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Cultural differences and conflict

Our kids’ wellbeing is impacted by cross cultural issues, often through discrimination and lack of acceptance. There are ways you can support your child through this.

Two families - one embracing their culture, the other one looking isolated

What is culture?

Culture is the accepted norms and practices of a particular group of people.

  • We often see a person’s cultural background through their language and race
  • We also see it through their art, music, food and style of clothing
  • A cultural group can share the same gender, age, sexual preference, spirituality, physical issues or social status, among other things

“Standing for cultural acceptance and standing by your child against discrimination makes the world a safer place for them”

How can cultural discrimination harm young people?

Cultural discrimination is when a person is treated less favourably because of their culture. Australia provides laws to protect its citizens but despite this, some young people are insulted, humiliated or threatened because of their culture. It can lead to:

Feelings of sadness and lack of trust in other people
Isolation and exclusion
Depression and feeling suicidal
Anxiety and fear of being attacked verbally or physically
Inability to concentrate on study or work
Post-traumatic stress and flashbacks
Managing urges to retaliate and consequences of doing so
Feelings of anger and frustration

What can I do to encourage cultural acceptance?

As a parent, you can provide support to your child if they have been discriminated against. You can also encourage cultural acceptance through your own actions.

Raise your child with pride in their own cultural identity

If your child is hurt by discrimination, remind them of their strengths

Avoid reacting in anger or retaliating in front of your child

Encourage them to be assertive where safe to do so

Expose your child to multicultural experiences and diverse friendships

Talk with them about stereotypes and actively challenge these

Reassure your child that they're not alone

Tell them discrimination is not ok

Talk positively about other cultures

Alert the authorities, if required

Support for you and your child

Join with others who celebrate cultural differences and take a stand against discrimination.

If you see discrimination online or in person, you can report it. Check out these organisations for more information.

This content was last reviewed 14/02/2018

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