Family Life Cycle

Topics: Retirement, Ageing, Gerontology Pages: 4 (1551 words) Published: June 25, 2012
The family is considered to be an important institution of society, it is responsible for different functions such as reproduction, emotional support and economic support.(Haralambos and Holborn, 2004). "The family is a social group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted, of the sexually cohabitating adults." (Murdock, 1949) Additionally Functionalist Sociologists have explained that the family unit is a key institution used to maintain the proper function of society. They highlight that the main charge of the family is to teach the offspring the norms and values that society hold. Talcott Parsons, American sociologist and Functionalist, discussed in his study of the family, that primary socialization is also a major role of the family. Considering these factors it is no surprise that the family functions with a cycle, in other words the family unit experiences different stage throughout the life span. Psychologist Erik Erikson discussed the Psycho-social Stages of Development, he targeted the cycle of life that an individual experiences. (Erikson 1968) He starts at infancy and moves straight to senesce, which describes late adulthood and is categorized as over sixty five years. Erikson suggested that this stage is the elderly years where individuals experience the sunset period. It is considered the time before death. This Psycho-social stage of development describes an individual who is feeble and waiting for death. Erikson explained that these persons become lonely because their family members such as their children and grandchildren, are busy with their everyday lives (work and school) and do not possess the time to be around the retirees. The theory goes further to say that these individuals tend to try and re connect to persons from their past e.g. old friends, past neighbors...

Bibliography: Haralambos, M.and Holborn, M.(2004) Sociology: Themes and Perspectives. Harper Collins Publishers Limited.
Myers David G. (2007). Psychology. Worth Publishers
Mustapha, N. (2009) Sociology for Caribbean Student. Ian Randle Publishers.
Newman, David M. and Grauerholz, L. (2002) Sociology of Families 2nd Edition. Pine Forge Press.
Scott, J et al. (2004) The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Families. Blackwell Publishing.
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