Posted: March 18th, 2023
A family life cycle is a study tool that helps the family counselors better plan the interventions and counseling to eliminate intricacies that might become the reasons for their illnesses in the future. This paper aims to explain the elucidating family life cycle stages and the transition from one phase to another so that the biological and behavioral linkages help understand the healthy development of the family.
The knowledge of the family life cycle helps in gaining a deeper understanding of the emotional and intellectual stages of a person who has a family. Different family life cycle stages are independence, getting married, becoming parents, induction of adult children into their own lives, and retirement or aging years (Neighbour, 1985). Family therapists and counselors can use this useful framework so that the normative transitions of the family connections at each age and stage could help give insight to the counselors about the psychological intervention or clinical intermediations to children and adults distinctly and effectively.
The deeper or more distorted the connections, the relative impacts would be framed correspondingly. Also, the irregular variations in the life stages of the family cycle give a pattern to the counselors for studying the periodicity of the family development. The stages that help the family grow healthily and the individual family life cycle stages are interconnected. This association supports the development of each person of the family collectively as well as separately. Though the family life cycle is universal anatomy that could be applied to all families of the world, each family is different and encounters this cycle in its unique manner.
An example of a family where the newly married couple is expecting a child, and the in-laws are excited about their son having their first child could be an interesting stage of the family life cycle. The in-laws would be at stage four or five, where they have launched their son in adulthood, and he has begun his new stage of life, which is his marriage. The son is at his third stage of the family life cycle, becoming parents. However, certain complications are faced by the new wife, who is now expecting for the second time and had faced miscarriage during her first conceiving.
The family counselor who has expertise in marriage and couple counseling gave suggestions of avoiding stress for the newly conceived wife and keeping her fears away from losing her second child again. The family counselor advised the new couple to stay calm and keep the environment at home comfortable for the expecting mother, especially from the in-laws. They do not utter hurtful words about her first miscarriage that might hurt her and produce further distress, which is risky for her health. The family counselor might also recommend the wife to good doctors who might give her healthy medication and advise to keep her in fine fettle.
The role of wellness in the family life cycle is imperative. For example, older adults require more attention and care in their aging years as they are more prone to illnesses like anxiety, depression, hypertension and solitude feelings, etc. Other family life cycle stages such as marital status, becoming parents, having siblings, and inter-generational ties influence the well-being structure of the families as family relationships and their diversity impact their quality of life (Thomas, Liu & Umberson, 2017).
The successful transition in the family life cycle stages would help prevent the family members from the diseases and lead a healthy life until their last stage. As in the example presented above, the wife needs more attention at her current stage of the life cycle than the other members of the same family. If her careful and healthy transition is made, if she delivers a healthy baby after no complications throughout her pregnancy days, then her rest of the stages are expected to be peaceful. However, since she has undergone earlier misery of having her first baby lost, she would be deeply hurt if she again experiences the same traumatic predicament and might undergo depression.
Moreover, it is even studied that ongoing stress might hinder the normal transition to the next stage of the family life cycle. If the expecting wife suffers from any chronic condition like depression in the advent of an unexpected miscarriage, it will disrupt the normal functioning of the whole family. Living with a physically, emotionally, or psychologically upset person puts pressure on the rest of the family members (Golics et al., 2013), which might further interrupt the family life cycle stages of the rest of the family members in the given example.
Becoming a new parent shifts the role of each family member, such as in the given example, the newly married couple would shift from just being husband and wife to being father and mother, respectively. The in-laws would shift from being mere father-in-law and mother-in-law to being grandparents. This transition requires learning skills for compromising and commitment.
The wellness and prevention concepts indicate that the family must successfully cope with the coming challenges and new joys of life. For that, self-examination, education, and counseling can help improve the life cycle and the personal health of each member (Cigna, n.a.). Preventive care explains that marriages often are helpful in the early onset of the diseases and their timely cure since support from the partners and the rest of the family members enhance primary prevention. Healthy family dynamics could be sustained with healthy family connections and support at each stage so that counselors and family physicians could better treat physical and psychological illnesses systematically.
Cigna. (n.a.). Family life cycle. https://www.cigna.com/individuals-families/health-wellness/hw/medical-topics/family-life-cycle-ty6171#:~:text=Family%20life%20cycle%20theory%20suggests,are%20and%20who%20you%20become.
Golics, C.J., Basra, M.K.A., Finlay, A.Y. & Salek, S. (2013). The impact of disease on family members: A critical aspect of medical care. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 106(10), 399-407. https://doi.org/10.1177/0141076812472616
Neighbour, R.H. (1985). The family life-cycle. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Supplement, 78(8), 11-15.
Thomas, P.A., Liu, H. & Umberson, D. (2017). Family relationships and well-being. Innovation in Aging, 1(3). https://doi.org/10.1093/geroni/igx025
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