Definition of Family Life Cycle
(noun) The predictable steps and patterns a family experiences over time.
Example of Family Life Cycle
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.
Family Life Cycle Pronunciation
Syllabification: fam·i·ly life cy·cle
- American English – /fAm-lee lIEf sIE-kuhl/
- British English – /fAm-uh-lee lIEf sIE-kuhl/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˈfæməli laɪf ˈsaɪkəl/
- British English – /ˈfæmɪli laɪf ˈsaɪkl/
- Plural: family life cycles
- The family life cycle changes dramatically when interrupted by death or divorce.
- Also called family life course.
- “We are living, I believe, through a transitional and contested period of family history, a period after the modern family order, but before what we cannot foretell. Precisely because it is not possible to characterize with a single term the competing sets of family cultures that co-exist at present, I identify this family regime as post-modern. The post-modern family is not a new model of family life, not the next stage in an orderly progression of family history, but the stage when the belief in a logical progression of stages breaks down. Rupturing evolutionary models of family history and incorporating both experimental and nostalgic elements, ‘the’ post-modern family lurches forward and backward into an uncertain future” (Stacey 1990:18).
- Family and Kinship Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “family” and “life” and “cycle” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- extended family
- family of orientation
- family of procreation
- fictive kin
- nuclear family
Stacey, Judith. 1990. Brave New Families: Stories of Domestic Upheaval in Late Twentieth Century America. New York: Basic Books.
Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.
Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “family life cycle.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved December 11, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/family-life-cycle/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
family life cycle. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/family-life-cycle/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “family life cycle.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed December 11, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/family-life-cycle/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“family life cycle.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 11 Dec. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/family-life-cycle/>.