Family life cycle theory

hello this is dr. Moyer and this is the PowerPoint regarding the family life cycle theory so while the other theories we’ve talked about have focused on individual development we are going to look at one theory that focuses on how a family develops and a family is typically defined as social group in a society with one or two adults with children however the structure of families has changed a great deal over time and families can now be made up of many formations there are grandparents raising grandchildren there are step families there are foster families there are couples without children family can take on many forms Erikson proposed that individual stages of Eric I’m sorry propose that individuals develop in stages but Duval proposed that the family is a unit and that there is a stage development series that families go through as well based upon social norms over time so the theory helps explain the typical development of a family over time what we can expect to see at certain stages what are the main tasks that need to be accomplished and if there are problems you know where they might stem from this was one of the first series to focus exclusively on families it was kind of a big deal the basic notion is that families need to be studied as dynamic unit not a collection of individuals and this is very relevant to family consumer sciences because that is how we study families families experience pattern changes over time that are driven and affected by social norms and expectations the theory focuses a great deal on transitions when families transition from one stage to another because those can be written they can be traumatic they can be upsetting and when families do go through transitions then there is often a reshuffling of how the families organize in regards to family roles and interactions normative events are defined as things that happen normally in families I know normal is not usually a word that we like to use but in this case it’s the norm would be statistical norm so on average what families are doing so we’re looking at marriages child birth developmental and educational milestones the passage of time and the the life course developmental theory does not focus on crisis events like pathology we focus on normative events so it’s important to note that when we talk about the evaluation of the theory or the usefulness of it we’ll come back to that stages result from major changes in family size changes in developmental age of the first child changes in the work status of the major breadwinner so even if there are multiple children work we determine the stages that families are in by the first child each stage or development is related the behaviors or tasks that would normally be expected to occur during that stage norms govern group and individual behavior including roles norms are socially defined and changed over time as cultural change occurs a key concept of this theory is that development is reciprocal individual development affects Family Development and Family Development affects individual development so the other major concept is change over time so basically individuals don’t live in a bubble they’re affected by what’s going on with their family and the family is affected by the individual so make sense sure the first stage we’ll go through each of the stages the first stage is called the young and unattached adult and at this stage it starts when a young adult leaves home and begins to start their on life so they may go off to college or they may move out and get their own apartment or share an apartment with friends and roommates they start to think of the future and their think looking towards the possibility of serious relationships forming a couple relationship in the near future they’re not necessarily thinking about children just yet because they’re still tryin to figure out their own identity according

to Erikson their child is I mean adolescent is developing their independence and forming their identity into their early 20s and so it makes sense that they would be focused on that they’re trying to figure out what they want to do with their life with a career and are actively dating in the hopes of meeting a potential partner Stage two is called newly married adults at this stage the young adult has found a partner and they begin to think about the future in the possibility of becoming parents it’s important at this stage that the couple communicates with each other and discusses what they have in regards to expectations for one another if the relationship in the family they may also discuss what kind of parents they want to be when they do have children there could be talked about will one of them stay home but this is all pre children kind of talk pre planning stages they’re also as newly married adults focused on managing their finances together this will be a new experience for them having been individual and looking for a place to live a home whether they buy a home or rent an apartment whatever the case may be and figuring out do they want to stay there forever or is this just temporary it’s easy to lose duval points out that it’s easy to lose independence during this stage the point isn’t for the couple to merge and become one although we use that kind of line we talk about marriage the couple must try to maintain independence still with their own friends or own hobbies activities interests etc otherwise later on down the road when they do have children reach the launching stage sending them off to college or off to start their own life this could be problematic the next stage Stage three is called preschool age children because the finis occurs when the first child whoa you know what I missed a stage because it is families with children before preschool age children there is another stage called families with infants and that is when child when the first child is born and the new parents have to adjust to learning the new responsibilities of having a child learning how to you know make bottles give baths change diapers etc and having to reevaluate the division of labor in the home most couples end up even if they were relatively equal in regards to the division of labor and they may not have taken on traditional roles research shows that most couples following the birth of a child their first child will fall into traditional gender roles meaning that the female will take care of the baby in the house and the male is the breadwinner but it doesn’t have to be that way in so the major task at that stage families with infants is learning to adjust to life with a baby and to having a unit more than two people and what that is like I mean financially that’s going to be different and certainly the division of labor communication sleep everything is affected by this and then the next stage would be preschool age children so when the first child reaches preschool-aged the task at this stage is for parents to learn to make time for themselves as a couple which can be difficult the division of labour usually has settled down by now the couple has figured out a routine they know who’s better at what you know who does this and who does that they also have to watch conflict because it can be very stressful as the child moves into preschool-aged and goes off to preschool if that’s the case then there are that’s a major transition so now the baby has left the house and the family has to adjust to that transition and what that means the child is interacting with other children socially that’s going to affect the family they may form new friendships

playdates etc the next stage which would technically be Stage five because I skipped one is school-age children and this is when the firstborn reaches school kindergarten first grade etc the focus again is for children to establish relationships with peers so they’re not quite becoming autonomous and formed and like focused on forming their identity like they are in adolescence but they’re spending a lot more time with peers away from the family they’re gaining new skills they’re learning new ideas and it’s going to what they bring home affects the family changes the family dynamic but in it I mean courage forces parents to actually have to help with like homework attend school activities so there’s a readjustment in the family schedule the whole family should try to be supportive but can be a very busy time and again conflict needs to be kept to a minimum it’s hard when people have to read their schedule and they become busier than ever but they’re wanting to do the right thing for their child it’s also important for the couple to not lose focus on each other date nights and spending time together it’s very critical at this stage because it can be easy to get caught up in the child’s life or children’s lives and not focus on each other stage six is families with adolescence so now the firstborn has reached adolescence and parents struggle with this stage a great deal more so than the children do because at this age like you know from Erikson’s Theory the adolescent is trying to figure out who they are what they want to do with their life they’re managing friends and peers dealing with peer pressure they’re trying to learn to navigate the world on their own without their parents and it can it’s exciting for them but it’s also frustrating when parents continue to try to exert control over them so it’s important for the adolescent to pull away and establish autonomy from the parents and from the family while maintaining close bunts and relationship to the family which can kind of be a catch-22 parents should be there to help guide their adolescence and give advice and make sure that the child you know knows the expectations the rules what the family believes in and supports but they have to be very careful not to control their adolescent they have to let them create and carve out their own individual identity and oftentimes this can lead to a lot of conflict between parents and adolescents and many parents feel overwhelmed distraught like they’re not a good parent because of this conflict when the very nature of this stage both individually and as a family is rife with conflict it it’s hard to avoid is what I’m trying to say so trying to you know stay close but pull away that can be hard and so it’ll take some balancing out and parents should try to give adolescents some room and allow them to make choices give them choices and allow them to feel like they have control over their life while still making sure that they are not getting into trouble misbehaving deviant behaviors etc once again parents have to remember focus to focus on their own relationship and so while giving their child room to grow it’s a good idea for the parents to use that time to reconnect if they have pulled apart or to stay connected do things together and for the parents to also maintain individual interests so friendships hobbies activities etc sounds like a lot but it’s important that all these things happen stage 7 is the launching center and now this is when the firstborn is leaving the home for about half of families this means that the firstborn is going to college the other half it may mean that the child has found an

apartment is moving out as roommates may they may even be going to some type of technical or Community College but they’re starting to really form and maintain a life outside of the family and away from the family parents struggle with the launching center because the focus has been for a long time on raising their children and as their children leave the Nasus to call the empty nest syndrome they struggle with what do I do now and if they haven’t focused on maintaining the relationship and in close ties with partner then it becomes an issue of having to redefine that relationship and reconnect which can be very hard if they haven’t worked on that throughout the years so they have to learn to adapt to being alone with their significant other again and also maintain their own interests so that they have their individual identity as well as their couple identity and of course they still want to maintain close ties with the children even though they’ve moved out of the house stage 8 is called middle-aged adults now the parents are alone the couples alone in the house the children are off they have their own lives and oftentimes their own children at this point so sometimes the couple have become grandparents and the focus now is maintaining close relationship with your partner and keeping the family close and communicating with one another it can be easy as families go out and separate from each other to loose touch and not stay as close so it is up to the parents to make sure that families still get together for holidays and events and then act that they communicate with one another technology allows a lot of different ways to communicate today but there should also still be maybe talking on the phone or FaceTime because that allows that close connection it can be strange for the couple when they reach this stage there may also be midlife crises to contend with and you know what if I done with my life Who am I know and that that’s completely normal and fine many times couples will change their career at this point because they’ve been doing something all along in maybe it’s just to make money but now they want to follow a different interest so not uncommon to see that and it’s not unusual stage 9 is retired adults now of course the focus is on health staying healthy staying active maintaining you know aging gracefully as we call it or aging well as I prefer to call it and still you know getting out hanging with friends going into movies to dinner together the focus also is on retirement and/or a transition to a different or you know working last to maybe working part-time or working at a different type of job that’s that’s more low stress so this also this is a huge transition for the couple and people struggle with this a great deal and if they haven’t followed through on all the tasks I need to be completed according to Erickson’s theory as well as Duval’s family life cycle theory then they may reach a point where they can face depression or feel stagnant or static and isolate themselves so it’s it’s important to make sure that they do get out and they do have interests outside of one another as well as with each other and if the family has planned financially all through the life cycle then they will be prepared for this stage but if they have not prepared financially or have not been able to do living as a low-income family then this can also be a very stressful time because they’re not able to retire they’re not able to to relax and do things like we see on in the movies and TV travel around so again the planning has to take place early on in the life cycle and that so that families can reach this stage and enjoy their

life in retirement those are the stages I apologize for leaving one out so just remember the families with infants insert that in the practical application of this theory it’s useful for understanding and explaining the various stages that families go through so as I went through the stages I’m sure you could think about or imagining your own family where they are your own family of origin that is as well as you may have have a family now of your own and where you are in that lifecycle so again was the first theory specifically to focus on family development so it is still very practical because we’re looking at the family as a unit and how they develop together over time rather than just the individual as far as the evaluation you may have been able to guess some of the criticisms of the theory families don’t always experiences stages and sequential order it’s not uncommon for a couple to have a baby and not get married or get married later on it’s also not uncommon for parents to not even have a to raise a child on your own to be a single parent and not have that partner and that doesn’t make this less of a family it’s just that there’ll be different types of stages major life events can disrupt stages so when there is some sort of major trauma chronic illness or death in the family or a natural disaster or loss of a job many things can cause families to move off the track and focus on still trying to be a family and be close but there they’re not so focused on following Duval’s stages and the biggest criticism is that not all families are nuclear families meaning two parents with biological children first marriage staying together all the way through retirement and death and that is how the family was originally written however people have produced variations of the theory to explain different family structures and at the heart of it it’s still useful for understanding some of the commonalities I mean if it doesn’t matter how the family is structured if there are children because they’re still going to be those challenges with children at each stage and it doesn’t matter whether someone’s married whether they’re opposite sex couple or same-sex couple or grandparents or stop families whatever the case may be so still a good theory for understanding how families develop but there are some criticisms and some adjustments that need to be make if you’re talking about non nuclear families okay that’s all thank you