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Navigating Risk Discourses: a Narrative Analysis of Parental Experiences in the Career and Life Development of Youth not in Education, Employment, or Training

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Abstract

Although the career and life development needs of young people not in education, employment, or training (NEET) have garnered interest from researchers and policymakers in recent decades, how parents experience their NEET children’s development and how they make meaning of their parental journeys remain underexplored. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine such parents’ experiences with their NEET children’s career and life development by conducting individual, semi-structured interviews with such parents, particularly in the Chinese cultural context of Hong Kong. Fourteen parents of NEET youth in Hong Kong were recruited via purposive sampling, each of whose NEET child was between 15 and 21 years old. Using narrative thematic analysis of interviews for data analysis, the results revealed that the parents had experienced a range of negative emotions and relied upon both contemporary and cultural conceptualizations of career, risk, and parenting to make sense of their children’s circumstances. Whereas some parents blamed themselves or their children for their negative experiences, others attempted to reinterpret their parenting decisions and actions, as well as their children’s career and life challenges, by reconstructing their personal meanings of parenthood. The results suggest that the parents’ self-perceptions and well-being were subject to the influence of risk discourses on parenting. They also suggest that though macro- and micro-environments were liable to heavily influence the parents’ self-perceptions, parents who could reconstitute their reflexive selves were more likely than others to form more positive views of themselves, their children, and their parental journeys.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the community-based interventions of the Career and Life Adventure Planning for Youth Project (CLAP for Youth @ JC) grant from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust (Project ID: HKBU/HKJCCT/14-15/01).

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Correspondence to Siu-ming To.

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To, Sm., Victor, Cw.W., Daniel, Dm.L. et al. Navigating Risk Discourses: a Narrative Analysis of Parental Experiences in the Career and Life Development of Youth not in Education, Employment, or Training. Applied Research Quality Life 16, 2039–2058 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-020-09855-w

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