What We Owe Parents

WhatWe Owe Parents

Alstott’scentral argument in the article is whether guardians should be leftalone to bear the cost of child care or should the society transfersome resources to the parents so as to alleviate the burden.Therefore, the author advances the claim that parenthood should notbe left to the caretakers alone because it poses financial andemotional constraints (Alstott). She proposes the creation of acaretaker resource accounts to offer the parents financial supportand the chance to continue taking care of their children withoutputting the other aspects of their life on hold (Weiner 147).Alstott’s article targets the general public, especially thetaxpayers and policymakers by urging them to come up a new plan thatwill offer the parents financial assistance so that they canalleviate the burden. Additionally, she aim to reach parents whereshe advises them on how the society has changed thus, they have toadapt to the transformations to ensure successful parenthood(Alstott).

Thearticle is arranged systematically into three major sections. Theintroduction establishes the author’s purpose for writing thepaper. In this section, Alstott informs the reader of her intentionto devise a way to help parents. The writer begins by highlightingthe importance of continued care and explaining how such argumentsare used to justify the society’s expectations. The author startswith the background information on the social welfare for caretakersin the country. Then, she discusses the problems the guardians arefacing hence, brings up her idea of setting up a grant for theparents (Alstott).

Inthe body section, Alstott supports her claims using evidence fromvarious sources. In parent-child relationships, the caretakers cannotjust decide to end their guardianship status. Therefore, it isnecessary to have a stable relationship so that the child can developas an independent person. Besides, the intensity and duration ofparent-child relationship help the guardians to attain in-depthknowledge about their children thus, they are in the best positionto act as their best advocates. Consequently, the burden ofparenthood is particularly heavy for mothers’ income, careerachievements, and opportunities (Nazarinia, Schumm and Britt 34).Specifically, the author recommends the use of caretaker resourceaccount, which would provide parents with an annual $5,000 grant fromthe government (Weiner 146). Lastly, Alstott concludes by restatingthe obligation the society has towards parents.

Thenagain, the writer incorporates logos, ethos, and pathos appeals toconvince the reader to agree with her ideas. Alstott uses logos byusing factual information to provide a foundation for her arguments.She regularly poses questions to the reader and then provides areasonable answer. For example, the author asks the audience whyparents should get more public resources compared to their childlesspeers (Alstott). Accordingly, it invokes the readers’ logicalreasoning in an attempt to answer them. Then again, she uses ascenario of a baby, Abigail, to give the audience a practicalapplication of the caretaker resource program. The case shows whatthe strategy would entail thus, it does not leave the audience withthe questions about how it would be implemented. For instance, itensures that the parents can change their plans over time withoutcompromising the goal of the welfare program (Alstott).

Onthe other hand, the author uses ethos to present herself as acredible writer by showing that she conducted ample research on theissue. Alstott uses previous studies to show that parenthood affectsthe work schedules of mothers because some may have to work fewerhours or leave the workforce altogether (Nazarinia, Schumm and Britt34). The author explains the importance of child-parentsrelationships based on ideas and explanations provided bypsychologists. Alstott also supports her argument using statistics onthe percentage of mothers actively involved in the labor force(Nazarinia, Schumm and Britt 35).

Additionally,the article incorporates the pathos technique to attract the readers’attention by invoking their emotions. Alstott asks why the parentsshould not use their money to safeguard their future such as payingfor grocery or rent bills, but instead they use those resources forchild care (Alstott). The writer argues that most parents want to dothe right thing for their children, which invokes emotions in thereaders particularly those who have a family. Besides, she indicatesthat although the parents decide to have children, they do not chooseto the burdens that the community imposes on them afterward(Ambrosino et al. 14). Alstott explains that the country is currentlyneglecting the parents tremendously, which triggers sympathy amongthe childless audience and provokes a desire in the policymakers tochange the current situation. The author describes how the societyexpects the parents to do the right thing, yet it does not doanything to help. Besides, the writer argues that it is unreasonableand unwise to depend on marriage as the primary source of financialsecurity, but they do not have an alternative (Weiner 146). Alstottalso appeals to emotions through storytelling to vividly show theaudience why her proposal is reasonable. Accordingly, she engages theaudience’s imagination, which gives the audience something theywill remember thus, impact them profoundly. The author also putsherself in the reader’s situation using personal pronouns. Forexample, she says “we do not consider a fetus to be a childentitled to continuity of care” (Alstott). Consequently, it seemsas though the author is addressing the readers directly thus, makingit more personal and more likely for the audience to respond to thequestions.

Thewriter uses informed and logical language to show the reader that shehas vast knowledge on the topic by providing reasonable andknowledgeable arguments. The article is straightforward making iteasy for the reader to understand from the beginning to the end.Accordingly, the paper is easy for the reader to understand andfollow through to the end (Alstott). Even so, the article assumes thepolitics surrounding the social welfare. Therefore, it ignores thereasoning and arguments that were used to eliminate these programsthus, the same argument may be used against her proposal forcaretaker resource accounts. It does not consider the deficit thecountry was experiencing to propose the elimination of the welfareprogram (Ambrosino et al. 15). Hence, if the same issues arise, thenthe author’s proposal would become a failure.

Inconclusion, Alstott argument shows that society’s expectations havesevere implications on the parents’ opportunities. Instead, theauthor argues that parenthood is a public affair thus, the communityshould not expect the guardians to limit their chances unreasonablyto provide continued child care. The subject can be controversialhence, the writer uses rhetorical devices techniques includingemotional and logical appeals to persuade the audience that she ismaking a reasonable proposal. Furthermore, the article is arranged ina clear, logical flow that makes it easy for the readers to followthrough and understand. Consequently, Alstott proposes that thesociety should help bring up children instead of leaving the entireburden to the parents and still expect them to provide continuedcare.


Alstott,Anne. “What we owe to parents.” BostonReview.1 April 2004. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.

Ambrosino,Rosalie,Joseph Heffernan, Guy Shuttlesworth, and Robert Ambrosino.SocialWork and Social Welfare: An Introduction.7th ed., Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, 2012. Print.

Nazarinia,Roudi R., Walter R. Schumm, and Sonya L. Britt. Transitionto Parenthood., 2013. Internet Resource.

Weiner,Merle H. Aparent-partner status for American family law. NewYork: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Print.