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Mexican-American Childhood Experience in Texas

Citing the importance of family solidarity to the culture, Madsen (1973, pp. 46-7) presents examples from families that demonstrate tension between individual development and the demands made on the individual, especially on the post-adolescent individual, by the family unit. However, the binding of parents and children extends not just between the generations but across three generations. This is a hierarchical generational relationship, with children at the bottom; they are expected to show respect and unquestioning obedience to both parents and grandparents in general and to their father in particular, as well as to those included in the extended family such as baptismal godparents, in the tradition of what is called "compadrazgo or coparenthood. Compadres (coparents) are sponsors who assume carefully defined roles . . . linked by tradition through interlocking obligations of mutual aid and respect" (Madsen, pp. 48-9).

Madsen connects the tradition of a male's "supremacy . . . within his own home" (p. 50) to the hard social reality that Mexican-American men are obliged to be subservient on the job or in society. Children are expected to absorb the lesson of this tradition, however. Mothers have the role of socializing and enculturating their children to family norms and structures. This amounts to teaching children their proper


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Mexican-American Childhood Experience in Texas. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:14, October 25, 2014, from
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