Family Relations Syllabus

Course Description

This is a survey course of family development across the lifespan, including the study of the family as a system, family interaction, and family roles. The course will emphasize the relationship of the family and its environment. Consideration is given to the cultural diversity and heritage of families.


By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain the importance of families in society.
  2. Understand both ecological and systems theories and be able to apply these theories to specific issues and problems.
  3. Recognize the impacts of social class, race, gender, cultural background, and family structure on family systems.
  4. Examine the development of families, particularly the transitions families experience across the lifespan.
  5. Identify the strengths and stresses of normal family functioning throughout the family life cycle.
  6. Appraise the relative health of families and family members.
  7. Understand the current trends in marriage and family life, and be able to evaluate the impact of those trends on the health and well being of families.
  8. Assume responsibility for obtaining information pertinent to specific personal or professional situations.
  9. Evaluate existing personal knowledge about families.

Required Materials

Lauer, Robert H. & Lauer, Jeanette C. (2018) Marriage & Family: The Quest for Intimacy, 9th Edition. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

The required textbook for this course is a low cost auto access digital textbook. Access the textbook using the Auto Access Dashboard link provided in the course menu.

If you do not want to use the digital textbook (perhaps you already purchased the print version of the textbook), you must opt out or you will be charged for the digital textbook. Learn about Auto Access and learn how to opt out: BYU-I Auto Access. There is an option to opt-out of Auto Access materials on your BOOK LIST.

Compare Prices for your textbooks through the University Store Comparison Site. They will show you all of the options from the University Store plus several online options to help you find the best price.

Due Dates

Due dates for specific activities are indicated on the activity page, modules page, calendar and other places in the course. It is very important that you update your Canvas Profile to be sure the time zone is set to your local time zone. This will ensure that the due dates in the course display for you in your local time zone.

Regularly check the Calendar and the To Do list to see when your assignments are due. Use the calendar to plan for upcoming assignments.

If you are in the Mountain Time Zone, use the following due dates:

  • Assignments are due Saturdays by 11:59 PM.
  • Asynchronous Discussions: your initial post is due Wednesday by 11:59 PM and response posts are due Saturdays by 11:59 PM.
  • Synchronous Discussions are held when scheduled by your group, but summaries are due by Saturdays at 11:59 PM.

If you are NOT in the Mountain Time Zone, these due dates will be adjusted to your time zone if you have updated your Canvas Profile. Once this is done, you may use the Calendar and your To Do list to see the exact due dates and times for your location.

CAUTION: Be aware of daylight savings (DST) and how that could affect the times that assignments are due--as they may change throughout the semester. For instance, if you lived in Sau Paulo Brazil during Winter semester, your time would be 5 hours ahead in January, then 4 hours ahead in February when Brazil DST ends and only 3 hours ahead beginning in March when U.S. Mountain Time DST begins.


Assignments are due the end of each week. Students should complete the Study assignment early each week since some assignments will necessitate students to check their course website every couple of days to keep informed of changes and new discussion postings.

Weekly assignments will consist of such things as discussion groups, discussion summaries, quizzes, short papers, and viewing guides. The most important piece of this class is participation. You MUST check the course website several times weekly in order to keep up with announcements, times, assignments, and changes.

Participation in all class assignments is expected. The nature of the course involves class discussion about important and sensitive information. This makes it impossible for students to "make up" or receive credit for missed discussion groups (internet based) as students will not be able to "converse" with their classmates. Remember, you are responsible for checking the website for announcements, changes, assignments, etc. If you fail to check the website several times weekly, you’ll lose points and get behind.

Discussion Groups (10 points each)

Each week includes mandatory participation in either an asynchronous discussion (in I-Learn), or a synchronous online discussion using Zoom. (Zoom is an application that is something like a group Skype session.) You will be given topics for discussion and will be expected to offer meaningful observations and responses to the discussion prompts (questions).

Students are, of course, expected to be polite and respectful of others in the class, especially when they have views that differ from yours. Although participation is expected, students must be cautious about revealing personal information about themselves or their families that they may later regret sharing. Students must hold in confidence personal information that is shared from other students. This means that all personal information that is revealed from other students must remain private and must not be discussed outside of class.

I-Learn Discussions

In the asynchronous discussions, students will continue to check in and respond to peers’ observations, questions and responses throughout the week.

I-Learn Discussion requirements:

Zoom Discussions

Weeks 03, 06, 09 & 12 provide opportunities to interact synchronously (live) using an application called Zoom. Your instructor will provide instructions for scheduling and connecting with members of your discussion group near the beginning of the course.

Zoom Discussion Requirements:

Reading Quizzes (20 points each)

Students have an obligation to be prepared to contribute to the learning environment. When students have not read the assigned reading before participating in discussion groups, etc., it detracts from learning, especially when discussing the material in small groups. To help motivate you to be prepared for the week, you’ll be asked to complete an online quiz over the readings for that week.

This quiz can be completed anytime during the week, but you are encouraged to complete the quizzes early in the week so that you have this background when participating in the discussion groups and other assignments. Generally, this should be one of the first things you do each week.

Exams (50 points each, 100 points total)

Two exams will be given during the course of the semester, one Midterm exam (in Week 07) and a Final exam (Week 14). Exams will most likely include items that are true and false, multiple-choice, and matching. Exams will cover reading material and everything that is covered in class, including class discussions, video clips, etc. The final exam will not be comprehensive but will just cover the information since the midterm exam.

The exams are timed. You are allowed two attempts for each exam and the highest score will be kept. Exams must be taken when scheduled. If you know you are going to be out of town when an exam is scheduled, please arrange to have Internet access so that you can take the exam during the regularly scheduled time.

Reflection & Goals assignment (50 points total)

During the semester you will be asked to write a reflection about the principles you learned during the week, and set goals for your own family and future. The instructor will be reviewing this assignment; however, this assignment is for you, so record that which will be most helpful to you in the exciting but difficult journey of family life. You are encouraged to share fun stories, inspirational thoughts, connections, and insights you’ve had during the course, commitments or cautions to yourself, hopes, dreams, goals, a family mission statement, key principles, or prophetic counsel on marriage and family life.

This reflection assignment will become meaningful as you seek to be taught about marriage and family life by the Holy Ghost and record your thoughts. If your written reflections appears to be busywork rather than a valuable learning tool, points will be deducted. Write every week. You may be creative in how you organize your writing; however, make sure it is well organized with key principles or concepts easy to identify.

The instructor will grade this assignment near the midterm period and then once again near the conclusion of the course. Grading will be based on the following criteria:

Viewing Guides (60 points total)

Papers (110 points total)

NOTE – In every paper you write, you should cite any reference used, otherwise it is plagiarism and dishonest. If you get any information anywhere other than from your own head, you need to cite where you got the information from, even if it’s from our textbook, or from your roommate’s dad’s second step cousin twice removed. In citing these sources, follow the APA citation style. Here are some resources if you aren’t sure how to properly cite your information:

Marriage Article Review (Week 04, 20 points)

Using the BYUI Online Library, you will browse through research articles from journals related to marriage, dating, or family relationships. You will select one article and summarize it.

Successful Marriage Interview and Paper (Week 06, 20 points)

You will interview one couple (or two different individuals if you can’t get a married couple together) about their transition to marriage. Questions will be provided. You will write up a summary on the couple’s background, their specific challenges with the transition to marriage, and any other helpful information you gained.

Conflict Resolution Exercise and Paper (Week 08, 20 points)

For this assignment, you will choose a real life person (spouse, family member, roommate, employer, employee, ward member, etc.) you currently have some kind of conflict with. Then you will sit down with them and actually walk through the steps of conflict resolution on the PowerPoint. (The PowerPoint has a couple additional steps compared to the steps in the book.) Of course you’ll need to explain some of the information to the person as you go. Then you will write a paper discussing how you​ used the steps of conflict resolution with this person.

Family Work (Week 11, 20 points)

For this assignment, you will read the article "Family Work" and answer questions pertaining to principles related to working for and with our families. Also, discuss the 5 steps the authors suggest that could help families to work together.

Parenting Paper (Week 12, 20 points)

Using the principles of parenting discussed in the Parenting Presentation, you will pick two positive incidents in which your parents exemplified one or more of these parenting principles in their parenting. Then pick one situation where you feel their missed an opportunity to apply these principles. Describe the backgrounds of the situations and what your parents did. Then tie this in to the parenting principles presented, and explain how they exemplified or applied one or more of these principles. Your Paper will need to be around 1-2 double spaced pages.

Top 10 List (Week 14, 10 points)

Create a “Top Ten Things I Want to Remember from FAML 160.” This should include the gems you gleaned from the class. You may want to pull these out of your Reflection & Goals assignment, from the text, or from your notes. It should be substantive—limited to 1-2 pages typed. Include the list and a brief commentary on each point on the list. For example, you might say, “1) Cohabitation leads to higher divorce rates—I want to share with all my friends the research that shows a much higher divorce rate for people who live together before marriage. The rest of the world believes the myth that cohabitation helps you find the right person to marry.”

Grading Policies

Grades will be based on the following:

Percentage Range Letter Grade
100% – 93% A
92% – 90% A-
89% – 87% B+
86% – 83% B
82% – 80% B-
79% – 77% C+
76% – 73% C
72% – 70% C-
69% – 67% D+
66% – 63% D
62% – 60% D-
59% – 00% F

Late Work

Individual late policies will be explained to you by your instructor.



Points Each

Points Possible

11 Reading Quizzes



14 Discussions (includes 4 Zoom summaries)



6 Writing assignments

20 (one 10)


6 Viewing Guides



14 Self-assessments



13 Reflection & Goals entries

25 @ each assessment


2 Surveys



2 Exams



Total Points Possible


Department Policy Regarding Intellectual Property and Course Materials

All of the materials in this course are covered by fair use and copyright law and are proprietary (intellectual property). Students are not permitted to sell, post, trade, share, distribute, or send any information contained in this course (including outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, PowerPoint presentations, lectures, audio and video recordings, or images of the same, etc. (including your own work for this course) to any parties outside of this course (i.e., Course Hero, Quizlet, Google Docs, etc.) by any means (e.g., posting, uploading, attachments, etc.) without the express written permission from the creator of these works and the Department Chair.

Any of these actions violate the Academic Honesty policies of Brigham Young University-Idaho and will be dealt with as such. The materials in this course are also intellectual property and taking any materials from the course and posting them outside of this course in any manner will be construed as theft and distribution of intellectual property. If you engage in any of these actions, or use any of these materials without authorization, the instructor has the right to impose an appropriate academic sanction (e.g., give you a failing grade for the assignment and/or fail you from the course). Additionally, the respective Course Lead, Program Lead, and/or Department Chair also reserve the right to impose appropriate academic sanctions regardless of any imposed by the instructor.