IELTS Task 2 question from the April 2011 exam in Egypt and Turkey (complete response)

As posted at, here is the essay question students in Egypt and Turkey received. I have written a complete response below it for you to analyze and perhaps emulate. Please notice the way my essay is structured and the cohesive phrases I use to link the ideas together. (If you are new to essay writing, please review my how to structure an essay video tutorial playlist). Please also make note of my thesis, which is two sentences long and somewhat reshapes our essay question to make it easier to respond to.

Here is the essay question as it appeared on the exam:

Children’s opinions are influenced by their friends. Is this a positive or a negative development? What can parents do to influence their children’s opinions?

Here is my suggested response:

Of all the influences a typical child is faced with while growing up, that provided by their friends is often very difficult for children to decline. However, this advice often comes from inexperienced sources. Thus, it is believed that the advice of a child’s friend is too inexperienced to be considered ‘positive’. Alternatively, it is argued healthy parental influence should always come before that of an inexperienced youth. Two methods are suggested in which a parent can maintain an influential role in their child’s upbringing, namely by being a stable resource of advice and by being open-minded.

Firstly, by acting as a stable role model in a child’s life, a parent can gain the trust and respect of their children and thus become a person their child listens too. For example, it is a known fact that children who have a stable parent figure guiding them tend to listen to their parents more. Thus, it is clear that stability among parenting can lead parents to become more influential in their children’s lives. As this kind of long-term stability is rarely present among a child’s friends, it is clear parents make the best advisers to their children.

Secondly, parents who are open-minded tend to make it easier for their children to relate to them. Take traditional families, for example. Children living as parts of a traditional family typically have a very difficult time talking to their parents about modern problems for fear their parents would not understand. The closed-mindedness of their parents forces these children to seek the advice they need from others. Thus, among the best ways for parents to remain the most influential source of advice in their child’s life is to try to understand the problems today’s modern child faces.

After analyzing the parental practices of stability and open-mindedness, it is clear that the influence of a parent should be considered much more positive than that of a child’s friends. It is hoped these parenting traits are increasingly seen in the child-raisers of tomorrow.

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