Have you been looking for good General Paper sample essays on the topic of Family & Children? Aiming to prepare this sub-topic of social issues, society, women, etc, as one of your main content topic for your upcoming GP exam, and is seeking for complete full length answers. IMO, this is a very good topic to prepare for, as it is easily relatable, and examples are aplenty.
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Q1: Why do people want to have children?
People have children for many reasons. As human beings are biological creatures, reproduction is an intrinsic part of existence. Children often bring joy and happiness to their parents and though parenting is not an easy task, it is definitely the experience of a lifetime.
Some people have children in order to ensure that they. will be taken care of when they are frail and weak. This practice is common in all Asian societies but not so in Western societies which have pensions and social security systems. The Chinese have a saying which goes like this: “Have children to guard against old age.” As filial piety is a much emphasized virtue in Asian societies, most parents can be sure that their children will not abandon them when they are old. Therefore, having children is a form of investment in which the dividends will be given back to the investors in their old age. However, this rea son for having children is gradually becoming less com mon due to the high costs involved and the belief that. children should not be born into the world with a huge debt to repay.
Some people also have children because their tradition compels them to do so. The Chinese have another saying which goes like this: “There are three serious ways of being unfilial, and not having children is the most serious one.” From this saying, it can be seen that having children is a very important matter in Chinese society. This is also the case in most other Asian societies. This is due to the fact that some traditions place great emphasis on having the family surname carried on. This in turn causes Asian societies to favour boys over girls as girls have to take on the surnames of their husbands after they are married. In China, the Chinese are so desperate to have baby boys that they keep on having children until they have at least one boy, and this is despite the strict ‘one-child policy’ enforced by the Chinese government. People caught flouting such rules are given hefty fines and forced to have abortions and be sterilized. There fore, the willingness of the Chinese to flout such rules in order to have baby boys shows just how great an influence traditions have on the decision to have children.
The need for manual labour and extra income is also a reason for people having children. In agricultural societies, an extra pair of hands means that more land can be farmed or that the load is lightened with the sharing of work. Children can also undertake work in other places and supplement the family income. This practice is com mon in countries with agricultural societies like India. In Pakistan, young children of poor families are sold to car pet makers. Rich families have children to ensure that the family business stays within the family, usually with the eldest child taking over from the father.
People also have children to bring happiness to their lives. Children can be a constant source of pride and joy to their parents. Certainly, no one can deny that the look on the faces of parents when they hold their newborn for the first time is one of pure, unadulterated joy. Children bring such great joy to parents that some who are unable to bear children for one reason or another go to great lengths to do so. These include costly artificial insemination, fertilisation or even asking another person to bear their child for them.
Some people also have children because they have a biological need to do so. Some older single women say that they feel their biological clock ticking away and they feel a great need to have babies. In more liberal societies, these women may become single mothers if they cannot find a life-long partner in time. Despite the stigma attached to single parents, single mothers are not be coming less common as the biological need to have children is often an almost irresistible urge.
Therefore, it can be seen that there are many reasons people have children. However, before bringing a new life into the world, people must think long and hard about it as children are vulnerable and require lots of love, attention and guidance.
Q2: Today the plight of children reveals the ugly side of man. Discuss.
Almost certainly, today the plight of children reveals the ugly side of man. In many parts of the world, children are still suffering. Undesirable, contemptible characteristics which include greed, selfishness or the exploitative nature of man have led to the plight of children. These children experience pain of various types – mental, physical and emotional.
Child labour is one of the obvious things that reveal the ugly side of man. Children in some parts of the world to work in factories, for example in textile factories. They are given low pay and have to work hard and long hours. In India, children make expensive branded goods for civilised people in the West to wear. However, these children are paid miserably and even abused. Although many Westerners are oblivious of this, it reveals the exploitative and manipulative side of man for companies in both developing and developed countries make use of children as cheap labour and get huge profits in return by selling the goods. Child labour is unfair because during childhood, children develop and should be given the chance to be educated and enjoy life. They also lack the ability to fight for themselves and are easily exploited. It is just not the right time for them to work. The problem of child labour occurs easily in some countries; others have laws against child labour and the need for education during the early years is recognised, but where it does exist it does reveal the ugly side of man.
Another example is sexual abuse which contributes to the mental and physical pain of children. There is child prostitution in some countries. In red-light districts of Bombay, India and Chiangmai, Thailand, child prostitution exists. Local and foreign clients take advantage of them. Child abuse also occurs at home. Fathers may rape their own daughters and they are forced not to tell any one or make a report to the police. There are many con sequences. The children experience physical torture during sex abuse. The child’s modesty is outraged and he or she loses a bright future. These children unfortunately may be infected with sexual diseases like syphilis and AIDS. This reveals the ugly and corrupted side of men, who make use of children to satisfy their sexual needs because the children are helpless beings and cannot de fend themselves. This problem may not be widespread, and there are strict laws in many countries against sexual abuse, moreover, many children lead peaceful untormented lives. Nevertheless the existence of such abuse reveals the ugly side of man.
Forced child marriage is common in developing countries such as India where daughters are compelled by their parents to marry someone at an early age. In Saudi Arabia, young girls are sold by their parents to old Saudi Arabian men. These girls are often concubines. In China some young girls are forced to marry young two-year old boys from rich families. In return the girls’ families will get a sum of money. These young girls will have to look after their husbands and accompany them for the rest of their lives and later these girls are often abandoned by their husbands. In India, girls are also forced to marry young because many families feel that it is too expensive to look after girls. This reveals the selfishness of man. These people force their children to marry some one they do not love or know and this is done without their consent. This problem of early marriage is wide spread in Third World countries, however in most developed countries, children often marry at a mature age and with a freedom to choose their own life partners. For all this I believe the ugly side of man still evident here.
Nowadays children are often neglected by parents and this occurs even in a modern society. Children experience mental and emotional pain in such situations. Once children are neglected by parents, they lack their parental love, warmth, care and guidance. They do not have anyone to nurture them. The children’s minds are not stable and may be easily influenced into bad ways. One main reason why parents neglect their children is that they are too occupied with their office work or too busy pursuing their careers or are involved in less savoury occupations. In a few cases, the parents totally neglect their children’s feelings and limits. They have too high expectations for their children and want them to excel academically. This leads to an absurd amount of pressure and the occasional suicide. This reveals the selfish and ironically uncaring side of parents who are only interested in their work and do not bother about their children but expect them to do well in their studies. For all that, most parents today try to keep their weekends free to accompany their children and provide them with all their love and support. Ugliness is still a feature of man’s nature when these things are missing.
There are other unthinkable cases of child abuse. In Thailand and Vietnam, there are children who are kidnapped by some men and parts of their bodies are amputated so that they look like cripples. These children are then forced to be beggars. The money in turn will be collected by those ruthless men. Some babies are killed and their organs are removed and sold to the hospitals for transplant operations. The people who sell the organs are paid a high price. This reveals the cruel and greedy side of man. Despite the fact that the children are suffering physically, some people have no compassion for them.
Q3: The family unit is less important today. Comment.
The fact that the United Nations has designated 1994 as the year of the family definitely says something about the importance of the family unit. The family, said to be the basic unit of society, was once something people appreciated and respected. Recent changes in the fabric of our society have made the family something people take for granted.
The family unit is important in that it provides a base for an individual to start the perilous journey of life. The family plays a major part in shaping a person’s character and inculcating some basis of moral values in a person. This is a function which has been greatly undermined by the way our society operates today. Negative influences are easily found nowadays. Schools, peers and the mass media have the ability to distort and change the way a young child thinks and behaves. Many other factors con tribute to the shaping of a child’s mind, and this makes a strong family unit all the more important in guiding and teaching the child, telling him right from wrong.
No doubt, a stable family plays a vital role in a per son’s formative years. But even fully developed adults need a family. In the hectic, competitive and stressful world of work today, a people need warm and loving families to support them in doing their work. Other than serving as a sanctuary and place of retreat, the family can help a person with a positive and encouraging attitude. Nothing works better as a remedy for work pressure than the knowledge that at the end of the day, a warm and caring family is waiting for you to get home and rest. This may, in some cases, motivate people to work harder in order to improve the living standards and material com fort of their families.
One important and often overlooked function of the family is to give love and concern for a person so that the person can in turn spread and pass it on to others. It has. been proven that children from abusive families often grow up to be anti-social. Even single parents cannot hope to provide the kind of love that a complete family unit can bring to a child. As a general rule, children from happy families with full and loving childhoods grow up to be come gregarious and cheerful people.
It is ironic that society, which the family is supposed to serve, is destroying family values. Teenagers respect. their parents less nowadays; they would rather “hang out” with their friends and often neglect their families in the process. The great increase in leisure and entertainment facilities has contributed to this. Mounting work pressure and the fear of being deemed “not economically vi able” by their firms have turned many working parents into workaholics leaving their children to the care of relatives or child care centres. Rocketing divorce rates have left many children living in single-parent families. Af fluence in some countries has given rise to a materialistic attitude to life and people have begun to treat a family as a burden, preferring to live and earn on their own.
There is no way we can underestimate the importance of the family in our world today. Indeed, the decline of our social conditions can be attributed to the lack of emphasis on family values over the last few years. As mentioned earlier, people are taking their families for granted. They are no more an important part of people’s lives. I am glad that the UN has recognised this problem and tried to bring back the family into our lives by promoting family values. Families shape people, people shape societies. The importance of the family has not been and will never be reduced.