HDFS 334 - Family and Parenthood Across the Life Cycle

  • 3 credits

This course presents practical, theoretical, and empirical information on the dynamics of family and parenthood across the life cycle. Emphasis is placed on understanding how families and parents in diverse ecological and social contexts experience their roles and relationships as well as differences in role socialization and patterns of individual and family adjustment to transition and development. The course provides a basis for professionals working with parents and families across varying settings to understand the factors that contribute to risk and those that offer unique opportunities to support and enhance family systems and parents.

Course Learning Objectives

• Analyze and apply bioecological theory to family functioning and the relationship between parents and children.
• Analyze the historical and theoretical foundations of research in the areas of family and parenting.
• Evaluate changes in parenting styles and strategies across developmental stages from pregnancy to adulthood and the changing family life cycle.
• Apply developmental theory to parenthood as a process and as a function of variations in risk status, family systems, and ecological contexts.
• Analyze and apply theories of family and parenthood within a social and family cycle context.
• Examine the phenomenology and practical aspects of being part of a family and parenthood, from communication to discipline and risks and benefits of various family systems.
• Illustrate the ways in which professionals interact with families and parents across all contexts and how professionals provide resources based on needs of parents and with unique needs or contexts such as adolescent parents, stepparents, single parents, and same-sex parents.
• Apply knowledge about families and parenthood in a variety of ways to demonstrate analysis of the development of families and parents across the life cycle.
• Demonstrate effective writing and communication skills relevant to the course content.

This course has online exams that require proctoring through Proctortrack, an online proctoring service. Proctortrack allows you to take the exam from your home but requires that your computer has a webcam and a microphone, and that you have a mirror to use for a room scan. For full system specifications, please visit: http://www.proctortrack.com/technical-requirements/. The cost of Proctortrack is included in the cost of the course. However, students are responsible for purchasing any hardware (e.g., microphone, webcam, 6” mirror) that may be needed for exams taken with Proctortrack.

This course requires the use of electronic proctoring through ProctorU, please see http://www.online.colostate.edu/current-students/proctoring.dot for detailed instructions.  For students requiring accommodations, please contact Resources for Disabled Students (RDS); for consideration of exceptions outside the scope of RDS, please contact the University Testing Center.

This course can be applied towards:


HDFS 101 (Individual and Family Development) or PSY 100 (General Psychology).

Important Information

All prerequisites must be completed or consent from the instructor given prior to enrollment.

If you register for this course after the start of the term, please contact the instructor at the time of registration. By contacting the instructor, you ensure you are added to the CANVAS section as soon as possible and have access to the course and details about the class requirements.

Textbook and Materials

Textbooks and materials can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore unless otherwise indicated.


  • Custom Textbook with Four Selected Chapters from "Marriages and Families" (2014)
    Seccombe, K.T.
  • Parent-Child Relations: Context, Research, and Application, 3rd Ed. (2013)
    Heath, Phyllis
  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Ed. (2010)
    Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


Dr. Julie Taylor
Dr. Julie Taylor