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How do you see your cultural background affecting your concept of life cycle?

Discussion 1:

How do you see your cultural background affecting your concept of life cycle? In other words, does your culture have some particular expectations for people at each stage of the life cycle? Please name and discuss two or three.

Note: I am Black/African American; stages to discuss is leaving home and coping with adolescence

Please use APA format and cite scholarly references; at least 250 words

Assignment will submitted for plagiarism


2-2a Family Life Cycle Stages

LO 3Recognize how individual family diversity may modify that family’s life cycle

Relationships between parents, siblings, and extended family members all undergo transitions as the family proceeds through the life cycle. Table 2.1 proposes a series of discrete stages, starting with single young adults leaving home, marrying, having children, launching those children into the world, and living together in later life. While the stages outlined obviously do not fit every family, especially considering our diverse society, the table draws attention to the multigenerational nature of family life as the family continues to change and evolve.

Table 2.1

Stages of the Family Life Cycle

Family Life Cycle Stage Emotional Process of Transition: Key Principles Second-Order Changes in Family Status Required to Proceed Developmentally
Leaving home: Emerging young adults Accepting emotional and financial responsibility for self 1. Differentiation of self in relation to family of origin

2. Development of intimate peer relationships

3. Establishment of self in respect to work and financial independence

4. Establishment of self in community and larger society

5. Spirituality

Joining of families through marriage/union Commitment to new system 1. Formation of partner systems

2. Realignment of relationships with extended family, friends, and larger community and social system to include new partners

Families with young children Accepting new members into the system 1. Adjustment of couple system to make space for children

2. Collaboration in child-rearing, financial, and household tasks

3. Realignment of relationships with extended family to include parenting and grandparenting roles

4. Realignment of relationships with community and larger social system to include new family structure and relationships

Families with adolescents Increasing flexibility of family boundaries to permit children’s independence and grandparents’ frailties 1. Shift of parent–child relationships to permit adolescent to move into and out of system

2. Refocus on midlife couple and career issues

3. Begin shift toward caring for older generation

4. Realignment with community and larger social system to include shifting family of emerging adolescent and parents in new formation pattern of relating

Launching children and moving on at midlife Accepting a multitude of exits from and entries into the family system 1. Renegotiation of couple system as a dyad

2. Development of adult-to-adult relationships between parents and grown children

3. Realignment of relationships to include in-laws and grandchildren

4. Realignment of relationships with community and larger social system to include new structure and constellation of family relationships

5. Exploration of new interests/career given the freedom from child-care responsibilities

6. Dealing with care needs, disabilities, and death of parents (grandparents)

Families in late middle age Accepting the shifting generational roles 1. Maintaining of own and/or couple functioning and interests in face of physiological decline: exploration of new familial and social role options

2. Support for more central role of middle generation

3. Realignment of the system in relation to community and larger social system to acknowledge changed pattern of family relationships at this stage

4. Making room in the system for the wisdom and experience of the elders

5. Supporting older generation without overfunctioning for them

Families nearing the end of life Accepting the realities of limitations and death and the completion of one cycle of life 1. Dealing with loss of spouse, siblings, and other peers

2. Making preparations for death and legacy

3. Managing reversed roles in caretaking between middle and older generations

4. Realignment of relationships with larger community and social system to acknowledge changing life cycle relationships

Source: McGoldrick, Carter, and Garcia-Preto, 2011, pp. 16–17.

Chapter 2: Family Development: Continuity and Change: 2-2a Family Life Cycle Stages Book Title: Family Therapy: An Overview Printed By: Ellen Williams-Gonzales (ellengonzales10@yahoo.com) © 2017 Cengage Learning, Cengage Learning

© 2021 Cengage Learning Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this work may by reproduced or used in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic, or mechanical, or in any other manner – without the written permission of the copyright holder.


Coping with Adolescence

When children reach adolescence, the family faces new organizational challenges, particularly around autonomy and independence. Parents may no longer be able to maintain complete authority, but they cannot abdicate authority altogether. Here the family is not dealing with entrances and exits into the system but rather with a basic restructuring of interactive processes to allow the teenager more independence (Harway & Wexler, 1996). The task becomes even more complex in immigrant families, as the adolescent’s normal striving for self-directed behavior is accelerated through assimilation into mainstream American society, while the parents may continue to adhere to their traditional cultural values of parental authority and control (Schwartz et al., 2013). In low-income African-American, Latino, or Asian families, adolescents are often expected to fulfill adult caretaking duties for younger siblings or to contribute financially to the home yet to remain obedient and respectful of parents (Preto, 2010). In such cases, becoming independent may not have the same meaning that it does for Anglo American middle-class groups.

Rule changing, limit setting, and role renegotiations are all necessary as adolescents seek greater self-determination, depending less on parents and moving toward their peer culture for guidance and support. Adolescents must strike a balance on their own, forging an identity and beginning to establish autonomy from the family. Teenagers who remain too childlike and dependent or who become too isolated and withdrawn from the family put a strain on the family system. Too rapid an exit from family life by adolescents may also impair a family’s ability to adapt. Parents, too, need to come to terms with their teenager’s rapidly changing social and sexual behavior. Depending on the spacing of children, parents may find themselves dealing with issues relevant to differing ages and life-cycle stages at the same time. Rebellion is not uncommon—in political or religious views, dress, drugs, music, curfew violations, gang behavior, ear piercing, tattoos—as adolescents attempt to gain distance from parental rules.

An important development during adolescence that often has an impact on the family is the onset and maturation of the teen’s sexuality. Questions of if and when a teenager experiences sex can come up with particular intensity, especially when parents and teenage child disagree. Statistically, the average age for a person’s first experience of sexual intercourse for both young men and women is about 17 years old (Martinez, 2013). Research with African-American early adolescents suggests that early sexual activity increases a sense of self-esteem and strengthens self-concepts in both girls and boys of age 10 to 12, but these developments can lead to an increase of risky behavior (Houlihan et al., 2008).

All of this is likely to occur while simultaneous strains on the system may be taking place:

· (a)

“midlife crises” in which one or both middle-aged parents question not only career choices but also perhaps their earlier marital choices (for some women, this may represent the first opportunity to pursue a career without child-care responsibilities, leading to family dislocations and role changes); and

· (b)

the need to care for impaired grandparents, necessitating role reversals between parents and now-dependent grandparents, perhaps calling for changing caretaking arrangements regarding the older generation.

Leaving Home

Gerson (1995) refers to the next period as one of contraction; McGoldrick and Shibusawa (2012) describe this phase of the intact family’s life cycle as “launching children and moving on” (p. 391). Unlike in earlier times, today the low birth rate coupled with longer life expectancy means that this stage now covers a lengthy period; parents frequently launch their families almost 20 years before retirement. They must come to accept their children’s independent role and eventual creation of their own families. This stage, beginning with the exit by grown children from the family home, proceeds with the later reentry of their spouses and children into the family system.

Creating adult-to-adult relationships with their children is an important developmental task for parents at this stage, as is the expansion of the family to include the spouses, children, and in-laws of their married children. Once again, assimilated young adults from immigrant families may find their desire for freedom and autonomy in conflict with their parents, such as in Latino families, in which children are expected to remain in the parental home until they are married or well into their 20s (Santisteban, Coatsworth, Briones, Kurtines, & Szapocznik, 2012).

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