Life at 9. Independence

Picture sourced from: where you can also view the show (available until 9:30pm on 28 August 2014).

This post relates to the first episode in this series: Independence.

This show is based on a longitudinal study of Australian children.


“children gain life skills by experiencing it for real”

Possibly spoken by Prof Michael Sawyer, Head, Research and Evaluation Unit Women’s and Children’s Health Network. Professor, Discipline of Paediatrics University of Adelaide, Australia (though I am happy to be corrected on this as I am having trouble confirming the person who said this in ‘Life at 9’ episode 1).

This show sparked an interesting discussion in Our Home. Particularly the part where the parents were discussing their ‘free’ childhood compared to their child’s contained and monitored childhood. They were adamant that the world was not safe, as it was back then. Is it a media-led fear? What has changed? More Mothers are working full time, so perhaps the neighbourhood watch is diminished?

Even our current *cough* government, would rather see us drop our babies off in approved institutions.

Was life simpler ‘back then’? Less segregated? There were less cars, particularly ‘urban assault vehicles’, less ‘stuff’?, less technology….perhaps mothers remained sane because children were released, now technology renders them contained?

It was very interesting.


Another topic that had our interest was the issue of Praise vs Encouragement.

Most modern mums would have come across the various X Alternatives to saying ‘Good Job’ articles, especially if they are on social media.  This is not a new idea.  But it is habitual, or perhaps simply easier, to say “well done”, or “that is awesome”, or “you are awesome”…when what we mean is “you tried hard” or “I love the colours you used” or “you must have been hungry”…especially when you are being presented with the millionth hopeful praise hungry busy-work item of the day.

The show touched on parental influence/pressure…for example, you have competitive parents, who have trouble understanding your lack of competitiveness.  Likewise, your laid back folks find it difficult to connect with your competitive driven edgy style.  Most kids, ‘these days’ are ferried from one activity to the next, their lives directed and organised to the point that ‘free time’ becomes difficult for them to manage.  Why is this so?  Are parents trying to get ahead, give their children as many opportunities they can? Are they just in need of after school activities to fill the time between school and the end of the work day?


This is a very interesting series, worth the time to view.  Or follow the links to the ‘back story’ about the research that is behind the show.



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