Things at home

Challenges at home can have a significant impact on student behaviour, academic outcomes and relationships at school. The types of challenges students may experience at home include family conflict, grief or loss, domestic violence, separation or divorce, financial issues, or cultural issues.

A safe, supportive and connected learning environment is important for all our students, especially when their home environment doesn’t feel like this. Establish clear expectations and consistent routines and rules, model respectful relationships, and regularly check-in and refer students to help-seeking sources if you are concerned about their wellbeing.

Top tips for supporting your students

  • A safe, supportive and connected learning environment at school is crucial. Establish clear expectations and consistent routines and rules, and model respectful and positive relationships.

  • Notice and respond to changes in students’ attitudes and behaviours, such as lateness or absence, self-doubt, changes to hygiene, and physical health complaints such as stomach problems and fatigue.

  • It can be helpful to have a private conversation with a student if you are concerned about things at home. Check that they are okay, listen to them, provide reassurance, and refer them to the school counsellor or other help-seeking sources if required.

  • Try to use inclusive language and communication approaches with your students. For example, avoid asking students to get ‘Mum’ or ‘Dad’ to sign their note; instead, keep it generic – instead, you could say: ‘the person at home who signs your notes’.

  • Vulnerable students may have experienced trauma or have developed attachment issues that can impact on their behaviour and emotional regulation in the classroom. They may react to situations in ways you do not expect. It can be helpful to approach talking about home-life carefully and respectfully, avoid public confrontations, and provide chill-out tools or spaces for when students feel overwhelmed.

Classroom activities

Self-care hand

When students learn to look after themselves, it builds their self-confidence and helps them to focus more on the positive things in their life. There are some steps students can take to encourage the habit of self-care.

Music as a coping strategy

During this lesson, students will consider different ways music can help them to cope if they are going through a tough time or struggling to focus.

Using rewards to stay motivated

Students identify one goal they wish to achieve and look at ways to keep motivated to achieve it.

Self-efficacy

Self-efficacy is using success in an area of life as a personal reference point for ability, and then working on this to create further success. Students can form a sense of personal achievement that increases their confidence and optimism.

Connectedness and reaching out

Through this activity, students will see the importance of help-seeking through connections with other people. They identify different support networks available to them outside of the family network.

Resources for students

ReachOut works with young people across Australia to develop content. You could share some of these resources with your students.

Resolving conflict with family

Everyone has family conflict. Occasional tension or arguments are a normal part of family life. Whether it’s with your parents or siblings, there are things you can do to stop conflict from getting worse. However, if you feel unsafe or can’t resolve it on your own, you should get help. Learn more about what steps you can take.

Conflict between family and culture

Feeling stuck between two cultures can create confusion and conflict: your family wants one thing, and you want something completely different. Australia is a multicultural country, so this is a very common situation for young Australians, but there are things you can do about it.

5 ways to get your parents to really listen to you

Good communication with your parents or carers is key to having your life run smoothly. But if things in your family are more shouty than sympathetic, learn how to flip it and get your message across.

Places to access help and support for family problems

If you’re having family issues and problems, help is available. Learn more about nationwide or state-based family services that can put you in contact with someone near you.

Resources for parents and carers

ReachOut works with parents across Australia to develop content that helps them to support their young person. You could share some of these resources with your parent community.

Family conflict and teenagers

Conflict is a normal part of family life and can often escalate during teenage years. There are simple tools parents can use to help minimise the impact of conflict on their children and strengthen family relationships.

Managing family conflict

Conflict within families is a very normal experience, especially where there are a lot of people in one house. Watch ReachOut’s video on family conflict and learn how you can manage conflict within your home.

Separation and teenagers

Divorce and separation can be tough on both parents and kids. With the right support and planning, you can give your teen the skills to adapt to the change and continue to have a positive outlook for the future.

You’re more alike than you think

Parents and teenagers often think they’re on different planets. But what if we told you you're far more alike than you imagined? Watch ReachOut’s video where a father of eight shares some wisdom about shared emotions and how you can get on the same page with your kids.

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