CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Investing in children’s education and prolonging their years of schooling constitutes families’principle strategy for conserving or improving their social positions. This entails prolonging the wait for the young person to acquire their residential autonomy and financial independence. As the results of quantitative studies show, young people from recomposed family units leave their parents’ home earlier than others. Our interviews indicate that residential autonomy is particularly desirable to the majority of them, especially when there is tension with their stepparent. In families where the parents are separated and in stepfamilies, the question of who will cover the cost of the child and for how long, creates tension between the two parents and also between the parent and their spouse, the stepparent. Spurred by their stepparents’ remarks or by their father’s reluctance to pay or to increase child maintenance, these young people shy away from asking for money and start making their own sooner than others. They often develop strategies to rapidly acquire their financial independence: precarious jobs, either part time or with no hope of advancement for some, but also bank loans, alternation or remunerated education. It seems that most of them, although they said they were scarred by their familial ordeals, had reached a normal level of education.

Sylvie Cadolle
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