Whether you are together, separated or divorced the way you communicate with each other matters to your children, regardless of how old they are.
Conflict between parents is a normal part of relationships. Not all conflict is harmful, in fact when disagreements or conflict is well resolved there is evidence that this can have a positive impact on children. You show it’s ok to disagree and role model how to resolve things in a respectful way.
There is also evidence that when conflict between parents is frequent, intense and poorly resolved it puts children and young people’s mental health at risk. Behaviours such as shouting, becoming withdrawn or slamming doors can be harmful. Whether you are parenting together, separated, divorced, are in same-sex or heterosexual relationships, are biologically related to the child or not such as blended or foster families your relationship with each other matters.
Parental conflict is different from domestic abuse. This is because there is not an imbalance of power, neither parent seeks to control the other, and neither parent is fearful of the other. If you are afraid of your partner or feeling that they control your life then this is more likely to be domestic abuse, please seek help from Berkshire Women’s Aid or the NSPCC.
Page created - December 2021
Review date - December 2022
Help and Support
As with lots of things in life getting help and support early is always better than waiting until things become really difficult. There are lots of online resources developed by parents for parents as well as organisations who specialise in supporting adult relationships and parents.
Relationships Matter https://click.clickrelationships.org/home/all-issues/
The charity One Plus One provides information, support, advice and guidance on relationships. They have a fantastic website called ‘Click’ focused on relationship support from experts and the community.
It is full of useful free resources for parents with sections on parenting together and apart. This also includes topics such as ‘Raising a Baby after a Breakup’, ‘Becoming a Dad’ and a short online course called ‘Getting it Right for Children’.
This is a partnership between 15 Councils across Yorkshire and the Humber Region helping families who may be having relationship difficulties. Aimed at parents/carers the website contains a range of information, advice and guidance.
Relate have a section on their website for handling arguments. It includes bite size information, videos and tools to help you think about how and why arguments start, dealing with the moment and after. “We always say: conflict is inevitable. It’s how you deal with it that counts” (Relate Website)
Divorce and Separation – A Guide for Parents
Young Minds is a UK charity focused on supporting children and young people’s mental health. Their website has information for children, young people, parents/carers and those working with them.
If you are worried about how your relationship break-up might affect your child, there is advice on their website on how you can support them through it.
Cafcass - Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service Home - Cafcass - Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service
Cafcass represents children in family court cases in England. The website has sections for young people, parents and professionals. The Parents and Carers section has information on separation and divorce. They also have a Resources section that includes links to websites for fathers and mothers, information sheets on tips when you are separating, including the experience of children whose parents have separated.