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Life at 3 -

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(generated from captions) THEME MUSIC

ALL: One, two, three, blow! group of children. This is a very special From the day they were born through life, we have been following their journey of their first three years our cameras putting every aspect under the microscope.

The Life series recruited them an extraordinary scientific quest. to take us on of 10,000 anonymous families They are the public face in a landmark study. of Family Studies The Australian Institute research project ever done is conducting the largest on the development of our children. all over Australia The 10,000 families come from and every walk of life. What we hope to find out is the best chance at life. what does it take to give a child the best chance at life To give themselves a toddler must learn one of the most critical lessons is how to behave. (KIDS SCREAM) Mine! Mine! but exercising self-control It sounds easy, battle with our whole lives. is actually something most of us

in class The child who doesn't pay attention who can't make friends or the whingey kid or the bully in the playground not good at self control. are good examples of kids who are if kids are to do well in the world And the study's showing us that to learn self control then a critical time

is before they start school. (CRIES) to learn to control their behaviour? So what does it take for a toddler

(WHINES) How can Declan rein in his tantrums?

(CRIES) Why does Jara'na get so distressed from his mother? every time he's separated (ANASTASIJA CRIES) from paying attention to the teacher? What's stopping Anastasija

control his feelings And how can Daniel a heart-wrenching tragedy when faced with even the bravest of adults? that would test THEME MUSIC

look like? Mmm. And...what do your eyes Golden eyes? Golden eyes. Around the time a child turns two, starts to mature. the frontal lobe of the brain What sort of nose do you have? to record experiences And the toddler's capacity kicks in. in their long-term memory the beginning PROFESSOR ZUBRICK: This is of an amazing lifelong journey starts to remember because this is when a child

a sense of self. Straight hair today. Long. Is it long, or short? an autobiography in their heads It's like they're writing and one of the things they record is how they feel. What cheered me up? Was I sad yesterday? when I was naughty? What happened last week to teaching a child how to behave. Those memories are critical

of his first three years The memories Daniel will carry

have to process in his whole life. may be the toughest he'll ever are very interesting Tantrums and Daniel He gets very cranky very easily. (CRIES) But they're very short-lived. Plane! Look!

Daniel's favourite word - no. No. Yes. on what was, sadly for him, In Life at 1 we met Daniel a routine day. Kiss Jamie? Mwa? brother in hospital. He was visiting his 3.5-year-old

severely brain-damaged. A drowning accident had left Jamie

Who's this? Where's Jamie? Oh! Oh! the day-to-day demands Their mum, Kathryn, was juggling of one-year-old Daniel of her critically ill child. with the very special needs Daniel's dad, Rodney, was grieving. his first-born son. He felt like he'd already lost He's just a boy lying in a bed and stares into the distance. and all he does is breathes How do you... I guess? do you live with that, How do I live with that? How does Jamie? How does Kath? How is Daniel going to live with it? put the lid on. Put the lid on for Nanny,

about the fallout Grandma was worried of this intensely stressful time on Daniel.

that we have to think of. It's this little one here He's... than Jamie He's not any more important because he's still here. but he's important

He feels, touches - he's still part of everyday living. Daniel appeared to be coping At this time, in his life. with the extreme emotional upheaval

is still visiting his brother 18 months later and Daniel almost every day. I want Daddy. with severe disabilities. Jamie's now in a home for children (CRIES)

For the past few months,

in extreme pain. Daniel's brother has been in uncontrollable spasms. His muscles seize up Understandably, Jamie's heartbreaking condition of Kathryn and Rodney's marriage. is rocking the foundations we had were stemming from me I knew that a lot of the issues

so much, and the thing that frightened me the last 19 months, all through was the family breaking up. No! Stop! Stop! Stop! And I just went, "No, no, no. No, that can't happen. I'm gonna lose Daniel." I'm gonna lose Kath, through me like a bolt of lightning. And the fear just shot straight

And I made a promise to Kath I'm going to fix my situation, and try and make it better. I'm going to help fix our situation

if by chance Kath didn't want it to But at the end of the day and she stuck by that that no matter how much I worked then there's a good chance or how much I fought for it

not to be together. it might have been inevitable You just made it. So, therefore.... You were right on the last string, That's the thing. and I made that very clear. I said I wasn't going to go down this path anymore. it wasn't fair to Daniel. Because it wasn't fair to me, No. Jump into bed. clear the conflict in their marriage For Rodney and Kathryn, it's now and sometimes overwhelming emotions has produced confusing, in their son, Daniel. That's Daddy's Snoopy since Daddy was your age. OK, lie down now. There were times there where I might have been getting quite angry

in conversation and raising my voice - after Daniel had gone to bed - and next thing you know we hear him crying... ..screaming.

Petrified. He's terrified by what's going on around him. Grabbing onto me. Picked up on that. And that just made me feel... horrible. I felt horrible that Daniel was reacting because of me

and I just went, "Hang on. Nuh. That's wrong."

My puppy. Yes, that's right. It's a puppy.

In the Longitudinal Study, 12% of children are living in families dealing with what is termed "an extremely stressful life event". Can I have a cuddle? One such event is the serious illness or death of a close relative. (SMOOCHES)

Love you. What we're finding is some parents can't find the emotional resources they need to remain warm and engaged with their child when they themselves are going through emotional upheaval. So we see more anger and aggression directed towards the child and more rejection and withdrawal from the child. It's what we call 'hostile parenting'.

For the children in these difficult situations we found a gender story. Boys seem to be much more vulnerable to hostile parenting than girls.

We see this particularly in how well boys manage their own emotions and behaviour. Can you see? Look, look, look!

(BOTH WHINGE) The dramatic change we saw in Daniel's behaviour from coping well at one to showing fear and anxiety as a toddler is causing his parents to rethink

how best to spend their time with their youngest son. Daddy! Daddy! Let's go, let's go, let's go! Run, run, run! Big throw! Every Sunday will now be Daniel's day.

And Kathryn and Rodney are working hard at their relationship.

I think that there are still the strong underlying bonds there that we want to be together. I think that's what's kept us together. I'm trying hardest now to try and get the family back to normal, get it the way it should be, and functioning as a normal family. Oooo, looks good. Ooooh. Yay! Well done! Well done, mate. High five! Still trying to climb that ladder and we're nowhere near as there yet

but we're trying. You did so well! Daniel and his parents have already taken huge steps to overcome their tragic situation. But they do not know, the worst is yet to come. Run, run, run, and let it go! We all know how trying the behaviour of a three-year-old can be. But tantrums are a toddler's way of asserting independence, telling us they are no longer helpless individuals. Then, reining in those tantrums is critical if they are to be masters of their own behaviour. It's what scientists call self regulation.

The Longitudinal Study asks parents a series of questions about how their toddlers regulate their own behaviour. How often does this child behave in a manner different from the way you want him or her to behave? Cries or hangs onto you when you try to leave? Very true. Plays well with other children? Somewhat true. Follows rules? No.

Child stays with a routine task for five minutes or more. Almost never. The questionnaire not only investigates if toddlers are learning to control their own behaviour, it also hunts for the external triggers that lead to bad behaviour.

In the last year, have any of the following happened to you or your partner - birth of a child or pregnancy?

Yes. High on the list of emotionally challenging events for a toddler is the arrival of a new sibling. Declan's personality is really outgoing. In the bath! I found it! I found it! Just loves running around and living. (LAUGHS AND SQUEALS) Daddy! Oh, very good talker.

This one's my Pooh Bear one. I think he gets that from his mother. Hello. OK, what sort of brekkie? For three-year-old Declan,

his daily routine is an obsession. There! We joked about Declan being obsessive-compulsive. There you go. What sort of bowl would you like, mate? (ANSWERS CHEERFULLY) He likes things like his dinner served in a particular way. You have to have matching coloured cutlery What spoon would you like? Purple. He just can't cope with any change. We can have two hours of crying just triggered off because he had one purple knife and an orange fork.

To keep the peace in the household it's just easier to run with how Declan likes it. Do you wanna say bye? I really don't care, Mum. The first three years of life for Declan have been extremely predictable. Since he was six months old, he's been at the same childcare centre four days a week. Is that Daddy? He's had Kim, his mum, all to himself one day a week. Hello, Daddy. And his dad, Patrick, has been his best friend and playmate after work and all weekend. Eh, what are you doing? For three years it's all gone Declan's way. Yeah! Aargh! But that's about to change. Hello, mate.

Today, Declan's meeting his new brother for the first time. You wanna say hello to the baby? Baby Malachy is just 15 hours old. Did that come out of your belly? Yes, it did. Came out of mummy's belly. Yes. It did. The introductions start well. Do you like your new baby brother? Yeah.

But the first bout of sibling rivalry is only moments away. I want the balloon on. No, darling. You can't have the stick. I want the balloon on! How about you just play with the ball?

(CRIES) Mummy can see a disaster. I think when the reality sets in that Malachy's coming home to stay

and I've got no doubt we're gonna have quite a few tanties lots of trying to get his own way. (DECLAN CONTINUES TO CRY) Yeah, he's not - he's just used to having our full attention.

Come here, mate. (CRYING) I want the balloon. I know you do. Come here. (CRIES)

We can all have the big cuddles again.

It's three weeks later, and five o'clock in the morning. Do you wanna come up here and lay down? Stop talking! You talk! I am talking, Daddy! I am talking and YOU'RE not talking! Can you go back to bed and wake up again and get up on the right side of the bed? With a smiley face. No! Oh, looks like you're gonna have to get up. (SIGHS)

No, you can't have biscuits. The arrival of the baby has triggered much more frequent and intense tantrums. He's been really demanding and really bossy and talking really rudely to people.

Close the door please, Declan. Stop talking! Just behaviour I'm not used to him sort of using, but he knows I can't really do a lot about it because I've got the baby in my arms, so he's definitely been getting away with a bit more. No. Leave them! Leave them! Don't put them there! Excuse me. No. Don't put them... (CRIES) The very first step a child takes in regulating their own behaviour is becoming aware of the behaviour itself. (WHINGES)

Slowly Declan is catching on that his tantrums have a detrimental effect on both himself and others. (WHIMPERS) You're making me sad. You make me sad. (SOBS) I'm still crying, Mummy. You're still crying? The thing that's so stunning

about failures in emotional regulation in toddlers is that from the toddler's point of view it looks like the end of the earth. Now, clearly, if that sort of behaviour were to continue into adolescence and adulthood it would operate against making and keeping friends, good socialisation and getting on in the world. (SPEAKS INDISCERNIBLY) NARRATOR: To see if Declan is really learning to master his tantrums

he and his dad take part in a simple observational experiment for the Life series.

Wait for this one! Who's that? Is that - who does that look like?

Our guide is Professor Ann Sanson - one of the scientists from the Longitudinal Study. Can I get you some more tracks?

Yeah! Oh, we got lots of tracks...

Declan gets to play with a box of toys, but on our signal his playtime will get cut short. After just five minutes, his dad will ask him to stop and pack up. Now we've got to pack 'em up. It's a really big task for toddlers to learn, in terms of self-control,

is to manage those intense emotional reactions of "I want it, and I want it now!" or "I don't want to do this!" I want to play.

You wanna play? Well, we gotta pack up now 'cause that's the rules, OK? (WHINGES) No-o-o-o. I want to play now. ANN: Declan doesn't get that right away.

But Patrick is clear and consistent in the messages that he's giving. about there being expectations, there being rules, that he expects to be followed, and that's helping Declan to get on board with it. Do you want to help daddy? I had that! OK, well, you help me put 'em all away. How many cars do we need to put away, Declan? Um, four. Four. Can you count out how many cars we gotta put away? ANN: Patrick is turning it into a bit of a game... BOTH: Two, three... it becomes fun and rewarding for Declan to do it.

BOTH: Six! Yay! What about the tracks? Learning appropriate behaviour is not just about suppressing your disappointment when you have to conform to the rules. It's also about mustering more positive emotions,

like enthusiasm, for the task at hand.

They fell off! They fell off so they've got to go in the box now. That's the rules. That's the rules.

There we go. Pack 'em up. And it may be that Declan has an added advantage as he finds his way in the world. ANN: Declan's got very good language skills for a boy his age. So having that sort of grasp of language is very helpful for kids when they are learning to self-regulate. They can use words instead of acting out on their feelings, and they can also have a good understanding of what other people's expectations of them are. Can I help feed, please? Yeah, you... Declan's mum is confident he'll soon understand that good behaviour also means making a little room in the family for a baby brother. But it's still early days. Do you think we should keep him? No. No? Don't you think that would be sad? I don't want to keep him, Mummy.

I don't want to keep him. Learning how to behave isn't just about self-control. It's also about mastering how to pay attention. When we asked our parents to predict a career for their toddler they opted for jobs that corresponded to a favourite activity - the thing their child can focus on for long periods of time.

She likes drawing. Um... she could be an artist. A mechanic - loves cars. Being a doctor, 'cause she's so interested in how things work. He likes routine. I don't know, maybe a policeman. She just seems fascinated by building stuff and destroying it. Demolition expert.

But if children are to fit in in school, in work, and in life,

they must pay attention not just to the tasks they love but also to the tasks they find tedious. Three-year-old Anastasija has a highly tuned sense of what's fun and what bores her to tears.

Anastasija is the frustrating but most loveable thing you'd ever meet. Finished? Tantrums - you know, the whole neighbourhood knows when she's having one. They're pretty pathetic today.

She's a clown - she makes me laugh. I get you! I ge-e-e-t you! Ah! Anastasija's life so far has been kept completely within the inner circle of her family. A-a-a-argh! (GIGGLES) Ha-ha! Missed me! When she was a baby, career mum Kathy went back to work full time. She's a high-powered executive

in an international IT company. Two days a week, Kathy's mum looks after Anastasija. (HUMS EXCITEDLY) This hands-on grandma has watched Anastasija grow

from an adventurous baby to a feisty toddler. Ah! No. No, yiayia! No, you're not pulling yiayia's hair. Daddy! Gotcha! But Anastasija's main carer is her dad.

When his shifts as a fireman are over he takes on the equally high-octane job of keeping his energetic toddler entertained. No! No! No!

(LAUGHS) No, no. Yes, yes, yes. When Anastasija wakes up first thing in the morning till when she goes down at night, she's just full-on. She's just going, going, going. Which is great. It's great fun, we love it. We, the two of us, would know if we had a little, quiet, sooky sort of a child. Well, put some more paint. Do it with your hands. Look at all the paint. Quick.

Yellow, yellow. yellow. Go! Isn't mummy going to enjoy this? Crocka! 'JAWS' THEME PLAYS Her days with the devoted grandma and parents who make life fun and exciting have helped Anastasija become a confident and fearless child. (GROWLS) Crocko! Do you like Crocka? But in Life at One, we predicted her days with doting carers

could also make this toddler

a little intolerant of anything she doesn't like. (SQUEALS) Today we're going to put that prediction to the test. I'm going school! (CHUCKLES)

Anastasija's been up since 5:00am. (GIGGLES) Look at me! Now that Anastasija's three she's joining the ranks of nearly 70% of the toddlers in the study

who spend significant time each week in out-of-home care. Go school now? It's her first day at preschool. Coming my school? Kathy is a bit anxious about how Anastasija will behave outside the family circle. I think there might be some power struggles. There'll probably be a few screaming fits 'cause a kid's got her toys or, you know, she wants to play with someone else's and she'll just go up and grab it. I'm assuming that's gonna happen. As long as I don't get a phone call saying, "come get your child because she's a bully," I'm OK. We'll go straight here. One of the earliest opportunities we have to gauge how well a child can regulate their attention is in the structured world of preschool. School!

Here, when a toddler gets upset, they're expected to stop, take a moment, listen to the instructions of their teachers, and consider the needs of others. Hug? (SIGHS) You be good girl today? Yes! Alrighty. We'll see you this afternoon. Bye Mummy, Dad. Bye-bye. Bye. Mine!

I have it! This spirited toddler's mother knows her well. Sharing a toy she's fallen in love with is not yet something that comes easily to Anastasija. (SCREECHES) (CONTINUES TO SCREECH) Lots of birds in here. How about you come have a look in this big pile? Come and have a look in the big pile -

I want the green one! The teacher attempts to get these toddlers to consider they could both be happy if they can imagine themselves with another toy. Molly, can you just let Anastasija have it for a minute? But neither Anastasija nor her rival are yet capable of focusing on anything beyond this moment and this green boat. (WHINES) I want the green boat. This is not to say Anastasija can't focus beyond the now if it suits her.

(SPEAKS EXCITEDLY) When she sets herself a goal, she proves to be a good problem-solver,

not getting upset when she hits a hurdle and carrying the task right through to the end. Sit down, Anastasija, please. Good job. Her big stumbling block at the moment is regulating her attention

when someone other than herself sets the goal. On your bottoms. On your bottoms so everyone can see. On your bottoms - that's it. You too, Anastasija.

Anastasija, come and sit down with your legs crossed.

Come and sit down and we can have a look at these animals later on. It takes more mental effort for Anastasija to sit quietly and listen to a story than to do something that impulsively seems more fun -

grabbing a felt dog from behind the blackboard. (SINGS) # Shake them, shake them, shake them # Shake them just like this... # Come and sit down. # Roll them, roll them, roll them, blow a little... # But it is only her first day at preschool. It takes time for toddlers to find a good balance between rules and freedom, learning to behave responsibly of their own free will whether grown-ups are around or not.

I think it's important to remember some of the world's most successful people continually buck the system

and didn't fit in at all well But the ability to focus attention is helpful for a child at school. And recent research is showing us that the ability to focus attention both on the boring and on the fun

may be more important than intelligence

in order for kids to do well. Ready? Kiss mummy! Say bye-bye. Bye! Bye, Mummy! Over the next two years, Anastasija will have to learn paying attention to even the tedious things in life can be rewarding. Au revoir, Mummy! Yassu, Mummy! Yassu, Mummy! And the challenge for her parents is to teach her this without stifling the adventurous and driven child they have helped her become. Ciao, Mummy! Ciao, Mummy! In the race to master their behaviour, it can take only one little hurdle to slow a child down. Take three-year-old Jara'na. Jara'na's personality is pretty much a show-off. I dump in spiders. Very inquisitive and got a really good imagination. It's in the bed with another worm.

Jara'na's favourite word would have to be 'mum'. Here he is - Buzz Lightyear to the rescue! In the imaginary world of this toddler a plastic bucket can transform him into a superhero... I'm Buzz Lightyear. ..a piece of bark into a chef... ..and a stick into a fisherman. Getting any bites? Jara'na can pick up anything and amuse himself for hours. But there's one catch - he can't do it without his mum, Michelle, at his side. Since turning two, probably maybe a bit before then, he just started becoming really clingy, and, um, I couldn't leave. Like, if I went to another room, he'd sort of be right behind me.

Just if - I can't go anywhere - just start crying and saying, "Oh, Mum's left me. She's not coming back." And, yeah, he's become really clingy. This is very different to the Jara'na we first met in 'Life at 1'. MAN: May the spirits of the ancestors be with you and continue to protect you and guide you. The youngest in a family of six children

he was a self-contained and social little boy. Well, he was just outgoing when he was younger and then he went back into his shell. And he was very withdrawn and only wanted to spend time with mum, didn't want to get involved with anything outside of his known environment, I guess you could say. I just put it down to a phase in his personality.

Bye. But there has been one major change in Jara'na's life. His stay-at-home mum started a part-time nursing course and Jara'na's now going to child care one day a week. You're three now. You're a big boy. Big boy. It's 7:30am and the calm before the storm.

When Jara'na realises he's going to child care the floodgates open. (CRIES) Come here. Come on, bubba. Mum's got to go to TAFE. I want to stay home. Mum'll pick you up early, alright? This is Jara'na's fourth month at the centre and he still cries every time he arrives.

Bye. Sh... (CRIES) The intense anxiety he feels at separating from his mother is unusual for a toddler his age. And then you do, you feel like going back and getting him. And Paul can't do it - he's terrible. He can't handle it. Yeah, I mean I feel terrible but I know he does calm down. Here you go, Jara'na, here's big trees. Jara'na does settle, but it takes a persistent carer, a good five minutes of distraction... ..and an ant. Where is it going to go? Look! It's going to climb up on the window. (GASPS) And after an hour his anxiety's forgotten as he leads the assault on a resident spider. No! Don't touch it! Don't touch it! Jara'na's intense emotions could be a taste of how difficult he'll find it

to navigate the highs and lows of life. Or maybe it's just a passing phase. Was not biting now. No. What about that? What we do know is since Jara'na was a baby, he's demonstrated an astonishing capacity to focus his mind. Here is a child who truly gets how things work.

What's that? That's...that's a sunroof like ours, look. When the Life series took this toddler out of his comfort zone, even his dad is surprised how easily Jara'na settles down to play without his mum nearby. Then, in the experiment, he displays a remarkably mature reaction when playtime is over.

Gotta go and do something else now. I wanna finish.

We're going to see Buzz, remember? We're supposed to catch up with him so if we chuck these in here we can find him. Oh, excellent. Rather than staying upset, he enthusiastically packs up when his dad suggests playing an imaginary game with his superhero. we can't find him. It's a skill scientists call delayed gratification. To be able to delay gratification,

you have to have a sense of the future - that what I do now has implications for the future. So it might be very small things like if you pack up the toys now

we'll be able to do something special afterwards. It might be a longer-term thing - practising your violin now will pay off for the future. So it's all that to do with putting in effort now

and being able to cope with not getting what you want in the short-term for the sake of something better in the longer term. What are you making?

Making a wheel. So, Jara'na has some very useful tools to realise separating from his mum isn't the end of the earth. How well this helps him handle the many new challenges he's destined to face in the coming years is something we'll find out with time. Two months have passed since we last saw Daniel. Jamie's here. Where? His brother Jamie's tragic condition hasn't changed. No, no, no. That's not Jamie. Where's Jamie? (REPLIES INDISCERNIBLY) Yeah. DOOR KNOCKS Daddy! DOOR KNOCKS Hello, Daddy. Hello. What are you doing? But his parents have come up with a plan to ensure Daniel doesn't get the short end of the stick. His father, Rodney, is making a huge effort to be home by 6:00 every evening to play with Daniel and put him to bed. Push hard. More, more.

There we go.

I feel I'm making more of an effort to be with Daniel myself, and - because I want to, it's not because I feel I should like I did before. What I've noticed in Daniel is that he's happy, he's smiling, and for me that's just been, you know, it's priceless.

You can't put a price on that. (GURGLES) Daniel is no longer waking up in tears. He's back to being the bubbly and spirited child we met at 1.

Where are your shoes? But just as they get their lives back on track, this young family is dealt the cruellest blow. At the age of just 4.5, Daniel's brother dies. Jamie caught pneumonia.

It only took 24 hours for his defeated body

to be overwhelmed by the infection. He slipped away in the arms of his parents. It's very sad that we've lost him. And we'll forever miss him. But it's sweet in the sense that he's no longer suffering, and he's no longer in pain and he's free. Yeah, but he's not here.

That's the bitterness, that he's no longer with us. Sorry. It's alright, luv. It's five days since Jamie died.

Rodney and Kathryn must prepare not just themselves but also Daniel for the worst day of their lives. This morning, this family will bury a son and a brother. Where's Jamie? Jamie ta-tas. Jamie gone ta-tas. Love you. Daniel, in his own way, knows that Jamie's either gone or -

I don't think he understands exactly where, that he's died, but he's either said Jamie's gone or Jamie's ta-tas or Jamie's sleeping. In his own little way he knows that Jamie's not with us anymore. (DANIEL SQUEALS)

Let him go, let him go. He can go wherever he likes. "Jamie, you were born on the 25 October, 2002, We noticed from an early age

there was something nice, something special, about him." We're making a point to constantly remind Daniel that Jamie was - or IS his brother. I'm not ever going to say I've got one child because we don't, we've had two children. Had two children. We still have two children, it's just that Jamie's no longer with us. I'm privileged to have been your mum. You are truly an angel. You're forever in my heart. And I love you, my precious baby. It is goodbye for now but we'll see each other again. Until then, you are with me always. We've let Daniel be a part of the whole process.

A lot of people go, "Oh, but children don't understand." But if you talk to them at their understanding they do comprehend it. I think if we hadn't done that, if we'd sheltered him and protected him,

he wouldn't understand "Why is Jamie here now but now he's not?"

His courage, dexterity and bravery made us all very proud.

Bye, mate. We're proud of you and we'll miss you heaps.

Bye, Jamie. Get your flower. Blow a kiss. Love you, Jamie. Love you, Jamie.

Say bye, Jamie. In the sky. Bye, Jamie. It's four months later. Rodney and Kathryn are still grief-stricken.

But Daniel is helping them get through the day.

He makes me get up, makes me not sit there and think - I'm not a person to really drown in my own sorrow

but some days you think, "Oh, it's just too hard to look after him."

But, you know, then you snap out of it in two seconds and you get on with what you need to do for him. School? Yes?

Alright, we'll get some Wheat Bix.

Human beings display an extraordinary skill in the face of adversity. Scientists call it the ordinary magic of resilience. It's our ability to bounce back from tragedy, suffering, and grief. Even a child as young as Daniel can demonstrate a tremendous capacity for resilience.

What do you reckon? Daddy! Daniel's very excited at coming into the room. I start now? Bye, bye. ASSISTANT: See you, Daniel. with great energy, And he farewells our assistant with her. showing that he's made a connection Where's Percy? so fast Making that sort of connection to make bonds with others. helps resilient children You can support them. of resilience Another important aspect feeling positive about yourself, is having good self-esteem, that sort of sense of himself. and Daniel shows that he has was over here? Who is this that I said Who's that? See, Daddy? Exactly. Percy! good at focusing his attention. Daniel's also showing that he's very This aspect of self-regulation build resilience. is a key tool in helping a child that they're well equipped And that means personal problems to solve the sort of in life as well. that they might be encountering On the track. Percy... When there's a family crisis, is likely to be enhanced resilience in a child and caring adults around when there are responsive and secure in the future. who help the child to feel confident

it can be other adults as well. And that doesn't have to be parents, Very good. Very good. So what we are seeing

of some rare or special quality is that resilience isn't a matter resources that we have around us, but it's the everyday magic of the both inside and out. Over the past two years,

manage the powerful emotions Daniel's resilience has helped him that can lead to bad behaviour. What about the dolly over there? for the future And it's a great foundation Good boy. of life. as he travels the often rocky road to control his behaviour So what resources does a child need when his parents split up?

little boy. Wyatt is a very, very cheeky No. You love Daddy? No!? Loves the girls, loves his cars.

Hop down. parents decided to call it quits Wyatt was just 1.5 when his young on their relationship.

was finishing high school At the time, his mum, Tamara, at a local supermarket. and had a part-time job Stop.

Ta! Ta! the dawn shift at an abattoir His dad, Glenn, was working

in the afternoon. and looking after Wyatt

for these teen parents. It was too much pressure Me and Tamara would start arguing a fair bit and decided it would be better on Wyatt if we broke up instead of fighting all the time. Yeah. Wyatt is now two.

Daddy's here. Daddy! My Daddy! Over the past six months, we've seen an ongoing conflict develop about how often Glenn sees Wyatt.

You going to say goodbye? Bye. Give me a kiss. Glenn doesn't have a set time when he gets Wyatt. You more or less have to beg Glenn to take him

because Wyatt wants to see him. Mummy walk you downstairs? Daddy come? Yeah, Daddy come. And then Glenn always comes up with he's working or he's already made plans and I should have told him earlier. Glenn has a different take on how much time he spends with his son. (CAR REVS)

I got him. Usually if Tamara's working, Tamara's got him. And then if I'm working Or Mum's got him. You finished?

We've got him tomorrow? Dunno yet. You never know.

I haven't decided. Waddya mean, you haven't decided? and what time I get home. Depends if I go out tonight (WHISTLE BLOWS) in the Longitudinal Study Over 15% of children from one of their parents. are living apart

for behaviour problems. They're the highest-risk candidates No! to a major failure in self-control Separation and divorce can lead for a child. This is because

early in life with their parents the bond that a child forms is threatened. of their emotions. And the child loses control breakdown can lead to bad behaviour. There's no doubt that family Who bought you Skittles? is trying to identify So what we're doing in this study in the child's world exactly what's happening that leads to these poorer outcomes. since Wyatt's parents broke up. Over a year has passed some big changes in his life. He's now three and there's been

Hello! His mother's graduated from school at the supermarket. and is working full-time to move herself and Wyatt This has given Tamara the cash of teenage friends. into a shared household Have a good sleep? Wyatt actually loves it in this house are still children. because most of the people Are you ready, bubba? because they all love 'im. They always put Wyatt first (SPEAKS JAPANESE) Ha! And when Wyatt is with Glenn, with his dad's godfather, Peter. he shares the house Your turn. My turn! five kilometres apart. Wyatt's two households are less than And this might make a big difference negotiates his parent's break-up. in how well this little boy The study found lives within 20km that when a non-resident parent

and regular contact with the child. there's more frequent Oh, cuddles. Love you too. to have a sleep over, Children are more likely between the child and the parent. which is good for the emotional bond lower hostility between parents - It also is usually associated with aren't getting on well together we know that when parents that's a significant predictor outcomes for kids. of poor emotional and behavioural Hey, little man! Hey, Dad! Did you play football? Now that Tamara and Glenn have settled arrangements, into their separate living Wyatt is getting the stability desperately needs. the child of separated parents You throw them football? every week He sees Glenn at least three days on the weekend. and sleeps over two nights Be naughty. Love you.

Yeah, it's in the side there. Did you bring his bottle? Yeah, they're in the bag (!) So he can sleep? And clothes?

No. And toys?

Not bringin' around all the toys. No toys? But when a child's parents break up,

there is another important safety net for their welfare.

Money. When a family separates, how much money there is in the home. there's often immediate change to Be better off in your room. Who's that? often has to go out to work The resident parent or increase their hours. less available to the child. So, they're going to be fundamental changes There can also be for child development. in access to materials

and opportunities. Things like books, toys These can have a big impact on child development. Who's got that side? Yeah, hop in. OK, you can drive. You car keys? The way we work - 'cause Glenn brought me a car. I said for him, instead of paying me maintenance, he can just put it towards the car, so I always have a car to take Wyatt around. Well, now the car is sitting at his dad's house doing nothing. And he's not helping. But over the past two years Glenn has had problems holding onto a steady job.

Pretty much at the moment I've got nothing for work. I just brought his bed last week because he was sleeping in my bed and I was sick of him kicking me every night. So I went out and brought him that bed. And then hopefully next weekend I'll have clothes for him, so, instead of Tamara bringing clothes over for him all the time, I got clothes here for him by himself and hopefully more toys, hey? No-o-o. Why not? My toys, my home. Making my bed! Hey! Hey, what? Hey what! Tuck it in. Tuck it in. Wyatt's young parents are feeling the pressure of not having enough money and time to provide everything they think this toddler needs. Do corner! That corner. But remarkably, no matter what happens in his life, Wyatt appears to be unfazed. Guess what? It's too small. This one? I don't even know where the other sheets are. Scientists believe that some children are simply blessed with a temperament that allows them to control their behaviour effortlessly. I'd say he's overall quite an easy child.

by which I mean that he's quite adaptable, he's not too intense in his emotions, he finds it fairly easy to get along with others.

Box! And this is something he's partly come into the world with, that's part of his intrinsic temperament. And the other car! The car. Given that Wyatt's parents have separated, that does make him statistically in a higher-risk category, but we have to remember that risk is not destiny and he has other protective factors around him in his life.

How a child copes with the break-up of their parents is a hot topic in the science of child development. (MAKES WHIPPING NOISE) Ready? Over time the study hopes to find out how much a child's temperament helps them deal with these often difficult times. (CRIES OUT) For now, Wyatt's doing well and the cast of people who look after him are reinforcing that change is normal

and he is supported and loved. Love you! Love you, Mum. Love you, bubba. Five months after they buried their eldest son,

Daniel's family is about to move house.

Boo! (GIGGLES) Their rental property is up for sale,

so Kathryn and Rodney have decided to take the plunge

and buy their first home. What are you going to pack in there? (SPEAKS EXCITEDLY) Are you gonna go in? (GIGGLES)

When you move, you cull a lot of stuff. So I'm hoping that this move will actually allow me to emotionally cull a lot of things as well. (GIGGLES) Tip it, Daddy! Tip it! I'm just trying to take a fresh start on things. Tip it!

Wee! Rodney and Kathryn's dream of a happy life together is still a work in progress.

But this move may well be a step in the right direction. And the other good news is that the study has found Rodney's decision to make more time for his son over this critical period could boost Daniel's capacity to develop into a balanced and well-behaved child. He's out of the box! He's going to get you! The study's not looking for perfect parenting. It's looking at how parenting happens. And in doing that, there was a very important discovery in the data. We found that when parents make even relatively small changes

in their parenting style, and by that I mean are a little more warm, are a little more engaged and consistent with their kid those changes translate into really significant and better outcomes for their child. So what that's telling us

is that we don't have to be super-parents. We just have to make small changes

and be more flexible in our parenting styles.

Over the next two years, we'll watch Daniel and all our children

prepare for their next epic step in life - their first day at school. Declan will give me the quickest kiss and hug and then be taking off into the classroom at a million miles an hour. I'd say he'd be probably really sooky.

Probably be proud that he's going to school

and...getting an education more than what I did. Probably feel like I haven't spent as much time as I should have. I think Anastasija on her first day of school will be going, "What parents? Look at this! There's kids to play with! I'm outta here! I'm gone!" For children, the start of school can be emotionally challenging or a wonderful adventure.

And it's a gigantic leap into the greatest journey of all - life. ALL: Bye! SONG: # I am a child for all to see # Here is my home here is my family # Hold my hand, enjoy the ride

# We all have a tie # For this is life

# You know my secrets, you have the key # You open up the world to me # When you see it through my eyes

# We all have a tie # Now is the time # For this is life. # Closed Captions by CSI