Apr 14, 2010

Court decision in Chicago divorce case

The sad case of the divorce in Chicago with the fight turning on the kid, as the father, Joseph Reyes, who had converted to Judaism has gone back to Catholicism and brought the daughter to church and baptized her, has a decision.

A Cook County (Chicago) judge has ruled that the father has the right to take his daughter to church during his visitation days, and that he would be granted additional visitation on Christmas and Easter.

The judge ruled it would not be harmful to the girl.

Here, we contend with raising children with two languages, and at least while they are children it is deemed pretty harmful to the kids, as they tend to develop their speech slower because of what is thought to be confusion caused by the bi-lingual environment. I cannot imagine how two different religions could be considered not harmful and confusing for a child - heck, even for an adult, let alone a child.

6 comments:

  1. I've never heard of growing up in a bilingual environment being considered harmful. On the contrary, children's brains are most elastic as infants and toddlers and the sooner they are exposed to multiple languages, the better they will be at learning other languages as older children and adults and it's better for their overall brain development, despite some usually very minor delays at the beginning.

    "Parents should not be overly concerned about the negative effects of bilingualism. According to the authors, "Research suggests . . . that learning difficulties occur in bilingual children just as they do in monolingual children, and that bilingualism is neither a direct nor indirect cause. . . . A child who has the opportunity to speak more than one language should find that second language an asset, not an obstacle.""

    http://www.kidsgrowth.com/resources/articledetail.cfm?id=1229

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  2. Abbi beat me to it. I've never heard of many languages harming development.

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  3. There are probably conflicting studies, and in the long term it is not harmful. I was referring to short term development of language skills.

    Very often, when kids develop their speech skills at a very slow pace, the professional are blaming it on confusion caused by a bi-lingual environment.

    Perhaps it is not conclusive, perhaps others disagree, but we have heard it firsthand from professionals.

    In the short term there is confusion and it causes developmental delays in speech and verbal skills.

    I can only imagine the confusion caused by two opposing religions being crammed down a kids throat.

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  4. Abbi beat me to it. I was more interested in bilingual upbringing when my kids were little and I taught, so maybe there are new studies. I can say pretty certainly that there *was* little or no evidence supporting the contention that children raised bilingually would have a long-term problem. Usually in fields like education, child development, and even health care our big concerns are long-term outcomes. Short term outcomes are often misleading.

    In any case, the comparison is apples to oranges. With bilingual upbringing/education we worry about cognitive development, speech facility, socialization. In the Chicago divorce case the concern is more subtle, difficult, and probably untestable. Will this child have problems with torn loyalties between parents exacerbated by the religion issue? Or is it subsumed in the presumed animosity and great differences between them? Just 'one more difference'?

    Of course, from a Jewish standpoint this isn't good.

    Very tough situation in any case. I feel sorry for this child.

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  5. Here, we contend with raising children with two languages, and at least while they are children it is deemed pretty harmful to the kids, as they tend to develop their speech slower because of what is thought to be confusion caused by the bi-lingual environment.

    This is not true. Children in bilingual households develop language better than children in unilingual (sp?) households (of course when adjusted for income, parents education, etc).

    I cannot imagine how two different religions could be considered not harmful and confusing for a child - heck, even for an adult, let alone a child.

    This is true. Growing up with two religions could potentially be harmful. But it's probably part of the general case of growing up with parents who have major disagreements about core issues such as religion.

    The judge had to decide one way or another and I don't envy him because there is no "correct" choice. How can a judge choose what religion someone should practice?

    Mark

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  6. When we made Aliyah almost two years ago, we put our daughter into an all Hebrew Irya Gan. It was difficult at first but she caught on. After about 4 months the handful of Anglo kids, were not allowed to play translator.

    She had an OT assessment earlier this year. She is not entitled to any language assistance because she is on par with kids born here to Anglo parents.

    I have seen first hand many times where a kids Hebrew is lacking because the parents were 'protecting' them from the bilingual enviornment. They end up growing up lacking Hebrew language skills, which in most cases is key to success as an adult.

    ReplyDelete

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