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Should I Stop or Are You Carrying On?

David Baril, Sylvain Bourdon

This article is focused on the relationships between unqualified young adults moving into liberal adult education (LAE) and their parents, by bringing out the concept of intergenerational ambivalence. This analysis is based on semi-structured interviews carried out with some 30 young adults, aged between 16 and 30, when they were taking part in LAE level studies. Our analyses bring out the fact that parents are often emotionally involved in the schooling of their children. As a rule, they are never far behind them, whether supporting them and encouraging their learning activities, or with a view to reminding them, or enjoining them, directly or indirectly, to meet their scholarly expectations. Additionally, the relationship between parents and young adults who went directly from the youth sector to LAE shows little ambivalence, compared with that between parents and young adults who have broken off their secondary level studies before moving on to LAE. Overall, one may note the implementation of Kurt Lüscher’s four major strategies of ambivalence management, but their nature appears to be mainly dependent on whether the move to LAE is continuous, following on directly from the youth sector studies, or subsequent to a significant break in their schooling.