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This article describes a constructivist grounded theory study about cross-border relationships within Mayan families divided between the United States and Guatemala. Nine families participated, and each included a U.S.-based undocumented migrant parent and a Guatemala-based adolescent and caregiver. Findings pertaining to the family process of consejos—defined as a communication practice in Latino families wherein older family members pass on conventional wisdom to younger family members—are discussed. Although consejos has been identified as an important cultural practice in Latino families, it has rarely been examined in Mayan families or explored as an important aspect of transnational family relationships. Findings suggest that for some transnational and mixed-status Mayan families, consejos has become an important family process and a way in which migrant parents maintain a presence in their children's lives despite being physically separated. Implications for future research with transnational migrant families, and Mayan families in particular, are discussed.

Publication Title

Journal of Marriage and Family

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post-print (with 12 month embargo)

Open Access Status

OA Deposit

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