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Qualities of a good body para:

- Has logical links


- Has word economy (not really shown here as I have very flowery and excessive writing
styles, and I tend to belabor the point )
- Has illustrations supported by logical links
- Is engaging to read (not strictly necessary; evinced here through small additions like
Paternity leave anecdote, the anecdote about how parenting costs have been immense
even in good econ. times)

Question 1: To what extent has parenting become more challenging in your society
today?
Parenting is one of the core responsibilities of people who become parents, involving at its root
the duty of meeting the emotional, physical and mental needs of ones children. As an Asian
society that has traditionally espoused Confucian values such as duty to ones family, my
society, Singapore, has tended to view the family as an important unit in society. What this
means for parenting is that it is deemed a basic duty, which all parents are expected to fulfil
where possible. However, this situation is changing today, as Singapore transitions from a
cultural nest of Asian values to a globalised, urban society increasingly exposed to Western,
libertarian values. Due to the encroachment of modern-day demands, such as a fast pace of
life, high costs of living, and the pursuit of personal interests as an ideal way of life, parenting
has become notably more challenging to a large extent, for Singaporeans today.

For Point 1: A key reason why parenting has become a challenge in Singapore today is the
lack of time in potential or already existing parents daily lives.As Singapore becomes
increasingly globalized to maintain a high level of economic growth, Singapore adults - those
normally expected to become parents - find their pace of life quickening to such a point that it is
difficult to allocate time to parenting, largely due ot the demand for increased labour productivity
to maintain Singapores economic edge. For adults especially, working 9 to 5 jobs is a common
trend, as is taking overtime work shifts for the sake of advancing on the career ladder or
impressing ones employer in order to earn a raise, or even to secure long-term employment.
Aside from work, many practical concerns created by increasing modernity in Singapore also
compete with time for parenting, like mortgages, loan repayments, further studies, and so on.
The multitude of work and financial concerns take up a large bulk of time in adults daily lives
already, making the additional commitment of parenthood an unappealing prospect. In fact,
Singaporean parents today find themselves unable to spend as much time with their children as
they would ideally like to, electing instead to hire domestic helpers or hand the duty of child care
to close relatives. The lack of time engendered by an increasingly frenetic pace of life inevitably
hinders parents ability to be physically present and provide for their childrens psychological or
emotional needs, making parenting a challenge today.

For Point 2 Yet another key challenge faced by parents is the sheer cost of caring for their
children. faced by parents is the fact that the costs of child-raising are increasing due to
economic crises and other global events. Globally, prices of commodities are rising, and the
effect is felt especially acutely in Singapore owing to Singapores reliance on imports.
Singaporeans incomes are not rising quickly enough to counter the increased costs of living,
which is highlighted by how Singapore is facing negative inflation, or a decrease in wages at the
moment. This means that parents financial abilities to provide for the material needs of their
children are adversely affected (implied conclusion: parenting is becoming harder). The cost of
raising a child has always been immense even in better economic times, and they are especially
daunting now. Today, according to global studies, it can cost up to US$1 million to raise a child
from cot to college. To meet this financial cost is not something that can always be achieved Commented [kq1]: At the upper range the cost of
comfortably, especially for economically under-privileged families with sole breadwinners in raising a child can easily go up to US$1 million
(or, even more convincing: for most middle class and
Singapore. Hence, due to increasing costs of living, providing a merely adequate level of care upper-level families today, the average cost of raising a
and education for children can be financially burdensome and a challenging duty for parents. child can reach US$1 million)

BUT! Provided you have the right stats to back it up

Counterargument 1 However, although modern society certainly increases the challenges


faced by parents in certain aspects, it can also ease the strain of parenting for some families.
For one, the presence of grandparents who can provide intergenerational parenting eases it.
Modern life has allowed higher life expectancies among most Singaporeans, due to
advancements in medical technology and the public provision of healthcare. Grandparenting is Commented [kq2]: Should explain how medical tech
also a part of active aging, which Singapore promotes in her growing population of elders. and public provision of healthcare only got better in
modern life
These larger trends have resulted in an increasing number of healthy seniors who are fit enough
to look after their grandchildren, when parents are busy at work. This increasingly feasible
option of intergenerational parenting is something the government has attempted to leverage on
in recent years, by launching social campaigns encouraging young parents to live with their
parents, so that emotional care and love can be more present in the childrens lives. Since
elders are more likely to live to the ripe old ages of 70 and above, thanks to safety, hygiene, and
medical advancements, elders can aid in parenting children responsibly, and compensate for
the lack of available time in the parents lives. Many Singaporean parents have taken advantage Commented [kq3]: Summary of paragraph, really
of this option, as intergenerational families have risen in number over the years. brings home the point to the reader if they didnt get it
the first time round

Counterargument 2 Parenting has also become easier in Singapore financially, due to Commented [kq4]: Note: Strawman argument
supportive government policies. The policies have evolved a long way from the era of the Stop
at Two campaigns in the 70s-80s, to the current stance that supports parents having 3 or more
children. Besides the baby bonus cash grants of $6000 per child born, the government instituted
a 2 week mandatory paternity leave guideline recently. Such policies relieve the burden of
financial and time constraints that new parents often face. Crucially, these policy changes were
made feasible by Singapores rapid economic success and large budget surpluses. Nurturing a
family friendly society by promoting work life balance and more benefits for parents was
mentioned as one of the key government objectives in the Budget 2016 speech. Hence, due to
the governments parent-friendly initiatives, parenting still remains feasible in the larger picture.

Rebuttal However, ultimately such financial benefits are a one off benefit granted to parents, Commented [kq5]: Always put the rebuttal after the
and are only of aid in the short run. As a result, despite governmental efforts to ease the counter argument. Because if your rebuttal is strong, it
will improve the credibility of your essay by making
challenge of parenting through lengthening maternity and paternity leave, these can only do so your argument more convincing
much against the backdrop of exorbitant costs and necessary personal sacrifices required for
responsible parenting. These practical concerns are unlikely to subside anytime soon, or to a
degree sufficient t o make parenting noticeably less challenging, since Singapore is
experiencing a mild recession and the global economy remains as competitive as ever.

Rebuttal 2 Yet another area or consideration is the fact that aforementioned challenges to
parenting hit certain vulnerable groups of people the hardest, such as economically
disadvantaged parents and single mothers. For such groups, parentings challenges have
become especially exacerbated in severity as they enjoy far less benefits than the majority of
Singaporeans. Parents from disadvantaged families often suffer from physical illnesses or
disabilities due to poorer living standards which impede their ability to earn the bread for their
children, and this heightens the effect of rising costs of living upon their already financially
damaging situations. Single mothers, who require the most support emotionally and financially,
cannot receive any Baby Bonus grant nor the full maternity leave that traditional married
couples enjoy. Hence, parenting has definitely become more challenging for the already
underprivileged due to entrenched structural inequality.

Conclusion In our modern society, I believe that parenting has, on the whole, indeed become
more challenging, which is the most probable cause of Singapores birth rate falling to far below
replacement levels. This trend is not due to personal selfishness of young couples alone, but
should more accurately be attributed to the increasing difficulty of providing a socially-
determined adequate level of care to ones children, amidst economic constraints. Such
economic constraints are a larger determinant of the ease of parenting, rather than time and
emotional presence, since material needs are more pressing in daily life than emotional ones.
Notably, the already disadvantaged are crippled to a far greater degree as they fall further
behind economically.

Markers Comments:
Decent effort. A largely thoughtful response which is consistently argued, though point on
grandparenting could do with better analysis.

Mark Breakdown:
Content: 21/30
Language: 16/20
Total: 37/50