Conflict is a normal part of any parent relationship. It only starts to become a problem when the conflict is frequent, intense and not resolved well.
Latest research tells us that conflict of this type can harm children’s outcomes.
- evidence shows reducing conflict between parents is one of the most effective ways to reduce mental health problems in children
- family conflict costs the public sector around £46 billion a year through related services
- exposure to frequent conflict between parents is associated with a range of problems for children and young people. This can include poorer academic outcomes, negative peer relationships, substance misuse and poor future relationships.
Parental conflict and domestic abuse are two separate things, but it can sometimes be difficult to work out if your relationship is abusive or just in a bad place.
As a general guide, if your relationship with your partner, ex-partner or a member of your family is abusive:
- they will want to hold all the power and control
- you might be afraid of them
- the abuse will have happened more than once, or you will notice patterns.
Visit the early help section of the Family Information Directory for further information on domestic abuse support services.
This guide from the Stefanou Foundation is designed for professionals when trying to work out if a relationship is healthy, has conflict or is abusive.
Relate - Advice on how to handle arguments
CAFCASS - A guide to support practitioners working with families where there is deemed to be harmful conflict. The guide contains a range of tools including; Dispute resolution skills and technique guidance, parenting styles tool, distinguishing domestic abuse and harmful conflict tool, cafcass positive parenting, a programme suitability criteria tool, a children’s belief about parental divorce tool.
One Plus One are a charity offering digital resources and information that will help to improve the quality of relationships. Their resources section includes links to resources for:
- Couples having a baby together (Me, You and Baby too)
- General advice, information and support on relationship issues (Click relationships) and Getting it Right for Children
- A series of videos #SeeitDifferently showing examples of how disagreements and arguments can be resolved more constructively.
- Support for parents struggling with alcohol
The 'Happy Families, Happy Futures' programme is designed to improve communication and ease tension between parents or carers, supporting a happy environment for their children.
Free face to face interventions are available to parents (co-habiting or separated) to help them build healthier relationships by managing disagreements and conflict more constructively.
Please note: Parents are required to complete an online screening process to establish eligibility.
We currently have access to FREE online training for anyone who works with or comes into contact with children and families and who is interested in improving their knowledge and skills to support parents who may be having relationship issues.