Devel/Family Cycle Theory Successful Completion Of Developmental Essay

Length: 2 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Children Type: Essay Paper: #6630771 Related Topics: Transition Theory, Developmental, Life Cycle, Nuclear Family
Excerpt from Essay :

Devel/Family Cycle Theory

Successful completion of developmental tasks enables a person to make a smooth transition to adulthood. According to family life cycle theory (FLC), a paradigm rooted in the ideas of Duvall and Hill, there are eight stages of development with normative age role expectations for the nuclear family (Hill, 1970; Hill & Rogers, 1964; Rice, 1994; all cited in Erickson, 1998). More recent work on FLC by McGoldrick and Carter offer a new set of stages that they believe describe the fundamental American middle-class family at the beginning of the 21st century (VanKatwyk). According to McGoldrick and Carter, the family life cycle refers to "the expansion, contraction, and realighnemt of the relationship system to support the entry, exit, and development of family members in a functional way" (2003, p. 384, cited in Erickson). Their six stage classification lists the following:

Leaving home: single young adults

The joining of families through marriage: the new couple

3. Families with young children

4. Families with adolescents

5. Launching children and moving on

6. Families later in life


When someone passes through these developmental stages satisfactorily, s/he can leave home with sufficient social and emotional skills to live somewhat independently of the family and eventually create a new family, to perpetuate the cycle. Failure to successfully complete developmental tasks does not mean an individual will not be able to move on to the next stage, but s/he is more likely to experience difficulty with future relationships and transitions.

One of the best ways to understand the developmental tasks a person must complete is to examine an individual case study. For the purpose of this paper, a case study is created for a girl called "Beth." As an infant, Beth was wholly dependent on her parents for every need and desire. As she matured, her physical and cognitive abilities increased and she was able to do more for herself independently. At age two, she could feed herself and started to show preferences for the clothing her parents asked her to put on in the morning. By age four, she could dress herself and prepare a bowl of cereal on Saturday mornings while her parents slept late. As a child, she still depended on her parents for many things, but that was changing. She still, however, regarded her parents as the ultimate authorities on practically everything and continued to rely on them for many emotional and…

Sources Used in Documents:


Erickson, M.J. (1998). Revisioning the family life cycle theory and paradigm in marriage and Family. American Journal of Family Therapy 26(4), pp. 341-355.

Jordyn, M., & Byrd, M. (2003). The relationship between the living arrangements of university students and their identity development. Adolescence 38(150), pp. 267-278.

VanKatwyk, P.L. (n.d.). Family life cycle theory. Theories of Human Development. Retrieved from

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