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Grandmother: "Children these days are not as well-behaved as they used to be. I grew up 65 years ago and in those days children respected their parents. Moreover, in those days, children respected authority figures and older individuals. My son and daughter were model pupils, but my grandchildren get in trouble at school on a monthly basis."
Which of the following is the most serious weakness in the grandmother's argument?
Correct Answer: D

The grandmother is drawing a conclusion about the behavior of children in general on the basis of the examples of her own children and grandchildren. The behavior of her own family is not adequate evidence for drawing conclusions about changes in behavior patterns among children in general.

  1. This point is irrelevant, as the time spent with each does not necessarily undermine her knowledge of their behavior.
  2. If disciplinary tactics have changed over this period, it could be true that children's behavior has stayed the same but children get in trouble more often. However, this point is not about discipline, but rather teaching quality – which has no apparent bearing on how often children get in trouble.
  3. Any argument can be strengthened by refuting possible counterarguments, but this is not the biggest weakness in this case.
  4. This is the key point – the behavior of the grandmother's own children and grandchildren does not provide enough evidence to draw a broad conclusion about children in general.
  5. The grandmother's parenting skills have no bearing on the argument.

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