Life at 1, 3, 5: general discussion

Background: this post is about the Life series that just finished airing on the ABC and which is affiliated with Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Life at 1, Life at 3 and Life at 5 are available on ABC iView for a little while longer for those with Australian IPs and to whom it is accessible.


Now that I’ve done the specific posts, does anyone have thoughts about the Life series in general? Here’s a few thoughts on individual scenes:

  • In Life at 1 I love the super-serious newborn shot of Shine looking out at the world grouchily.
  • Jara’na was awesome in Life at 3, it was a real shame there was so much focus on his separation anxiety rather than his inventive play and sense of the dramatic.
  • My favourite Life at 5 scenes were both from the Marshmallow Test. One was Anastasia looking directly into the camera and popping the single marshmallow straight in her mouth for immediate gratification, and the other was Shine delicately stepping around the room, not looking at the marshmallow. (Actually, Wyatt was pretty cute too, testing himself by putting his mouth around it but not lifting it from the plate!)

On the series as a whole:

  • I wish we could see more of the eleven children meeting each other, which they have clearly done several times now, but it’s only been shown for the purposes of very brief cut shots of birthday parties and racing through parks. As the series goes on age-peer relationships will grow in importance, it would make sense, although it wouldn’t be totally representative of their social interactions, to begin to show them interacting with each other.
  • Judging from the birthdates of the children on the website, they’re the six year old cohort this year. It sounded as if there are definitely plans for Life at 7 to film next year and presumably air in 2013, and the print version of the Sydney Morning Herald suggested that the film-makers would like to go through the teenage years, although they don’t have funding yet and perhaps would plan less frequent updates. (Perhaps only one or two during high school.) I think the series would be improved if they could go out to three or four episodes from Life at 7 onwards.

Speaking of more content, I haven’t gone through the website‘s content, anything good there?

And a conversation about introversion/extroversion from comments:

blue milk:

But there is much to feel concerned about, even in this small segment you have highlighted here, and I found others when I was watching the series too, like the ways in which introverted babies versus extroverted babies were discussed in terms of their performance during some of those classic experiments about attachment and seperation.

Me:

But on that subject I was also rather surprised by the interpretation of the separation experiments. I was under the impression that they were usually interpreted the other way around; that a child should show distress at separation from their primary carer, not that a approx 12mo child should be able to cope with that. (Both “shoulds” have their problems!) But Ben’s separation anxiety, and the anxiety Jara’na develops later as a toddler, are both portrayed as extremely worrying.

We view my own son as moderately extroverted, and his reaction would have been more anxious than any of those shown except Ben’s.

They said something at some point about all personality types being valuable, and my husband (who is extremely introverted) said something like “just because a personality type exists, doesn’t make it valuable!” The show doesn’t really back up this claim with a discussion of the values of introversion, or for that matter of caution about carer separation or strangers! The only Life at 1 claim about introversion is that it exists, basically.

There’s also been talk on Twitter at #lifeat5.

Feel free to use comments here to address any aspect of the series.


See other Life posts at Hoyden: Life at 1: breastfeeding, Life at 3: obesity, Life at 1, 3, 5: disability



Categories: media, parenting

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