Children’s emotional and behavioural difficulties are the result of multiple individual, social and contextual factors working in concert. The current paper proposes a theoretical framework for interpreting students’ emotional and behavioural difficulties in classrooms, by taking into consideration teacher-student interactions, students’ social skills and classroom context. Based on Bronfenbrenner’s model, according to which process, person and context are the main sources of children’s development, the current paper combines three theoretical approaches: firstly, in terms of process, the systems communication approach, which refers to teacher-student interactions; secondly, in terms of person, social and emotional learning, which refers to children’s social skills; and thirdly, in terms of classroom context, the achievement goal theory, with its emphasis on the mastery of classroom goal structure. Empirical support for the framework resulted in the administration of four instruments to 962 primary students: (a) QTI for teacher-student interactions, (b) MESSY for students’ social skills; (c) CGS for classroom context; and (d) SDQ for students’ emotional and behavioural difficulties. It was found that students’ possession of social skills had a prominent role in the prediction of emotional and behavioural difficulties, while teacher-student interactions and classroom context also affected students’ emotional and behavioural difficulties. This perspective provides educators with a theoretical and practical tool for understanding emotional and behavioural difficulties.