than one language. It was thought to be a detriment to the child’s development. Not everyone listened to this outdated advice though, and many bi-lingual or polyglot children are now thriving in careers and businesses that range from broadcast media to technology. When it comes to my son and daughter, we have intentionally raised them speaking both Korean and English. We eventually want them to start learning Chinese and later on, Spanish or French. My wife speaks to the kids almost exclusively in Korean, though she also does code-switch, and I speak almost entirely in English to the kids(I also switch to some rudimentary Korean every so often). The interesting thing is, although they speak to each other in both languages, my kids refuse to speak to me in Korean. They say it feels “weird”. That’s not a bad thing though, as it’s part of the journey to being able to express yourself in more than one language. This is great and easily done if one of you is fluent in English, but if not, then another language influence needs to be brought into your home and the child needs regular exposure. But how? We’ll talk about that in another blog post.

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