Strengthening Parental Relationships is Hampshire’s Reducing Parental Conflict offer, a government funded programme which aims to support parents and carers with their relationship. Some level of arguing and conflict between parents is often a normal part of everyday life. However, there is strong evidence to show how inter-parental conflict that is frequent, intense and poorly resolved can have a significant negative impact on children’s mental health and long-term life chances.
The programme is aimed at harmful conflict when there is no domestic abuse present. Damaging conflict between parents can be expressed in many ways such as:
- lack of respect
- lack of resolution
Conflict can affect children in all types of parental relationships, including:
- parents who are in a relationship, whether married or not
- parents who have separated or divorced
- biological and step parents
- other family members playing a parenting role
- foster and adoptive parents
- same-sex couples
We know that children really care about the relationship between their parents / carers. It is better for children when parents can stay calm and sort out their differences without shouting and criticising or giving the silent treatment. Even if one parent makes a change, it can have a positive effect on how things go in an argument.
This toolkit provides information and resources for parents /carers whether together, separated or considering separation, who want to find ways to improve their relationship and get on better.
This 2 minute video from the Early Intervention Foundation explains why parental conflict matters to children and to services:
There is strong evidence that conflict between parents – whether together or separated – can have a significant negative impact on children’s mental health and long-term life chances. While all relationships will experience conflict, it is when conflict is frequent, intense and poorly resolved that it can be damaging to children. The programme is aimed at harmful conflict when there is no domestic abuse present.
In Hampshire we want all children to have the best possible start in life and be supported by the whole community to succeed. Building on principles of resilience for children, young people and their families; hearing the voice of children to shape priorities and enabling children to enjoy their childhood, be safe and have fun. We want children and young people in Hampshire to understand what a healthy relationship should look like and how to seek help if they need it.
It is our aim to support the wide range of multi-agency practitioners working directly with children and families across Hampshire to ensure anyone working on the frontline can support individuals and couples confidently, using the same language and tools.
Having spoken to practitioners locally and listened to feedback from other areas who have been delivering their Reducing Parental Conflict (RPC) offer for some time, we have agreed to call our RPC offer: Strengthening Parental Relationships. We hope that this is more accessible for families and fits well with the strengths based approach we value in Hampshire.
Parental conflict is very different to domestic abuse. No one should ever make someone feel threatened or unsafe. If you think this is how someone you work with feels or you are worried about someone’s behaviour, there are organisations and services that are there to support them. Access Domestic abuse support and information (Hampshire County Council) to find details on the support service available.
They can also call the Advice Line: on 03300 165 112.
Always dial 999 if they are in immediate danger or in an emergency.