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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: July 2019

5 - Children’s Migratory Paths Between Cultures: The Effects of Migration Experiences on the Adjustment of Children and Families

from Part II - Historical and Life Course Transitions: Economic and Demographic Change


Youth who immigrate to the US navigate unique and increasingly complex challenges. These challenges include stressful or unsafe sociopolitical pre-migration contexts, protracted or unpredictable migration processes, and post-migration stressors while adapting to a new culture. In this chapter, we examine such effects of immigration and acculturation on children in different historical periods. The example of migration from Mexico to the US is used to illustrate how our historical perspectives change and shape developmental possibilities and experiences for children. Our recent historical perspective embraced the goal of assimilating children and families into the US host culture, with little adherence to the values and traditions of the culture of origin. Over time this perspective has shifted to the current view that the goal of acculturation should be a bicultural one. Implications of various migratory paths for children’s adjustment are discussed, as are the developmental implications of current policies related to migration.