Family life cycle defines the emotional and intellectual phases that an individual goes through from childhood to the retirement stage. Each stage has its own challenges. These challenges are important since it equip one with new skills and knowledge. Various experiences such as severe sickness, financial difficulties or demise of loved are linked to the life cycle (Metz & McCarthy, 2010).These experiences normally have huge impact to one’s life whole going through these stages. The five stages often gone through by almost everybody include:
Independence Stage- this is a very essential stage as one enters into young adulthood. At this stage one begins to separate from his or her family emotionally bit by bit. One struggles to be independent both emotionally, physically, socially and financially. One of the sexuality transitions at this stage is intimacy. This is a very important skill to develop at this stage. This defines the ability create and maintain a good relationship that can withstand hard times and other difficulties. The next sexual transition at this stage is sexual orientation. This involves clearly defining yourself clearly such people in the society clearly know your stand as either a lesbian, gay, bisexual or a transgendered individual. Positive sexuality linked to this stage includes such traits as commitment, commonality, compatibility, shared emotions among others.
Coupling/Marriage Stage- this stage involves the application of qualities learnt from the first stage such as trust. One of the sexuality transitions at this stage is that one finds out his or her abilities to remain committed to the new family and life (Shadbolt, 2009). The new family system is defined by the individual ideas, hope and values. The next sexuality transition is the restructuring personal goals and those of the partner to come up with a mutual conclusion that was not expected. Some of the changes that take place may include finances, lifestyle, link to the in-laws, and friendship among others. Positive sexual functioning from theory and research at this stage is that one is able to develop a marital system and lastly shift of association with extended families and peers to involve the spouse. Within the relationship one learns more about interpersonal communication, best way to solve problems, boundary formation in a relationship among others.
Parenting- this involves making a decision to have a baby. This phase is the most challenging stage of a family life cycle. A decision to have a child has a huge impact to the personal development, the identity of the family and lastly your association. Common sexuality transition linked to this stage involves alteration of marital system to include children. Next is coming together as one in raising the children, financially and also in all household tasks. Positive sexual functioning at this stage includes the capability to communicate properly (Metz & McCarthy, 2010).The next one is the ability to maintain a good relationship and solve challenges in an effective manner.
Empty Nest- this involve launching adult children. It begins when the children first leave home and be able to deal with life challenges. Creating adult association with the children is an essential element at this stage. Common sexuality transitions at this stage include managing illness such as high blood pressure, depression, and stress among others (Shadbolt, 2009). The next one is creation of an adult to adult association with your children. Positive sexual functioning at this stage will involve raising flexibility of family boundaries to involve children independence. Next is acknowledging a multitude of exits from and entries into the family system.
Retirement-at this stage one is free from caring responsibilities. Common sexuality transition at this stage involve welcoming new members into your family or even saying good bye as others exit your family. The next one is witnessing divorce or turning into a grandparent. Positive sexual functioning involves withstanding loss of peers, spouse, siblings and also getting ready for your death. Next is supporting and offering advices to the upcoming generation.
Acting as a counselor, the above information is essential while dealing with clients. Understanding the family life cycle will help me inform my clients why it is important to acknowledge family life cycle; what can hinder a normal cycle; and lastly ways that they can use to improve their family life cycle (Metz & McCarthy, 2010).