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

Children and Sweetened Drinks: What's a Parent to Do?

The kids are home: Their first stop -- grab a sweetened drink from the fridge. It's one of several bad habits that have built a nation of overweight kids. When it comes to their health, children and sweetened beverages are simply a bad match. Liquid candy -- that's what public health officials call these drinks. Most boys get 15 teaspoons of refined sugar daily, and most girls about 10 teaspoons -- all from sweetened beverages. That's the most sugar kids should be getting from all foods in...

Read the Children and Sweetened Drinks: What's a Parent to Do? 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

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
 
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.
 

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