Parental conflict and healthy relationships

Reducing parental conflict and managing healthy relationships

All parents, whether they live together or are separated or divorced, will experience disagreements; it is a normal part of living together or raising a family. There are different stages of our lives where disagreements become more regular, for example with the arrival of a baby, or during a separation.

But when disagreements become frequent, intense, and remain unresolved, it can be a difficult time for everyone and may have a negative and long-lasting impact on children – even if parents don’t set out to expose them to any conflict.

Conflict between parents can include

  • aggression
  • criticism
  • deliberate silence
  • lack of respect (like regular put-downs, mocking the other parent or, sarcasm)

It can occur when parents have different parenting styles, are stressed about financial, housing or health issues, or when there are trust issues in the relationship.

If you are concerned about conflict in your relationship, our free One Plus One programme may be able to help.

Child, hiding around a corner, listening to their parents arguing

The One Plus One programme

The One Plus One programme is a free programme designed to help parents:

  • learn how to address conflict and stop it from escalating
  • better understand the impact of their arguments on their children
  • learn techniques to communicate better, handle stress, and manage conflict more constructively

The programme seeks to address conflict below the threshold of domestic abuse, stopping it from escalating.

In 2022, 48 families took part in the programme, which is run by trained practitioners from our children’s centres. Here’s what some of our parents have said about the programme:

I’ve learnt how to resolve conflict with people in a progressive manner that doesn’t cause tension or further arguments. Also, how to also understand other people’s methods of communication and resolving conflict as well as reflecting my own.

I’ve realised how damaging my behaviour has been and not just to ex. I’ve learned the impact it’s had on my children. Children should never need to be in the middle of their parents.

We are going to put what we have learnt into place, be more understanding with each other and put the children first.

If you recognise any of the signs of conflict in your own relationship, the One Plus One programme may be able to help. To find out more about the programme, or to attend one near you, register online or call your local children’s centre to speak to a practitioner there about starting the course.

Other resources

There are a number of other organisations who offer more information about parental conflict and how to manage it.


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