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IELTS essay, topic: If a child commits a crime, should the child or the parents be punished? (discuss + opinion)

IELTS Model Essay Sample Band 8 October 2023

This essay topic was seen in a recent IELTS test in India

Some people believe that if a child commits a crime he or she should be punished, while others think it is the child’s parents who should be punished. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Sample Band 8 Essay

Opinions are divided on the topic of who should bear the most responsibility for crimes committed by minors. There are those who believe that the parents of children who commit crimes should be punished, while others disagree. I believe that while both arguments offer valid points, the decision ultimately depends on the individual circumstances surrounding each crime.

According to some people’s perspectives, all children regardless of their age should be held accountable for their actions, and that any punishment meted out to the child will serve as a deterrent to others. There is also the beneficial prospect of rehabilitation and instilling a sense of responsibility in the young offenders. Rehabilitation programs aimed at juvenile offenders can effectively reform their behaviour, thus making them responsible members of society.

Conversely, another perspective contends that parents should be held responsible, especially if negligence or poor upbringing has played a significant role in the child’s actions. The cornerstone of this argument is that parents play a vital foundational role in shaping a child’s moral compass. When parents neglect their duties or act as an inappropriate role model, they indirectly contribute to a child’s deviant behaviour. For instance, there have been a number of recent cases where children had unrestricted access to firearms at home and committed accidental crimes, which points directly to parental negligence.

In my opinion, a blanket approach cannot be applied in this complex matter. While children must learn about the consequences of their actions, it is also vital to assess parental roles in individual cases. A collaborative system which evaluates both the child’s understanding and parental neglect would be most appropriate and beneficial for everyone involved.

Teacher’s feedback:

This essay is a great example of a Band 8 level. Overall, it demonstrates a strong command of language, effectively addresses the task, maintains coherence, and provides a thoughtful analysis of the topic.

Task Response: Band 8
The essay provides a well-rounded response to the given prompt. It discusses both sides of the argument — holding children accountable for their actions and holding parents responsible, and then provides a clear opinion that a case-by-case assessment is necessary. The essay doesn’t merely present the arguments but also evaluates them critically, fulfilling the task requirements comprehensively.

Coherence and Cohesion: Band 8
The essay is well-structured with a clear introduction, body paragraphs discussing different perspectives, and a concluding paragraph summarising the writer’s opinion. The ideas are logically organised, and the essay progresses smoothly from one point to the next. Linking words and phrases are used effectively to connect sentences and paragraphs, ensuring coherence and cohesion.

Lexical Resource: Band 8
The essay demonstrates a strong command of vocabulary. There is effective use of a variety of words and phrases, showing precision and accuracy. For instance, phrases like “juvenile offenders”, “deviant behavior”, and “parental negligence” showcase a rich vocabulary. The writer also uses words like “cornerstone” and “blanket approach”, demonstrating a good range of vocabulary.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy: Band 8
The essay exhibits a high level of grammatical control. Complex sentence structures are used accurately, and there are no major grammatical errors that would impede understanding. The sentences are varied, indicating a good command of grammar.

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