A family life cycle refers to a sequence of stages or milestones through which a family often journeys as life progresses. Typically, a family life cycle involves (a) starting a family, (b) giving birth to or adopting children, (c) rearing or bringing up the children (a stage which may be further subdivided into (i) raising young children, (ii) raising adolescent children, (iii) raising young adults) (d) launching or sending the children into the world to be independent members of society, (e) an empty nest. This last stage is often filled with the presence of interaction with a family of a younger generation.
Of course, some families don’t always adhere to this construct, as it is a theoretical construct designed to describe the different dynamics that may exist in a family.
Essentially, the construct seeks to explore a description of how a family is formed, maintained, transformed, and how it ultimately ends.