Stages of Family Growth Lifecycle

(courtesy of National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers)

A useful aide-memoir to any church wanting to do something for the family - let us know if you have something to add to this... 

Stage Reward Challenge Spiritual Task Parish/Diocesan Resources Examples
Courtship & Marriage
  • Couple time
  • Romance
  • Freedom
  • Intimacy/belonging
  • Emancipation from family of origin
  • Adjustment to living together: sex, marital chastity, money, lifestyle, friends, work, religion

 

  • Develop couple spirituality - entering the 'covenant' relationship
  • Discuss, detect faith differences
  • Finding or forming 'church'
  • Annual renewal of marriage vows, retreats
  • Marriage enrichment programmes
  • Marriage preparation programmes
  • Young marrieds programme
  • Interfaith marriage ministry
  • Second marriage preparation
  • Natural family planning
Couple Alive

Marriage Care

Association of Interfaith Families

First child in home
  • Generativity
  • Joy in watching child develop
  • Enriched identity as a family
  • Less couple time
  • Less personal freedom
  • New roles
  • Develop new relationship to extended family
  • Expand to family spirituality
  • Develop religious traditions/rituals
  • Re-evaluate church membership
  • Awareness of vocation of parenting
  • Marriage enrichment
  • Baptismal preparation programme
  • Baptismal follow-up and support groups
  • Family prayer materials
  • Media awareness Training
  • Values education (peace & justice)
  • Parish parenting programme/network
  • Christian sexuality materials/media
Couple Alive

Elizabeth Ministry

From Pram to Primary School Parenting Programme

 

Last child enters school
  • Shared responsibility in the home
  • Mother's world expands
  • Joy in watching child develop
  • School and outside activities pull family apart
  • Responsibility of being primary religion and sex educators
  • Adults dealing with mid-life issues, perhaps addictions or family of origin issues
  • Pass on faith to children through traditions/rituals/prayers/stories
  • Plug into larger church community for support
  • Relational spirituality of home (spiritual/corporal works of mercy)
  • Family as 'servant' community
  • Making peace with family of origin
  • Marriage enrichment
  • Ministry to hurting marriages
  • Divorce ministry
  • Single-parent network
  • Parenting classes
  • Family Prayer materials
  • Media Awareness Training
  • Values Education (peace & justice
  • Christian Sexuality Materials/Media
  • Family retreats
  • Education in Family as 'vocation'
  • Ministry for Children with losses
Couple Alive

Marriage Care

Teams of Our Lady

ASDC

Beginning Experience

5-15 Parenting Programme

Parenting & Sex

Rainbows for all Gods Children

Catholic People's Weeks 

Adolescence
  • Joy in watching child develop
  • Beginning of new kind of relationships in family
  • Increasing independence and competence in children
  • Challenge to parental authority (negotiating)
  • "Middle-escence" meets adolescence
  • Less time with extended family
  • Continued mid-life challenge in marriage relationship and with extended family 
  • Letting go of children while maintaining family unity and values
  • Co-operation with larger church for adolescent faith development programmes
  • New forms of family prayer and recreation 
  • Marriage Enrichment
  • Ministry to hurting marriages
  • Parenting teens material
  • Drug, alcohol, sex education support groups
  • Youth ministry
  • Ministry to teens with losses
  • Media awareness training
  • Parish parents support systems  
Couple Alive

Parenting Teenagers programme

Rainbows for all Gods Children 

 Letting go
  •  Friendship with children
  • Entry of caretakers into new arenas (career, volunteer)
  • More time with spouse, friends
  • Renegotiating couple relationship
  • Caring for own parents
  • Extra financial burdens
  • Breaking continuity of family 
  • Letting go, "healing the dream"
  • Redefining spirituality of couple 
  • Bereavement ministry
  • Marriage Enrichments
  • Ministry to struggling marriages
  • Support for people caring for ageing parents
  • Support for dealing with mid-life issues
  • Support for widowed, separated and divorced 
Bereavement support groups

Couple Alive

Marriage Care

ASDC 

 Empty Nest
  • Freedom: finances and time
  • Children settling in
  • Grandchildren
  • Back to "coupleness"  
  • Loneliness
  • Children returning home
  • letting go- pain of loss (evaluating self as parent) 
  • Emphasise personal spirituality
  • Exploring new opportunities
  • Wisdom, acceptance, trust 
  • Marriage Enrichment
  • Support for Struggling marriages
  • Support for Widowed, Separated, Divorced
  • Celebration of Ageing Church members
  •  Retirement Groups
Couple Alive

Marriage Care

ASDC

Beginning Experience

 Ageing
  • Fulfilment in Life
  • Decrease in tasks, free time
  • New relationship with widow/ers, friends
  • Grandchildren
  • Loss of energy, work, identity, health, spouse and friends 
  • Acceptance
  • Preparing for eternity
  • Emphasise personal spirituality
  • Wisdom, acceptance, trust 
  • Bereavement ministry
  • Outreach to housebound elderly
  • Like-to-like social group for elderly
  • Reminiscence opportunities for older church ministries 
Bereavement support groups

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