IELTS Writing: some ideas about the “family” topics

Here is the most recent IELTS writing question:

In many countries today, people in cities either live alone or in small family units, rather than in large, extended family groups. Is this a positive or negative trend? 

When you are asked a "positive or negative development" type question, you could have either a "balanced" opinion, or "strong" opinion. If you have a "strong" opinion, then you must spend every idea to defend your opinion, and ignore the other side. For instance, if you think this is a positive trend, then all the ideas in your body paragraphs could be explained why it is a positive development. DO NOT discuss the negative side.

Some ideas about this topic:

Negative side:
• The nuclear family unit could isolate people from other relatives and relationships.
• One of the parents, particularly the mother, is the cook, maid, babysitter and sometimes, breadwinner.
• They may have a tendency to burn out from attempting to meet every person's needs alone.
• That leaves little time for pampering and nurturing herself/himself and her/his relationships with others.
• Stress, depression, anxiety or other problems can all be a result of nuclear family burnout.
• This can break down the extended family unit, which can be beneficial in hard times.
• Parents from nuclear families may struggle to balance the demands of work, family and friendships without any outside assistance.
• *Extended family, with differing opinions and ideas, can help families see alternate viewpoints and learn to effectively deal with conflicts and opinions other than their own.

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IELTS Speaking: Part 1- family topics

Here are some common questions about family in the IELTS Speaking Test Part 1.
Tell me something about your family.
What do you like doing most with your family?
Who are you close to in your family?
In what way is your family important to you?

Sample answers

Examiner:        Tell me something about your family.
Candidate:       Although I live abroad now, my mum’s family is from Paris and my dad’s family is from Toulouse. So I’m from a very French family. I would say I come from quite a small family, really. For example, I just have one older sister and four cousins, but it’s true that my extended family is fairly big.

Examiner:        What do you like doing most with your family?
Candidate:       I like having nice long meals with good food and good wine, and a few jokes for dessert!

Examiner:        Who are you close to in your family?
Candidate:      In my family? Well, I’ close to my Uncle Jacques. He’s a chef. He’s hilarious, always telling jokes, and he’s very enthusiastic about everything he does. We spent a lot of time together when I was growing up. In fact he helped to bring me up.

Examiner:        In what way is your family important to you?
Candidate:      My family is everything to me. They are my best friends; they support me when things aren’t going well and when things are going well. I know they’ll always be there for me, no matter what.