Parental Conflict

Parental Conflict

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 or Domestic Abuse?

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

The Parent Relationship Spectrum guide from the Stefanou Foundation is designed for professionals when trying to work out if a relationship is healthy, has conflict or is abusive


Early Help Training Opportunities:​


Other Useful Contacts and Resources:

Relate - Advice on how to handle arguments

CAFCASS - A guide to support practitioners working with families where there is deemed to be harmful conflict. 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, programme suitability criteria tool, children’s belief about parental divorce tool. 

Happy Families, Happy Futures - A programme for Reducing Parental Conflict (see also training available and Flyer for parents)

One Plus One - A charity offering digital resources and information that will help to improve the quality of relationships. Their resources section includes links to resources for :

Me, You and Baby too (Click) - Couples having a baby together 

Reducing Parental Conflict Hub - EIF (Early Intervention Foundation) child impact, rating interventions and more

Support for Parents who use Alcohol - for couples who want to drink less alcohol and get on better with each other