Life at 7

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Tues­day, 8.30pm, ABC1 This is Seven Up! for us, the start of our own ap­prox­i­ma­tion of the fa­mous British se­ries look­ing at a range of peo­ple as they move through life. Tonight presents Aus­tralians at seven as their per­son­al­i­ties start to shape their lives and they be­gin to ac­quire, or not, the emo­tional in­tel­li­gence they will need to make their way in the world. Thus one lit­tle girl knows what she wants but is a bit hazy on com­pro­mise, a tal­ent her peers recog­nise she will need. As a psy­chol­o­gist sug­gests, chil­dren don’t need to be pop­u­lar; they find hap­pi­ness in sus­tain­ing friend­ships. There is an enor­mous amount to be op­ti­mistic about with many of these young­sters. One quiet but cre­ative in­tro­vert may not say much but un­der­stands and em­pathises with the needs of oth­ers — which helps, given he is a quin­tu­plet. Other kids in this (as in ear­lier) episodes have par­ents who have sep­a­rated and they suf­fer from a lack of sta­bil­ity. Some come from homes that just don’t have much luck. One boy has a new brother with se­ri­ous de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties. Other find­ings are in­ter­est­ing be­cause of the way par­ents re­spond. An ex­per­i­ment that demon­strates dif­fer­ences in the way boys and girls re­act to set­backs and or­gan­ise them­selves is ques­tioned by one set of par­ents who do not spec­ify gen­der roles. This pair may be de­fy­ing bi­ol­ogy but they are also ex­cel­lent role mod­els for their chil­dren, seek­ing to bet­ter them­selves through study. The fam­ily does not have much money but the chil­dren are be­ing pro­vided ex­am­ples of life’s op­por­tu­ni­ties. It makes for a stark con­trast with the fu­ture of a boy who never sees his dad. At seven, peo­ple skills are im­por­tant but they do not rate com­pared with a child’s need for the love of their par­ents and their need for sta­ble homes. What hap­pens next? It will be a few years be­fore we see them again, but here’s hop­ing.

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