family life cycle

 (noun) The predictable steps and patterns a family experiences over time.

Example: While different depending on location, one traditional cycle in the United States would be:

  • A couple dates
  • Gets married.
  • Has a family with young children.
  • Couple reaches middle age dealing with aging parents and adolescent children.
  • Children start dating.
  • Children get married.
  • Couple enter old age and become grandparents.

Audio Pronunciation: (fam·i·ly life cy·cle)

Download Audio Pronunciation: family life cycle.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Plural: family life cycles
  • The family life cycle changes dramatically when interrupted by death or divorce.
  • Also called family life course. 🔊
  • Family life cycle used in a sentence: The family life cycle is different across societies and cultures.

Related Terms:

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