IELTS Essay Topic #17 Family

Family size

  • Families in many countries are not as large as they used to be
  • We tend to live in small nuclear families rather than large extended families
  • Parents tend to have fewer children
  • Young children are no longer expected to work
  • Nowadays both parents often work
  • It costs so much to bring children up
  • It is more difficult to raise a large family

Working Parents (also see ‘Gender’ Topic)

  • Children and their parents seem to be less close nowadays
  • Parents spend less time with their children
  • Women traditionally stayed at home to cook, clean and look after children
  • Nowadays both parents often work full time
  • Children may be left alone, or with nannies or babysitters
  • Busy parents have less contact with their children
  • Many families no longer eat meals together
  • Children spend more time with friends or surfing the Internet

Negative Effects on Children

  • The lack of closeness in families can have a negative effect on children
  • Many parents have no idea how their children spend their time
  • Friends, television and the Internet become the main influence on children’s behavior
  • Teenagers are influenced by peer pressure
  • Some of them join gangs
  • Juvenile delinquency is on the increase
  • Parents should be more involved with their children’s upbringing
  • Young people need positive role models


  • In the past, divorce was unacceptable
  • It was considered to be embarrassing for a family
  • People stayed together for religious or family reasons
  • Divorce is more socially acceptable nowadays
  • It has become much more common
  • Divorce can be extremely stressful
  • Lone parents may face financial difficulties
  • Many single parents have to rely on benefits paid by the state
  • Divorce can have a negative effect on children
  • Children from single-parent families are more likely to get lower grades or drop out of
  • The rise in divorce rates may be connected to some social problems

Care for Old people

  • Caring for elderly people was traditionally the responsibility of families
  • Adults had to look after their elderly parents
  • A woman’s job was to stay at home taking care of her family
  • Nowadays, fewer elderly people are looked after by their relatives
  • Residential homes provide care for large number of elderly people
  • Nursing homes can provide professional medical care
  • Some families are unable to look after elderly relatives
  • Families tend to be smaller these days, and women often have full-time jobs
  • Cares homes provide a professional service for senior citizens
  • Nurses are better trained than family members

Care for Old People: Opinion

  • The best form of care for the elderly depends on the family situation
  • It depends on whether family members have the time resources
  • We all have a responsibility towards the older people in our society
  • Governments should invest money in facilities and training for care workers or social service workers