Reports and publications (published elsewhere)

Strengths of Australian Aboriginal cultural practices in family life and child rearing

Posted on: 1 October, 2014
Issue: Vol 14 No 4, October 2014 – December 2014
Related to Cultural ways Social and emotional wellbeing Family

Lohoar S, Butera N, Kennedy E (2014)
Strengths of Australian Aboriginal cultural practices in family life and child rearing
Melbourne: Child Family Community Australia

This paper explores traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practices that ‘work’ and contribute to children staying safe so they can grow to be active contributors to family and community life. It aims to:

  • identify the characteristics of Aboriginal culture that contribute to effective family functioning and child-rearing practices
  • contribute to the body of knowledge about Aboriginal family and community life, to promote greater understanding about traditional Aboriginal cultural practices
  • explore the ways in which service providers working with non-Indigenous families might draw from some of the strengths of traditional Aboriginal family practices.

Four key themes were explores through a series of focus groups in three locations Victoria, North Queensland and the Northern Territory in October 2013. Participants included parents, carers and community members, including Aboriginal Elders. Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) staff conducted the focus groups. The four themes were:

  • a collective community focus on child rearing helps children
  • children need the freedom to explore and experience the world
  • elderly family members are important to family functioning
  • spirituality helps families cope with challenges.

When viewed together, the themes presented in this paper highlight some of the strengths of Aboriginal culture in terms of raising children and family functioning. The authors highlight that the views in this paper may not be the views of Aboriginal people in general however, they do, highlight cultural strengths that appear to be shared by Australian Aboriginal people.

Abstract adapted from Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

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