They used to be referred to as “non-traditional students,” but adult students are the fastest growing group pursuing a college education. Having lived in an unstable, unsafe, and unpredictable environment in which psychological, emotional, mental, and physical abuse was most likely administered with almost routine regularity, and having had their trust betrayed by the very parents who should have most been there to protect them, they learned to negotiate the world in a distrusting, sometimes hypervigilant state.
Many of these adults who were dropouts from the schools in their childhood yearn to continue their education at a later and more convenient time. Cermak, Timmin L,, M.D. “A Time to Heal: The Road to Recovery for Adult Children of Alcoholics.” Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 1988.
Through the use of the Internet, many universities have programs that offer students the opportunity to participate in business classes from home or some other place where they have access to a computer and sometimes a television monitor. Interrupting, like static, the neuron connections that otherwise enable people to evoke positive feelings and empathy for the harm their detrimental actions may cause, they are unable to generate either for their children.
Whether their parents were alcoholic, dysfunctional, or abusive people, or they exhibited this behavior without the liquid substance because they themselves were exposed to it during their own upbringings, their children fielded, reacted to, and just downright survived it without choice, recourse, defense, or protection.
Why Adult Education?
Adult education helps adults by offering education of high standards in various forms. Educational centers like Adults Who Are Returning to Education (AWARE), Center for Adults Returning to Education (CARE) are few amongst the adult education continuing centers that are doing a fine job. Adults who return to education would have had different backgrounds that led to their interruption from continuing education.
They virtually assume the identity of their parents and often others as adults, gravitating to them like external leaches. Alcoholic parents, almost by definition, cannot bring the full range of human emotional responsiveness to bear in interactions with their children.
Typical adult education centres offer the opportunity for students who have not completed their schooling to continue and aim for an equivalent achievement (such as a GED in the US), or they may well be adjoined to a university or college with the offer of Foundation courses, A-Levels, or Degrees in the UK.
Why Should Adults Continue Education?
The teaching of adults differs considerably from children because of the background knowledge of students and the fact that they are usually eager to learn of their own accord, instead of it being mandatory to be taught. Adult children of alcoholics guess at which normal is. They simply have no experience with it. And, as many adult children of alcoholics know only too well, we cannot escape our families simply by creating physical or emotional distance. For the purpose of education, adults may be divided into two classes the illiterate and the partially literate.
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