April 14, 2021

Vanessa Brobbey: The family life cycle theory

You are born today and gone tomorrow…that’s the natural order for the human race but in between are the ups and down, the happy and sad moments and the goodbyes. It is the family life cycle which everyone will embrace. Today my job is to walk you through the cycle but before I start let me ask and everyone is free to answer.

Who in this room thinks that he or she will live forever? Any answer? Well I guess the answer is clear. At some point all of us will die, no one will live for forever but how long you will live is unknown. The bible in Ecclesiastes 3:2 says a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

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But how long should one live, well the same Bible in Psalm 90:10 says

‘The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.’

So naturally man has 70 years to live and an extra time of 10 years making it 80 and then you are called to your maker but I must say some are privileged to live beyond 80. My greater grandmother was recently buried and she was 82.

So what stages must one go through before saying goodbye to the world? Let’s start.

What is a family life cycle?

The emotional and intellectual stages you pass through from childhood to your retirement years as a member of a family are called the family life cycle. In each stage, you face challenges in your family life that allow you to build or gain new skills. Gaining these skills helps you work through the changes that nearly every family goes through.

Not everyone passes through these stages smoothly. Situations such as severe illness, financial constraints, or the death of a loved one can have an effect on how well you pass through the stages.

The stages of the family life cycle are:

  • Independence
  • Coupling or marriage
  • Parenting: babies through adolescents
  • Launching adult children
  • Retirement or senior years

Why is it important to understand the family life cycle?

Whether you are a parent or child, brother or sister, bonded by blood or love, your experiences through the family life cycle will affect who you are and who you become. The more you understand the challenges of each stage of the cycle, the more likely you are to successfully move on.

What can disrupt the normal cycle?

The stress of daily living, coping with a chronic medical condition, or other life crises can disrupt the normal life cycle. Ongoing stress or a crisis can delay the transition to the next phase of life. Or you may move on without the skills that you need to easily adapt and transition to the next phase of life.

Independence Stage

Independence is the most critical stage of the family life cycle. As you enter young adulthood, you begin to separate emotionally from your family. During this stage, you strive to become fully able to support yourself emotionally, physically, socially, and financially. You begin to develop unique qualities and characteristics that define your individual identity.

Coupling Stage

When you join families through a marriage or committed union, you form a new family system. When you marry or form a union, you combine your family system with your spouse’s or partner’s. You may find that some of the ideas or expectations that you held in the past are not realistic at this stage: You have a baby and begin to nurture the child. Adapting children into other relationships is a key emotional process of this stage. You will take on the parenting role and transition from being a member of a couple to being a parent. 

Adult and Matured age:

At this stage your children may have grown into an adolescent or a young adult.

This is a time when your health and energy levels may decline. Some people may be diagnosed with illnesses and so. Symptoms of these diseases can limit normal activities and even long-enjoyed pastimes. Health issues related to midlife may begin to occur and can include:

Retirement or Senior Stage of Life

During the retirement phase of the family life cycle, many changes occur in your life. Welcoming new family members or seeing others leave your family is often a large part of this stage as your children marry or divorce or you become a grandparent. Retirement can be fun, Becoming a grandparent can bring you great joy without the responsibility of raising a child.

But those who are without adequate support systems or not well off financially may have a more difficult time in this phase of life. Your life at this stage be in the hands of God and you could be called anytime. As it is said in the holy book there is a time to be born and a time to die.


The writer, Venessa Brobbey is a Year 5 pupil of North Hilss International

Source: Ghana News

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