Independence is the most critical
stage of the
family life cycle. As you enter young adulthood, you
begin to separate emotionally from your family. During this stage, you strive
to become fully able to support yourself emotionally, physically, socially, and
financially. You begin to develop unique qualities and characteristics that
define your individual identity.
Intimacy is a vital skill to
develop during your independent, young adult years. Intimacy is the ability to
develop and maintain close relationships that can endure hard times and other
challenges. In an intimate relationship, you learn about:
By Neil Osterweil
If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then teenagers
must be from a galaxy far, far, away indeed.
At least it can seem that way when parents and adolescents try
to communicate with one another. Sometimes, in the heat of an argument or even
a casual how-was-your-day conversation, that kid slouching in the corner can
seem like a speck floating in the void millions of light years away.
It's not that parents and their adolescent offspring can't
communicate, but that...
on another person who is not in your family.
Shared emotion in a
You also learn who you are outside of your identity within
your family. Your ability to develop an intimate relationship depends on how
successful you were at developing your individual identity earlier in
If you are a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered person (LGBT), this stage may include making your sexual orientation known, or "coming out" to your family and friends.
Exploring interests and career goals is part of developing
independence. To live successfully away from your family, you must develop
financial and emotional independence.
You also begin to be
responsible for your own health in this stage. You become responsible for your
nutritional, physical, and medical needs. Developing healthy habits at this
time—such as good nutrition, regular exercise, and safer sex practices—is
important for lifelong good health and happiness.
You learn new
aspects of independence throughout your lifetime. Even when you have moved on
to another stage of life, such as coupling, you continue to learn independence
within the context of that stage.
During the independence stage,
you hope to:
Learn to see yourself as a separate person in
relation to your original family—parents, siblings, and extended family
Develop intimate peer relationships outside the
Establish yourself in your work or career.
Other important qualities you develop during this phase
Identity, or who you are in the
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
January 03, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this