Family stories: video content for parents with teenagers

We have been working with for several years and have immense respect for their participatory approach to research and design. We recently conducted research on the ReachOut Parents website, providing insights and stories to inform the creation of engaging videos for parents with teenagers.

The research found that videos need to reference real life stories and situations experienced by Australian families with teenagers. They need to get to the heart of the matter so families can relate and learn from realistic stories.


The project involved two stages of research

We started with in home family immersions as exploratory research. For these sessions we recruited families with experience of peer pressure, bullying, family tension, conflict and stress. To take care of our participants, we made sure families were not in the middle of these challenging issues and were in a good place to discuss the experience. 

All participants completed a pre-task to prepare for the interviews. The parents wrote a letter to a friend describing some of the challenges they have experienced and any tips they might like to share with a friend in a similar situation. The young people created a topographical map to represent the kinds of challenges young people face during high school and the things that help or hinder as they navigate each obstacle.

Stage one: exploring to gather candid stories and examples




For the immersions themselves, we met with the parent and young person separately. To speak openly and honestly about the experience we often needed to whisper, close bedroom doors or turn up the music. 

During this phase of the research we discovered how diverse and complex life with a teenager can be (even within our small sample).

Parents were often unsure how to manage their own stress and anxiety, and felt unprepared or uncertain when things that worked well for one child didn’t for others.

During the interviews we kept hearing parents and teenagers describing similar emotions and frustrations. Both feel underappreciated, misunderstood, angry and in some instances isolated. It can be a volatile time for everyone. Young people thought parents needed help communicating effectively: staying calm, listening and taking the time to understand how they are feeling beneath the anger.

Insights from the research were used to develop a set of draft videos

Stage two: evaluating and optimising the videos

While the videos were in production we invited parents to review, rate and help optimise the content, style, length and tone of twelve videos. 

We created three teams of parents to review four videos each using the ‘Qualtrics’ survey platform. 

We knew the content resonated because several parents commented on how much they enjoyed completing the survey.

As an outcome, we identified which videos are ‘good to go’ and a few keys ways the videos could be enhanced to better meet the identified UX Goals.

Parents are hungry for practical tips, strategies and techniques they can apply right away.

The videos are now live and being watched and shared!