Change from reliance on family to acceptance of
emotional and financial responsibility for ourselves
 Begin to separate emtionally from our family
 Begin to develop unique qualities and
characteristics that define individual identity
 Develop intimate peer relationships
 Explore interests and career goals
 Begin to be responsible for your own health
You explore your ability to commit to a new family
and a new way of life
 You form a new family system. – your ideas about
family combine with your partners ideas about family
 The goal is to achieve interdependence
 The relationship skills you learn in coupling serve as
a foundation for other relationships such as parentchild, teacher-student or physician-patient.
Introducing a child into your family results in a major
change in roles for you and your partner. Each parent
has 3 distinct and demanding roles: as an individual, a
partner, and a parent.
 Relationships with extended families may also
change, as it opens to include grandparents etc.
This can be a difficult time in families. Families need
to increase flexibility of family boundaries with teens,
yet take care of potential grandparent frailties.
 Focus on midlife marital and career issues.
 This is a time when one or more family members
may feel some level of depression or other distress.
 You must make your own health a priority so you
can care for both your children and your parents
This can be one of the most emotionally difficult stages for
parents, as they monitor the exit of their children from the
family; this is sometimes called empty nest syndrome.
 Begins when the first child leaves the nest.
 There can be the development of adult-to-adult relationships
between parents and children
 Families usually deal with the death of grandparents during
this stage
 Free from the everyday demands of parenting, you may
choose to rekindle your own marriage and possibly career
Health issues related to midlife may begin to occur
and can include:
 High blood pressure
 Weight problems
 Arthritis
 Menopause
 Osteoporosis
 Heart disease
 Depression
We reach this stage and either review our lives with
acceptance and a sense of accomplishment or with
bitterness and regret.
 We support our children as they launch their own
 We may have to deal with the death of spouses,
siblings, and other peers
 We start to prepare for our own death as well.
This stage can also be a great adventure where you are free
from the responsibilities of raising your children and can simply
enjoy life
 The quality of your life at this stage depends on how well you
adjusted to the changes in the earlier stages. It often also
depends on how well you have cared for your own health up to
this point. Normal aging will affect your body, resulting in loss
of bone density, wrinkles, aches, and pains. The chances of
having a mental, or chronic physical illness does increase with
age however, aging does not mean you will automatically
experience poor health.
Becoming a grandparent can bring you great joy
without the responsibility of raising a child.
 You may now have a lot of time on your hands to do
things you would like to do such as travel, take up
new hobbies or spend time with family.

Stages of the Family Life Cycle