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Family Life Cycle Theory Essay

State the three developmental tasks outlined in the family life cycle theory. Discuss 2 factors examined in this unit that affect the completion of each developmental task. Include examples. (300 – 400 words) The family life cycle describes early adulthood as a stage in which individuals are launched from their families of origin. Parents and children must separate from one another so that young adults can accept emotional responsibility for themselves. The three developmental tasks must be mastered to allow the family life cycle theory to occur. The first developmental task outlines that young adults must form an identity separate from that of the family or origin. This process is known as individualization. The second developmental task declares that young adults must develop new intimate relationships with peers outside of the family to provide the social and emotional support they need.

The third developmental task indicates that young adults must make their first tentative commitment to a career or workplace role. These developmental tasks enable young adults to be self-sufficient adults. The parents and child relationship must change in order to be less hierarchical so that a young adult can accept responsibilities for making decisions. Parents must be tolerant of difference of opinions as young adults make occupational choices. They must all accept that their child is forming new intimate relationships. There are several factors in this unit that affect the completion of each developmental task.

In the first task, development involves change in response to crisis so the family can move on to a different, not necessarily better stage. In the movie Step Brothers, both Dale and Brennan (the step-brothers), realize they caused the separation of their parents. They are forced to put matters into their own hands and move out. This proves to be a critical moment in both their lives. Dale and Brennan need to sort out emotionally what they will take along from the family or origin, what they will leave behind, and what they will create for themselves.

In the second tasks, an important factor is that development involves seeking new relationships with people who will soon become a permanent fixture in your life. For example, referring to same movie, once Dale and Brennan had left the home, they both seek to develop new relationships. Dale discovers an intimate relationship with Brennan’s brother’s wife. Brennan tries forming an intimate relationship with his counselor as well as a better relationship with his new acquired brother.


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