What is self-esteem?
How does it form personal identity?
Why is self-esteem important for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child?
Culture plays a key role in Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children’s development, identity and self-esteem, and in determining the overall well-being needs of the child. The child’s cultural and spiritual development is the role of their family and community, and this is where you, as the carer are in a position to maintain these connections.
Children who are strong in their culture and see that people who are important to them support their culture will be more able to engage in opportunities to achieve their life goals.
Ways to increase and encourage a child’s self-esteem
Some suggestions to explore
Identity and community
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, developing a strong identity
includes developing a strong identity with your community.
Family and community are valuable sources of cultural knowledge and skills, and linking the child with community and participating in events can help children to feel a sense of being and belonging as part of the community.
Display photos and pictures of community members, community land and important historical events within the home
Celebrate NAIDOC week and National Aboriginal and Islander Children’s Day
Build a relationship with community members and Elders
Help the child develop an understanding of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultural beliefs and practices. This may help you to learn too!
Connect with community members who can share traditional stories and songs with the child
Identity and Family
Children feel a sense of identity when their families are honored, positively spoken about and still part of the child’s life.
Create a family tree with the child
Let the child display or put up any family photos they like
Get to know the child’s family and culture – where is their family from and what is their cultural group?
Identity and Culture
Try to incorporate culture on a daily, ongoing basis.
Share Dreaming Stories with children as a valuable, creative and fun way to talk about culture
Look around your house and make sure that the environment says ‘if you’re Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander you belong here’
Play and make traditional music – using clapsticks, didgeridoos and drums such as warups
Have discussions with children around identity, land, history and what it means to be Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, and from their particular culture
Identity, Nature and Tradition
Connecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to nature and traditional uses of the land helps them to develop a sense of identity and connection to the land.
Reflect the natural environment within the home, by including native plants from the local area
Visit your local nature park to teach children about hunting, bush foods, stories and traditions
Go on nature walks to collect bush tucker, bush materials and to build shelters
If possible, create an area in your outdoor play space where the child can cook traditional foods like kangaroo tails and have campfires
Culture and Language
Learning and maintaining traditional language supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to develop a strong identity and effective communication skills.
Keep the child linked in with community and
elders so that language can be taught
Read books and sing songs in language
Children who are loners tend to be more vulnerable to bullies.
Start early to help children develop friendships and social skills.