Like the human
being, the family also has development stages. The family system can protect
its integrity by performing relevant changes to developmentary phases. The
functional families make every family member to show their individual development
stages and compose their own life-cycle.
Ericsson’s psychosocial theory
describes individual development phases of a human. The theory explains the
problems and the occasions that a person must encounter in certain stages of
his lifespan, and the role of the society in development of these phases.
Ericsson described eight stages of human life. First stage is the oral stage.
The social pattern of this stage is explained as; to get, obtain or to give.
Basic virtues of oral stage are hope and impulse while social-mental depression
comes through basic trust and mistrust. In second stage which is known as the
anal stage, social pattern is to hold and release, and social-mental depression
is shame and doubt. Autonomy is basic virtue. In the phallic stage, social
pattern is ability, mental-social depression is initiative and guilt, basic
virtue is direction and purpose. The latency stage shows school stage.
Mental-social depression is industry and inferiority, basic virtue is methods
and qualification. Adolescent carries depression by identity confusion and the
virtue by dedication and faith. The young adulthood stage becomes remarkable as
basic virtue of this stage is affiliation and love, on the other side,
mental-social depression is dilemma of intimacy and isolation. While generativist-stagnation
composes the depression in adulthood stage, basic virtue is production and
care. In the late adulthood stage which is considered as last stage of human
life by Erikson, while mental-social depression appears in forms of integrity
and despair, basic virtue of the stage is withdrawal and wisdom.
The family, like human, experiences distinct developmentary stages as a
system. There are numerous theories about developmentary stages of the family.
Every theory explains life-cycle of the family by putting emphasize on
different characteristics of the family. Nine stages can be counted of which
were decided by their common transition stages.
The occasions in life cycle can make a set of changes during composing
the domestic relations and roles. It is possible that a problem can occur in
transition from a stage to another. If the occasions emerge before the family
get prepared that can cause problems. When the families sometimes encounter
unexpected occasions during ordinary development, they may have to take
precautions to change the structure of the system or to maintain without
changing anything. A pass away of family members, divorce and similar occasions
before developmentary stage will affect the relations and distribution of the
roles. The families behaving properly against to these changes will succeed in
protecting their integrity.
The child who turns into an adult and qualifications to find a job
leaves the home and will take the role in social production. She/he has goals
like separation with family, reaching goals in the job, creating a new
environment. To be successful in this stage, young individual must have
sufficient outfits, must have succeed in separation and individuation process.
In this stage as much as his capability, social circumstances and attitudes of
the family are also crucial.
Couple: A process comes out in the stage of being couple namely marriage,
which means also alliance of two family systems. Formation of a new system
begins by two persons’ marriage. However, the individuals who will establish
the new system are a part of their family systems as well. If they have not
separated emotionally their own family systems before marriage, they are not
ready for responsibility to establish a new family, to create a new
system. Thence, the first step for
individuals to establish a new family is being ready for taking responsibility
by completing emotional separation with their family systems. Thereby, first
sub-system of new system, the family in other words is created. This means
being husband and wife.
Parent: Third stage of development of family is the stage of being parents.
However, if transition to this stage happens before early stages not completed
nor digested well, problems may occur. Because, being parent expands heaviness
of the system. They have to have the capacity to create and maintain
communication with children.
A Pre-School Age Child: Efforts to keep the balance between work
and child at the same time maintaining as a partner can cause decrease in
energy and exhaustion. Occasions like no-cooperation on bringing up the child
between mother and father, interventions of previous family systems they left
and more than one child cause problems about keeping the balance and relation between them.
Having A School Age
Child: For the
child starting to go to school means to start to socialize. This case brings
about increasing input to the family system from outer environment. The family
structure that does not allow it to happen will experience problems other than
blocking the development of the child.
Having An Adolescent: The stage of being
parent will transit to a new
development stage in their child’s adolescent. Because adolescent try to get
out of the system. This is a new stage for the family. The family must have
completed the role of cultivating the identity sense of their child. And the
family is to begin the process preparing necessary environment for the child to
separate the family. When the adolescent
is questioning himself/herself and his/her parents, also parents may question
their marriage and careers.
Settling into the
Pre-adulthood of the adolescent means also separation the family. Inputs and
outputs inside the family have been increased. The family should to adopt this
change and to encourage separations and joining. The systems that created by
adolescents draw their own borders. Both accepting these borders and keeping
the affiliation can be difficult. Furthermore, partners should learn to stay alone
with each other, to face the goals about their jobs. On the other hand, they
try to change the relations with the child into an adult relation. The power
that holding the family system alive is adherence. Individual oneself and his
family form the root of this adherence. Problems arise if any contradiction
appears between individual’s expectations and the rules and expectations of the
family. The role of the family is to prepare the child to leave present system
and create a new system of his own. However there are only a few parents able
to do this.
Being Parent at Middle
Age: With adoption
to the new roles like being grandmother, grandfather, they may have to take
care of their parents. They may live in comfort
in aspect of work and economical situation but they must adjust the role of
being a partner and stay alone by omitting the other roles even the role of
Retirement: Being ready for retirement, to
create post-retirement plans and harmonious partner relations will keep the
family system without any problem. However,
age related alteration of the roles, unaccepting the losses will cause
Prof. Dr. Bengi Semerci