7 surefire signs your kids are definitely German

It happens to the best of us upon moving here - our kids turning German. Here are some signs to look out for so you know before it's too late.

7 surefire signs your kids are definitely German
A girl eating a pretzel at a festival in Bad Schussenried, Baden-Württemberg. Photo: DPA.

While you may think you're raising just another regular American, Brit, Canadian or Aussie who just happens to live in Germany, you're likely totally wrong.

But here's what to look out for as your kid grows into one of the natives.

1. They’re already beer enthusiasts in the making

Photo: DPA.

They’ve been coming with you to the beer garden since before they can remember, sipping on ‘Kinderbier’ and munching on pretzels. So perhaps you've started to see the signs for some time now.

“They pretty much live off of Schnitzel and Pommes and are counting down the days until they are allowed to drink beer,” as one reader told us on Facebook.

2. They’ve picked up the local phrases (probably better than you have)

You may find yourself envious of how quickly and seamlessly your kids seem to pick up a new language and phrases. Maybe they should be your German teachers…

3. And they start to correct your German

But it's also a bit annoying when a four-year-old starts reminding you of der, die and das.

4. When their accents speaking English no longer sound like your own

At least you can be thankful they haven't picked up your poor German pronunciation.

5. The way they greet people is different from how you were raised

They may not be as comfortable with certain greetings as you were as a child.

6. When they love the same children’s shows you did growing up – except with different words

And maybe with slightly different character names, like Bob der Baumeister or SpongeBob Schwammkopf. You might start to question if it's even the same show.

7. And if you move back home, you may feel a patriotic duty to have them brush up on some things…

But no matter how German they become, you know there’s still a glimmer of you in there, no matter how small.


For members


Reader question: Do all children born in Germany automatically receive German citizenship?

If a baby is born in Germany, does the child become Deutsch? The answer may not be so straightforward, for both foreign and sometimes even German parents.

Reader question: Do all children born in Germany automatically receive German citizenship?

In the US, stories abound of expecting parents who travel to the country on the brink of giving birth, and then have a baby who’s automatically granted American citizenship. 

But does the same rule – when foreign parents receive citizenship for their child in the country it’s born – also apply in Germany?

The short answer is no – at least not automatically. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who is entitled to German citizenship by descent and how to apply for it

Contrary to what some people might assume, if a baby is born to two foreign parents in Germany, the child does not receive German citizenship upon birth, according to Germany’s Foreign Ministry. 

But there are a couple of ways in which the child can still become a German passport holder.

Parent(s) who are long-term German residents

Any child born in Germany after January 1st, 2000 to at least one foreign parent who has resided continuously in Germany for at least eight years and is a permanent resident, qualifies for German citizenship in addition to the citizenship of the parents.

But there’s a catch: according to the German Optionspflict, “the child must decide at some stage between the age of 18 and 23 whether to retain his or her German nationality or another nationality acquired by birth,” wrote the German Foreign Ministry.

The requirement to choose is only in place, however, for children who received German citizenship through a parent who’s a long-term resident of Germany.

If the parent holds a German passport, the child doesn’t need to choose, unless it’s required by the other country of which they’re a passport holder.

That means that if a foreign parent gets German citizenship after their child is born, they can also receive a German passport for their offspring.

READ ALSO: How foreigners can get fast track citizenship in Germany

A man holds a German passport in his hand.

A man holds a German passport in his hand. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

Loopholes even with a German parent 

It may seem like a given that having one German parent would grant citizenship to a child born in Germany, but that’s not always the case.

If the parents are not married and the father is German, he will need to make sure to fill out a Vaterschaftsanerkennung (recognition of paternity) before the citizenship can be claimed.

Families in which one parent is German and the other foreign also often assume that only one passport is needed, but things can get a little tricky.

Let’s say the mother is a British passport holder and the father possesses a German passport. While their offspring can easily travel to the UK without an issue, they may encounter difficulties reentering Germany unless their kid has an official deutschen Reisepass.

And it goes without saying that a child born to a German parent abroad, whether the father or mother, is also required to officially apply for a German passport in order for German nationality to be recognised.