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Online · School of Behavioral Sciences · Community Care and Counseling

Family Development

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 01/13/2020

Contact Information

See detailed faculty information in Blackboard.

Course Description

An in-depth study of the development and psychological needs and problems of families, examined through the lens of personality types and family structures. Students will gain understanding of established counseling and intervention techniques used with families and children.





An exposure to theories, structures, concepts, and frameworks associated with the family is essential to understanding family development. This exposure demonstrates relevancy to real life and brings order to family life in the twenty-first century. This course provides an intersection of theories, concepts, and principles with practical application to everyday life to equip the student in pastoral care and counseling environments for productive ministry.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify the various facets of healthy family development.
  2. Explain the interrelationships of family members in the development of family systems.
  3. Compare prominent family personality types in various family models.
  4. Utilize pastoral counseling concepts in addressing problems found in typical family developments.
  5. Assess the value and effectiveness of pastoral counseling and intervention techniques in typical family development problems.

Course Resources

Required Resources

Balswick, J. O. (2014). The family: A Christian perspective on the contemporary home, 4th ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. ISBN: 9780801049347.

Carter & McGoldrick. (2016). The expanded family life cycle: Individual, family, and social perspectives, 5th ed. Columbus, OH: Allyn and Bacon. ISBN: 9780205968060.

Garland, D. (2012). Family ministry: A comprehensive guide, 2nd ed. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic. ISBN: 9780830839711.

Kostenberger, A. J. (2010). God, marriage, and family: Rebuilding the biblical foundation, 2nd ed. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. ISBN: 9781433503641.

Yarhouse, M. A. & Sells. (2017). Family therapies: A comprehensive Christian appraisal. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic. ISBN: 9780830828548.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Additional Materials for Learning

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Blackboard recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Word and PowerPoint

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Family Development Scenario Forums (3)

The Family Development Scenario Forums are designed to give the student opportunities to interact with real life examples/scenarios affecting the family and family development. The student will read and interact with articles supplied in the course materials using the Discussion Board Forum tool and address the prescribed questions associated with each scenario.

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 400 words, demonstrate course-related knowledge, and include at least 2 scholarly references. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to a minimum of 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 250 words and include at least 1 scholarly reference in current APA format.

Reading Reports

This assignment will ensure students are completing the required readings for the course. In addition, students will provide a summary of their readings in APA format for each report.

Concept Paper: Perceived versus Informed Concepts of Family Development

This assignment will help the student to conceptualize and identify elements comprising an informed understanding of family development. The assignment concludes with a contrast of the student’s perceived concept of family development to his/her informed understanding of family development based upon the readings of Modules/Weeks 1 through 3. The paper must be 5–7 pages.

Personal Theory of Family Development

This assignment provides the student with an opportunity to research, formulate, and express his/her understanding of family development. In a well-written 12–15-page paper, the student will present his/her personal theory of family development for use in a marriage and family counseling environment and utilize the resources of the course texts, course materials, and other supporting sources. This assignment will be submitted in 2 parts: Concept Paragraph/Outline, and Final Submission. The paper must include 8–10 sources.

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Family Development Scenario Forums (3 at 150 pts ea)


Reading Reports (4 at 40 pts each) (4 at 50 pts ea)


Concept Paper: Perceived versus Informed Concepts of Family Development


Personal Theory of Family Development


     Concept and Outline


     Final Submission




Course Policies

Professional Communication

Please be professional in your email communication. We live in a fast-paced world with text messaging which encourages short and abbreviated communication. However, since you are in a counseling program, you are encouraged and expected to use full sentences and good grammar when communicating with other students and faculty. It is also an expectation that your electronic communication is pleasing to God. Being courteous and polite to peers and professors demonstrates dignity and respect, "And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them" (Luke 6:31, ESV).

Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct is strictly prohibited. See The Graduate Catalog for specific definitions, penalties, and processes concerning Honor Code and FN Policies for reporting.

Student Conduct Policy

The student is expected to conduct himself/herself in a godly and civil manner when addressing the instructor or other students. While good healthy discussion will be expected and encouraged, at no time will personal attacks be tolerated.

Dual Relationships

The faculty is responsible to interact with counseling students in a supervisory capacity/role. As such, faculty may provide students professional principles, guidance, and recommendations as it relates to the context of the student-client setting. The faculty is responsible to avoid dual relationships with students such as entering a student-counselor or student-pastor relationship. Thus, the faculty does not provide personal counseling addressing student personal problems. If a faculty member perceives that a student is in need of personal or professional counseling then that faculty member will recommend that the student pursue either pastoral or professional assistance from a counselor in their community.

Limits of Confidentiality

In the event of a student’s disclosure, either verbally, or in writing, of either threat of serious or foreseeable harm to self or others, abuse or neglect of a minor, elderly or disabled person, or current involvement in criminal activity, the faculty, staff, administrator or supervisor, will take immediate action. This action may include, but is not limited to, immediate notification of appropriate state law enforcement or social services personnel, emergency contacts, and notification of the appropriate program chair or distance learning dean. The incident and action taken will become part of the student’s permanent record.


Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at

Grading Scale

A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.


EDCO 815

Textbooks: Balswick, The Family: A Christian Perspective on the Contemporary Home (2014).

Carter & McGoldrick, The Expanded Family Life Cycle (2016).

Garland, Family Ministry: A Comprehensive Guide (2012).

Kostenberger, God, Marriage, and Family (2010).

Yarhouse & Sells, Family Therapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal (2017).


Reading & Study




Carter & McGoldrick:

chs. 1–3

Garland: chs. 2, 7

Yarhouse & Sells: chs. 1–2

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions


Reading Report 1






Balswick: chs. 2, 8, 19

Carter & McGoldrick: ch. 8

Garland: ch. 4

Kostenberger: ch. 6

Yarhouse & Sells: chs. 3–4

FDS Forum 1



Balswick: ch. 13

Carter & McGoldrick:

chs. 6–7

Kostenberger: ch. 10

Yarhouse & Sells: chs. 5–6

Concept Paper: Perceived versus Informed Concepts of Family Development


Reading Report 2





Balswick: chs. 6, 14, 16

Carter & McGoldrick:

chs. 9, 14–15

Garland: ch. 6

Kostenberger: ch. 7

Yarhouse & Sells: chs. 7–8

FDS Forum 2 



Balswick: ch. 9

Carter & McGoldrick:

chs. 10, 13, 16

Kostenberger: chs. 8–9

Yarhouse & Sells: chs. 9–10

Personal Theory of Family Development: Concept Paragraph and Outline


Reading Report 3





Balswick: chs. 17–18

Carter & McGoldrick:

chs. 20–22

Kotsenberger: ch. 11

Yarhouse & Sells: chs. 11–12

FDS Forum 3



Yarhouse & Sells:

Review chs. 1–12

 Personal Theory of Family Development: Final Submission

Reading Report 4




Balswick: ch. 10

Carter & McGoldrick:

chs. 17–19






DB = Discussion Board

FDS = Family Development Scenario

NOTE: Each course module/week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.