Question: Some people believe that allowing children to make their own choices on everyday matters (such as food, clothes and entertainment) is likely to result in a society of individuals who only think about their own wishes. Other people believe that it is important for children to make decisions about matters that affect them. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
Band 8+ Sample Answer:
(Intro) People have different views about whether children should be given the privilege of making their own decisions. While giving them absolute freedom to make choices in daily life is likely to encourage selfishness, I tend to agree with the idea that independent decision-making is of paramount importance for adulthood.
(Body 1) A common criticism of giving children too much freedom is that they would become narrow-minded and self-centred. Allowing children to always choose the things they want and not have to follow the advice of others may lead them to be too independently minded. This character trait may be a hindrance in later life, in terms of cooperating with other people in a team and especially when leading an organisation. In these situations listening to and considering the ideas and opinions of others is of great importance. Take, for example, a group presentation in which a team has to work together, meaning a lot of decisions have to be made. Each group member will have to point out the pros and cons of their own ideas and learn to be tolerant and accept other viewpoints at the same time.
(Body 2) However, the possibility of becoming uncooperative does not necessarily mean children’s rights to make decisions should be restricted. Firstly, overprotective parents, who always intervene and dictate every aspect of their children’s lives, would definitely create bad habits for children, making them dependent and even losing the ability to manage their own lives in the future. This is evidenced by the fact that in many fields employers wouldn’t hire employees who couldn't think for themselves and show initiative. Secondly, effective decision-making skills, which are difficult and involve various steps, such as evaluating situations and considering alternatives need prolonged, consistent practice over a long period to master. That is why giving children opportunities to make their own choices is so beneficial.
(Conclusion) In conclusion, the advantages of encouraging independent decision making during childhood are more significant than the possibility of children growing up to be selfish. This includes effective team working skills and being tolerant of others’ opinions. Parents should therefore give up strict control over their children’s choices and play their part in guiding and advising children to make their own informed decisions. (370 words)
Words: Student essay, corrected & upgraded by Nick Kemp, former IELTS examiner.
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