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Reducing parental conflict

Parent holding a child's hand

What is parental conflict?

Most of us have arguments or disagree at times in our relationship, but sometimes conflict can increase to a level that's not healthy for family life.

Not all conflict is damaging, however when children witness adults who argue often or ignore each other frequently, it can have a negative impact.

This can impact your child's:

  • behaviour
  • mental and physical health
  • self-esteem
  • academic achievements
  • future relationships with others

Conflict can impact parents and carers who are in a relationship, and those who are separated or divorced. Conflict can also occur in all types of families.

What might cause conflict in relationships?

Conflict can occur for many reasons such as:

Strategies to reduce conflict

There are many things we can do to reduce conflict within our relationships.

  • Tell your partner/co-parent how a situation makes you feel in a calm manner.
  • Make sure everyone has an opportunity to voice their view, and provide time for the other person to respond to what has been said.
  • Choose the right time to address things. A quiet time in the evening may be more appropriate than around the dinner table.
  • Spend more quality time together.
  • Know your triggers. Think about what triggers a strong reaction and stops you from being able to think rationally.
  • Celebrate things you agree on and use this in future discussion.
  • Involve your support network.
  • Make use of your coping strategies.

Destructive versus constructive conversations

Use constructive as opposed to destructive conversations.

Constructive conversations can lead to disagreements being resolved in a positive manner whilst destructive conversations can lead to negative outcomes creating further feelings of frustration.

Mother and daughter in a shite t-shirt and a big smile cuddling

Parenting programmes and drop-ins

Keeping your child in mind

We run the Keeping your Child in Mind parenting programme which is our Reducing Parental Conflict toolkit for parents and carers.

Keeping your child in mind is a 4-week programme for parents who are ready to reflect on their own relationships, communication styles and parenting to make positive changes for themselves and their children.

Early years parenting workshops

Our early years parenting workshops can help you learn the building blocks for positive, constructive relationships and calm, confident parenting.

The sessions focus on a range of topics such as:

  • understanding behaviour
  • dealing with stress and conflict
  • boundaries and parenting
  • healthy eating

Help for young people

Our courses and youth drop-ins offer the help and support that teenagers told us they need.

We have a range of virtual and face-to-face courses for young people as well as drop-in sessions for those aged 11 to 19 (up to 25 years for those with SEND).