Children and Power in Mexican Transnational Families


Sociology Department, Kent State University, P.O. Box 5190, Kent, OH 44242 (


Today, many families find that they are unable to fulfill the goal of maintaining a household by living together under the same roof. Some members migrate internationally. This article addresses the consequences of a transnational lifestyle for children who are left behind by migrant parents. Using ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with a total of 141 members of Mexican transnational families, I explore how children who are left behind react to parents’ migrations. I focus on how Mexican children manifest the competing pressures they feel surrounding parents’ migrations and consequently shape family migration patterns. The article shows that children may experience power, albeit in different ways at different ages, while simultaneously being disadvantaged as dependents and in terms of their families’ socioeconomic status.