Hundreds of immigrants arrive in Spain every year looking for a better future. As a result, they settle in our country and build families. These people have been raised with their own culture and moving to a new country can be complicated due to the adaptation as many researches show. Nevertheless, this first generation will always have a place where they feel they belong. But, has anyone considered how this will affect their children?

According to INE data from 2007 to 2017, from the almost five million children that have been born in the last ten years, at least one of their parents is foreing (El País, 2018). And despite these figures, there are only a few studies on them. For this reason, this article aims to compile the little information on the situation that these children experience every day.

As it is common, these parents will raise their children in their own culture while they are growing in the country’s culture, which means that they have a mix of cultures. It might feel that it is a good thing, however, it is not for every child. The fact of sharing cultures can lead to challenges such as conflict of loyalties, contradictions and the feeling of not belonging to either culture (Aparicio & Portes, 2014). This may affect the way these children are integrated within the country despite being born there. This can be a challenge especially in adolescence, when they begin to construct their identities.

Moreover, it has been proved that the discrimination these young people may suffer can affect the way they see their identity. Even though they are Spanish, their physical features can show that their backgrounds are different, and as a result, they are discriminated against. This makes them not feel identified as Spanish, rejecting the identity of the country. However, this is something that does not happen very often as shown by the study carried out by Aparicio and Portes (2014). According to this study only 5% report having suffered discrimination, which is a good outcome since it demonstrates a positive process of adaptation and a psychological and cultural convergence between children of immigrants and children of natives Spanish.

The existence of microaggression (everyday racism) contributes to the fact that these children do not feel identified with Spain and the Spanish culture when they are younger. This is due to the fact that one of the ways in which this racism appears is through questions such as ‘where are you from?’ ‘Do they do things like that in your country?’, etc. although they are Spanish. Likewise, when they visit their parents’ place of origin, people may refer to them as “the Spaniards”, causing them to feel that they do not belong to either country.

Incorrect learning of Spanish by these children can put them at an academic disadvantage compared to children of native parents. However, this difference in Spain is usually not significant, unlike in other countries. The parent’s ambition is also essential for educational achievement because it is transmitted to their children.

An article, written by Iñaki García (2002), states that it is a mistake to evaluate the situation of the children of immigrants from a cultural point of view, as it should not be thought that the only thing that characterises them, in comparison with the children of native people, is having been raised in families from countries with ‘other cultures.’ As a result, the culture of origin of these immigrants is seen as an obstacle to social integration. However, it is the people who instil these thoughts in their children that make this a real problem. The issue concerning the social integration of these people is to think of them as a distorting element of the social life of the country (García, 2002).

A plausible solution, for these children to identify with the culture of their parents and at the same time with the country in which they live, is the creation of references in both media and institutional spaces. This would help them not to feel lost and to facilitate social integration, as not only they would see themselves reflected, but also the children of native parents. In other words, both children would see how both cultures relate to each other, making it completely natural. Moreover, some immigrant parents seek to reinforce their children’s identity in food, stories and toys (El País, 2018).

A work made by José Manuel Esteve, Cristobal Ruiz and María Teresa Rascón (2008) has demonstrated that the identity of the children of immigrant parents, specifically those whose parents are Moroccan, is built on the need to feel part of both the family culture of origin, as well as the host society and their equals living in it.

However, many children of migrants say there are more advantages than disadvantages. For instance, in an interview carried out by the Spanish newspaper El País (2018), Fatima J. states that having grown up in two different cultures has helped her to be more tolerant since she has two approaches to life. In addition, these children are lucky enough to be bilingual, which can be beneficial for their future, especially when looking for a job.

Finally, it can be said that although they do not have to deal with all the paperwork involved in moving to Spain from another country, they have to suffer the consequences of living between two cultures. These do not always have to be negative, they also have their positive side. During this article we have seen the importance of instilling diversity in children from an early age through the creation of references both on television and in stories, etc. This can be decisive for the integration of the children of migrants. But it would not only help to integrate them, it would also help to create a world that is respectful and tolerant towards any culture, religion or person.