Life Cycle Essay

985 WordsJul 4, 20134 Pages
The idea of the family life cycle is based on the notion that families, like everything else, go through a process from birth through growth to decline and death. A useful way of conceptualizing the family life cycle is to look at ways that families must alter their attitudes and relationships in order to adapt to each of six stages: the young unattached adult; the newly married couple; the family with young children; the family at midlife: adolescents and aging parents; the stage of launching children and moving on; and the family in later life. Both cyclical and linear changes of many kinds occur over these stages, including marital satisfaction, empathy, discussion, and regard. Our experiences in passing through the family life cycle are affected by social changes. Some important changes in recent times are the lowered likelihood of experiencing the death of one’s parents or of a child, the increased likelihood of being a grandparent, and the increased likelihood of facing marital disruption because of divorce rather than death, which also means a greater likelihood of experiencing remarriage. The newly married couple tends to have a high level of certain family strengths, including self-disclosure, loyalty, trust, and respect. One of the couple’s important tasks is forming its own marital system. In doing so, spouses have to follow or reject the models of their parents. In setting up their marital system, they must deal with the issue of closeness versus fusion, striving to build intimacy while retaining their individual identities. The couple with young children faces the challenge of taking on the roles of mother and father as well as husband and wife and of enlarging the family system to include other people. Marital satisfaction is likely to be lower at this stage. The family at midlife faces multiple challenges: the care of aging parents

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