The family development theory has been credited as a reliable theory and is mainly renowned for its well established guidelines that consciously integrate sound concepts from other theoretical tradition theories. In essence, it is an exceptionally distinctive theory. The theory was founded by various theorists throughout a long period of time hence accommodating new perspectives and developments in theoretical tradition theories. The family development theory is a collective work of Reuben Hill, Paul Glick, Evelyn Duvall and Rachel Ann Edwards who engineered a refined developmental approach around the 1940s to early 1950s. The family developmental theory was put into practice since the 1950s to explore the process evident in families over different times and generations.
The family development theory took three different phases in its development and refinement
The first phase focused on the life cycle of a family. Precisely, this phase investigated the birth process, escalation, continuance, decline and demise. The second phase of the development theory pertains to the contemporary theory, which delves into explicating responsibilities and relationships in the family set up. This phase underscored the aspect of the social composition of a family. In particular, there are specific social roles and relationships that are defined by the change in growth and transition of a family from each stage to the next. The third phase of the family development theory solely criticized the limitations and strengths of the family structure. One of the outstanding criticisms is that the family structure is quite biased towards the integral nuclear family, which is just one of the numerous family forms and structures.
The family development theory is such as substantial theory and has distinct terminologies as well as defined assumptions that guide its course or rather approach.This is a significant element of this theory which makes it quite reliable. The three of its trivial terminologies are: family life cycle, family stage and transition. The terminologies are clearly defined as follows:
- Family life cycle – a set of foreseeable patterns or step and systematic tasks which families go through over time, hence it makes it straightforward to study families from inception to end.
- Family Stage – a given period of time in the life of a specific family that has a distinct framework which can be explored using Duvall’s eight stages to comprehend a family stage and the consequent transition.
- Transition- this is the shift from a given family stage to a new one.
The assumptions of the family development theory are:
- The age is not a key concern, but rather the stage in family growth.
- Personal development is substantial, but the development of a group of interrelating individual is most substantial.
- Development cycles are inexorable and significant in comprehending families.
This is mainly because development form one stage to a new one is bound to happen. Families and folks definitely change over time and they progress through a series of analogous developmental stages and encounter transition points and developmental responsibilities. The success or failure of progressing to each stage is dependent on the ability to fulfill the developmental responsibilities associated with each precursor stage. The family set up is quite dynamic and a scrutiny of their success in mastering tasks in different stages is of utmost significance.
The family development theory has such candid model of investigating family development and its chief strengths are: the ability to observe the dynamic environment of a family for an extremely long period of time and its easy applicability in comprehension of stages and tasks associated with each stage as well as the challenges encountered by families.
Personally, the family development theory is practical in investigation the disparate patterns in my family chiefly because the theory offers a broad perspective that allows the appreciation of transitions between the various stages, which are quite significant the distinct stages. In additional, the precise use of convenient vocabulary is apposite and reliable in analyzing the stages through which my family passes through.