Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Family Life Cycle - Independence Stage

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:

Recommended Related to Children

Talking with Your Teen -- David Elkind, PhD

By David Elkind What's the matter? Nothing. Where are you going? Out. Do you want to talk? No. Does this sound like typical communication between you and your teen? If so, explore these tips for starting an open and frank discussion about drugs, sex, self-esteem, and other vital issues. David Elkind, PhD, was our guest. The opinions expressed herein are the guest's alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult...

Read the Talking with Your Teen -- David Elkind, PhD article > >

  • Commitment.
  • Commonality or similarity.
  • Compatibility.
  • Attachment.
  • Dependence on another person who is not in your family.
  • Shared emotion in a relationship.

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 life.

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 members.
  • Develop intimate peer relationships outside the family.
  • Establish yourself in your work or career.

Other important qualities you develop during this phase include:

  • Trust.
  • Morals.
  • Initiative.
  • Work ethic.
  • Identity, or who you are in the world.
1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: 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 information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

preschool age girl sitting at desk
Article
look at my hand
Slideshow
 
woman with cleaning products
Slideshow
young boy with fever
Article
 

worried kid
fitArticle
boy on father's shoulder
Article
 
Child with red rash on cheeks
Slideshow
girl thinking
Article
 

babyapp
New
Child with adhd
Slideshow
 
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Build a Fitter Family Challenge – Get your crew motivated to move.
Feed Your Family Better Challenge - Tips and tricks to healthy up your diet.
Sleep Better Challenge - Snooze clues for the whole family.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply

WebMD Special Sections