Migrant & Refugee Young People Negotiating Adolescence in Australia

Adolescence is a significant time for young people helping to inform their development and sense of identity. For many migrant and refugee young people, parents and families this occurs while also negotiating a new cultural, social and legal context. This creates additional complexities for migrant and refugee young people and their families.

While this process of negotiating cultural values and norms can be positive, allowing for new perspectives to be developed, at the extreme it can also lead to conflict and family breakdown. This is particularly the case for families that experience multiple and complex settlement barriers such as changes in family dynamics, adjusting to new cultural norms and economic disadvantage.

This paper explores, from a young person’s perspective, how these issues impact on family relationships. It highlights the need to involve family and communities in developing a service response that acknowledges where young people and families are coming from.