Developmental Dimensions in "Babies" Movie
The movie "Babies" is a documentary film that follows the development stages of four newborns from different cultures of the world. The difference and similarity on the four cultures show how each culture can influence a child's developments. The involved babies from the different regions are; Mari from Tokyo, Japan, Hattie from San Francisco, California, Ponijao from Opuwo, Namibia, and Bayar from Bayanchandmanchi, Mongolia. Within the film, the babies show the developmental changes cognitively, physically, and social-emotionally during the early developmental stage. Within the infancy and toddlerhood period, it delivers changes in the child which correspond to the surrounding depicting on the child's intellectual capacity (Berk & Meyers, 2016). However, in this paper, I have chosen "develop a Sense that One's Environment is Orderly, Predictable and Safe and develop a sense of mastery" as my two mental health development dimensions.
"Develop A Sense of Mastery" Dimension
A sense of mastery is critical in the psychological health and child developments especially in consideration to mental health development. In the art of mastery, it includes the growth in information processing, intelligence, and memory which has developed throughout the film. As a result of the different environments, the children deliver different developments; however, they all show significant progress with the help of the caregivers. Although the sense of mastery could be linked to cognitive development, it is essential to understand that the outcomes rely on the activities of their caregivers and the cultures as well. Both Mari and Hattie were from globalized and industrialized cultures thus they had a load of toys and objects to interact with while Bayar and Ponijao had nature (such as rocks, animals, and sticks).
However, Mari develops a sense of mastery, for instance, in a specific scene, she could strive to fit a ring onto a stick to build. After a series of attempts, she realized that the ring would fit which elaborates on the ability of the children to develop. In an earlier scene, Mari's father multitasks as he jiggles toys while on a call or sits Mari on his lap as he works the computer (Balmes, 2010). With such, Mari's father helps develop her sense of mastery. The four babies have different experiences with the caregivers which contributed to the understanding of mastery. Ponijao was always around his sibling or mother which may have committed to the development of some of the changes. At some point, Ponijao plays with a stick and a plastic bottle which transpires to other development changes.
Similarly, Hattie also had the mother around often. Hattie has mastered the expectation of her parents especially when she can not do something. In a specific scene, Hattie peeled a banana as she could use her index finger and thumb a skill she had mastered in attempt to grasp things (Balmes, 2010). Her caregivers (parents) take her to yoga class and chanting sessions influencing the development of the sense of mastery. Correspondingly, the knowledge of mastery is evident through Bayar as he was lying down by himself most of the time. We see Bayar in danger of being trampled by cattle or having a rooster bother him (Balmes, 2010); however, since the parents lack the luxury of hovering around him, he develops proper mastery which later on delivers the possibility of him growing up with a strong personality (Black et al., 2017).
"Develop A Sense That One's Environment Is Orderly, Predictable and Safe" Dimension
In the mental health development dimension relating to the development of the sense that one's environment is orderly, predictable, and safe, the aspect elaborates on the ability of children to get used to a given setting and develop predictability on what may be the outcome of a specific occurrence. The dimension signifies a critical aspect of the mental health of a child's development. For example, we see the Japanese Mari, being placed in a daycare center a few months of age. In one of the scenes, Mari howls with the other children as the caregivers strive to take care of all of them. Later in the movie, we see her in a self-rocking crib which when she fails to line up stacking rings properly she rolls into a temper tantrum. The event creates an impression of the ability of a baby to express frustrations and pressure from an environment she feels orderly and predictable (Greenfield & Cocking, 2014).
In conclusion, both Ponijao and Bayar are adapting to a happy-go-lucky environment as they are getting the chance to rein free as their parents are busy in household activities among other things. In one scene, Ponijao drinks from a stream and examines a bone with her mouth as she also eats off the ground. Also, she plays with the family dog opening the pet's mouth and it licks her all over. On the other hand, Bayar gets muddy as he climbs over kids' goats among other activities like following his parents' cattle (Balmes, 2010). Through the mental health development both Ponijao and Bayar have a sense of orderly and safety in the environments, they are reigning. Hattie also seems to develop as the sense that her environment is orderly and predictable. She is used to her parents sterile whereby as soon as she gets dirty, her parents wipe her. Hattie's father rubs Hattie's pajamas with a lint roller after vacuum cleaning the carpet. With the environment, she is used she is getting used to avoiding dirt compared to Bayar's and Ponijao's environment as their parents are much less concerned with dirt.
Balmes, T. (2010). Babies - Part. 1 [Film]. StudioCanal. Retrieved from http://uwconnect.adobeconnect.com/p9rbji2z9yq/
Balmes, T. (2010). Babies - Part. 2 [Film]. StudioCanal. Retrieved from http://uwconnect.adobeconnect.com/p9pwhxclopz/
Berk, L. E. & Meyers, A. B. (2016) Infants, children, and adolescents (8th edition). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Black, M. M., Walker, S. P., Fernald, L. C., Andersen, C. T., DiGirolamo, A. M., Lu, C., ... & Devercelli, A. E. (2017). Early childhood development is coming of age: science through the life course. The Lancet, 389(10064), 77-90.
Greenfield, P. M., & Cocking, R. R. (2014). Cross-cultural roots of minority child development. Psychology Press.
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