Knowledge and Resource Hub
29 January 2018

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

This paper explores some of the characteristics of traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practices that contribute to effective family functioning, and how these practices can have positive effects on children and communities. Aboriginal kinship relations involve a complex dynamic system which is not captured in non-Indigenous definitions of family. The paper identified four interrelated strengths of Aboriginal cultural traditions for raising children. First, a collective community focus on child rearing helps children. Second, Aboriginal communities offer their children every opportunity to explore and experience the world to help them develop the necessary skills to successfully negotiate their pathways to adulthood. Third, elderly family members are highly respected for their contributions to family life, particularly in helping children to understand the practical aspects of life and society. Fourth, spirituality helps families cope challenges.