The Concept Of Family Life Cycle

This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Cite this essay cite-image

The concept of family life-cycle is one that is receiving increasing attention in the psychological literature. Writers and researchers have emphasized that humans tend to grow and change throughout the life-cycle and are not doomed to live out the effects of early childhood experiences, as suggested by Freudian theory. Neugarten has emphasized that the various turning points in one’s life such as the completion of school, entry into the workforce, marriage, parenthood and so forth, are significant chapters along the life-cycle. Neugarten has noted that these turning points involve changes in the individual’s self-concept and sense of identity. They draw forth and result in new social and emotional roles and require new adaptations on the part of the person experiencing the event and those around him or her. This essay will showcase the essential life experiences that shaped the trajectory of my life, my beliefs about family, the influence of culture and how my understanding of family has evolved.

I am the eldest daughter amongst three siblings. I share a genuine and a close knit bond with my parents and siblings. We have shared joyous moments together. We are each other’s confidant and support. I was the first to marry in the family and I married at an early age. As I have shared a sound relationship with my parents so marrying early was a happy-sad event in my life. I became a mother at the age of 24. However, I filed for my separation a few years later and moved to my parents’ house along with my daughter. I count this as one of the key events in my life that made me restructure my understanding about family. My parents had to go through a cultural shift while accommodating my decision. They were astonished yet supportive through the entire process. Being a single parent who moved back to my parents’ house which is quite contradictory to our Indian culture, made me establish a bond with my daughter that encompassed a friendship with a deeper connect. Both my younger siblings had moved abroad by then and this further added to my bond with my daughter. We understand each other and are each other’s primary support. During that period, I started working as a school teacher and continued it for almost nine years. Meanwhile, I developed a will for growth and a drive to attain more knowledge in my educational sector. Therefore, I decided to apply for my higher education degree. My daughter is fifteen years old now and I have recently moved to New Zealand to pursue my higher education.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place an order

Family provides the primary resources for understanding what the world around us consists of. Most individuals form their initial relevant identities within some kind of family structure (Drewery & Claiborne 2012). When I was young my family comprised of my mother father and me. One day, my parents visited a doctor and when they returned they asked me to sit down with them as they wanted to discuss something important. I was clueless about what they wanted to talk about. During that conversation, they explained to me that a new family member was coming to join our family and would share our home with us. They patiently explained to me how a new baby was coming to life in my mother’s stomach. It was all vague and new to me but with each passing day my excitement multiplied. The idea that I was once in my mother’s stomach amused me. This new addition to our family helped me understand that my family is not only limited to my parents and me. I vividly recall this event from my childhood and I can call it as an integral chapter of my life. My younger brother’s birth expanded my understanding of family. A family structure is definite yet flexible.

Similarly, just as the individual is seen passing through various stages- infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, so the family may also be viewed as moving through predictable phases from its formation to its dissolution. A caveat here is that versions of the life-cycle that characterize the traditional nuclear family are not always applicable to alternative forms of families. Hill (1986) has noted that the life-cycle course of the single-parent family differs from the two-parent family, (Slee, 2002), not necessarily in terms of the stages that come across, but in the amount, timing and extent of the vital changes knowledgeable. I have raised my daughter without her father and this has been of ebb and flow. It restructures one’s dependency on each other and makes the parent and child independent in other ways.

Numerous schemes for identifying the nature of family cycles have been put forward. Most have been developed with the concept of the traditional nuclear family in mind. One way to understand how families grow and change is to appreciate that there are certain universals and rhythms to family life. At each stage, certain tasks present themselves and families and their energies and resources focused on these tasks (Slee, 2002). As the family develops and grows, certain milestones are passed such as the birth of the first child. To briefly elaborate, the family life-cycle has six stages. The first stage is courtship and marriage. In this stage there is an establishing of self-government from the parent at home and instigate and the rise of a main relationship. The second phase is pre-parenting, which is setting up a pair of character and getting ready for parenthood. The third phase is the birth of the first child, where we take on to fresh position to take in triadic relations. The fourth step is running the child’s entrance to institution and dealing with the means the exterior planet imposes on the family unit. The fifth phase is running the adolescent’s establishment of self (Slee, 2002). The last stage is the couple identity, when we deal with the empty nest. Evidently, my family development has been incoherent during various stages of my life and this has shaped my distinctive understanding of family. I had the support of my partner until the third stage of family life cycle. However, during the fourth stage of introducing my child to a learning institution has been an independent experience. This could have created a missing block in my daughters newly forming understanding of family. However, as my parents were always present during the six stages of my life cycle, they voluntarily lend a hand and provided incomparable support during my daughter’s early schooling years. They tutored her after school and provided all the nurturing support that a young child requires.

While the past customary thought of a family unit has been one that is typically contained a mother, father, and children, the present meaning of family has changed. In its most hearty structure, family is at least two individuals who see themselves as a family and who play out a portion of the capacities that families commonly perform (Robles and Beck, 2010). These individuals might possibly be connected by blood or marriage and could conceivably live respectively as de-facto partners. However, such families can be viewed as self-contained communities with their own rules, languages, rituals and worldviews. According to Seligman and Darling, a family is similar to a little society of its own, with each having its own culture, government, language, foreign policy and traditions. Families vary in membership and, although the membership can be relatively stable over a period of time, it also changes. Family membership can change by births, adoptions, foster children, divorces, children moving out of the home and then moving back home, changes in a parent moving to another country, remarriage, parents being in the military, a parent community a long distance for work, relatives or friends needing a place to live, and many other reasons (Robles & Beck, 2010). These changes in family membership alter such family patterns as communication relationships, and the general dynamics of the Unit. Therefore, today’s families are defined by membership at a particular time. This membership can be diverse and be impacted by multiple contributing factors such as grandparents who provide full-day care giving but reside elsewhere, parents living in different houses, (Robles & Beck, 2010), unemployed family members, or memories of a deceased family member that influence the family’s thinking and behavior.

My understanding of family has gone through a few changes during the course of my life. I believed that after my marriage my husband and child will be my primary family however, my parents’ acceptance of my decision of separation and accepting me back to their house has strengthened my bond with them. This molds my daughter’s understanding of family in the long run. I distinctly recall, one morning before I was dropping my daughter to school, she asked me with intriguing eyes, “Momma, will I never have Daddy pick me up from school like my friend’s dads?” This was sudden and ironically foreseeable by me. I thought and smiled answering her that if she wishes to see her father after school he can one day come to pick her up. She nodded and went on with her day at the school. A few days later I checked with her if she wishes to be picked up by her father, she said “No” (S. Talwar, personal communication, May 28, 2012). I inquired a bit but she was persistent that she would be happier to see me after school. She knows about her father and definitely has questions about his whereabouts however, she has this innate understanding about his non inclusivity in our family. I was brought up with siblings and a two parent family, the most common family structure in India. I felt inclusive and never questioned this basic, self-aligning concept of family.

Moreover, these changes that took place in our family, such as separation and relocation have had an impact on my family. To start with, my family has always believed in customs and rituals of our culture. They regard marriage with utmost sanctity and give it immense importance. According to the Indian culture, a woman is supposed to be married through a traditional wedding and the marriage is meant to start a family (Tiller, 2011). As a woman, you are supposed to live with the husband’s family and divorces are unlikely. On the contrary, people in the western world are more liberal. Divorce and remarriages are more acceptable in this part of the world and women are not bound to traditions. My parents took a while to accept my decision owing to how contradicting it was to their beliefs. Our culture boasts of everlasting marriages. Shifting back to my parents’ home along with my daughter seemed unacceptable in the Indian culture. However, globalization, relocation and interaction with people from different cultures and communities has changed our views and beliefs about various ways a nuclear family can be. Globalization, effect of western culture, modernization and independent right to make our own decisions has altered the way modern day relationships are managed. One afternoon during the weekend, I spent a casual day with my mother. We were discussing about how the world has progressed. She shared how my grandparents had an everlasting marriage till death do them apart. They were not the happiest couple however, their values and traditions kept them together their entire lives. Separation was considered a taboo in their culture. The society would outcast anybody who would annul their marriage in the 1800s and early 1900s. Further, she compared and analyzed how she had a sound marriage. My father developed a hearing problem early on in their married life. However, my mother supported him and financially kept the family intact. My father helped her with the household chores and financial advice despite his hearing incapability. They had their hardships but were respectful of each other (J. Talwar, personal communication, February 10, 2010). Culturally, we have advanced and this gave my parents the understanding and me the courage to file a divorce and raise my daughter as a single parent.

Family life passes through various social changes as the changes at a societal level have the capacity to unsettle and reshape patterns of intergenerational relationships. Social changes in the society have increased tremendously in the twentieth century. They have added multiple layers and complexity to a world that once seemed stable and balanced. This family structure has evolved during the past few decades due to the growing advancement in industrialization, work opportunities, lifestyle changes etc. (Drewery & Claiborne, 2012). Over the past few decades India has witnessed tremendous changes in laws, norms and attitudes towards females’ role and status in the society. This has let the Indian women venture out and participate in roles other than motherhood and a man’s wife (Dhawan, 2005). This growth and advancement has certainly happened through ideological changes that focus on the acceptance of gender and diversity. Currently, I am residing in an entire different continent to pursue my studies. This is a stark reflection of how society has developed and altered the basic functionality of my family unit. During early 1900s when my grandmother was a young lady, she was not given the right to gain basic education. Instead of education, learning household chores was her pivotal responsibility as a female is meant to take care of the family and the man of the house would be the breadwinner. However, with the new age advancement and openness to equality, I am able to make my own decisions such as pursuing a career of my choice and studying in New Zealand.

The New Zealand idea of social capital isolates family from network. Interestingly, the Maori idea of family moves flawlessly from the close family to the wide family system and clan, when the family turns into the network and the network is comprised of the more distant family. Participation in standard Maori affiliation depends on a trade of commitments and acknowledgment of the gathering. The idea of commitment driven participation incorporates commitments dependent on a typical heritage and the way of life measurement that obliges one to act in specific ways. This feeling of commitment supports a Maori idea of deliberate movement (Homan, 2000). Key ideas of Maori society that identify with social capital incorporate manaaki, which is a social commitment to greet and think about guests and hapai, the necessity to apply the idea of inspiring or improvement, and tantoko, offering help inside the network. Moving to this country and learning about the Maori culture has felt inviting as people are generous and kind to their guests. People here are caring and offer support to the outsiders. This culture has various similarities to the Indian culture that I belong where a large number of families are extended and guests are considered as God.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this paper

The Concept Of Family Life Cycle. (2022, February 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
“The Concept Of Family Life Cycle.” Edubirdie, 24 Feb. 2022,
The Concept Of Family Life Cycle. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2024].
The Concept Of Family Life Cycle [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 24 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from:

Join our 150k of happy users

  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
Place an order

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.