Reducing parental conflict

Advice for families

Arguments and conflicts in relationships happen to all of us. For some people, the reality is that they are unable to resolve these arguments. Unresolved conflicts between adults can have a significant impact on children. We know that there are many different reasons for conflict in families, for example:

  • debt worries
  • moving home
  • becoming new parents
  • partner fidelity
  • health
  • other stress-inducing issues

The government has recognised that this can have a significant impact on children and their well-being. They have committed to providing increased support across the country for families experiencing conflict. We are working hard to make sure that families are aware of the support that is on offer. We are working with professionals who work with families, to talk about their relationships. We are committed to making sure we listen to families to make sure what we are offering is meeting their needs.

What conflict can look like in families

This is what the Government says conflict in families may look like:

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 Reducing Parental Conflict (RPC) programme is aimed at conflict below the threshold of domestic abuse.

Damaging conflict (below this threshold) between parents can be expressed in many ways such as:

  • aggression
  • silence
  • 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 stepparents
  • other family members playing a parenting role
  • foster and adoptive parents
  • same-sex couples

What can we do

If you are in a relationship or family who are struggling to manage these arguments and conflict at home. There is free support available for you. If you are not in a violent, controlling or abusive relationship.

It's great that you have been able to recognise that you want some help to overcome these worries. So that the impact on your family is avoided. See It Differently have some great tips and strategies that could really help you.

If you feel you need a bit more help than this, there are some free online support sessions for parents experiencing conflict.  There are 4 online sessions that you can access on your own, with your partner or with support from family, friends or a professional:

To access these resources, all you need to do is register an account for yourself as a parent (free of charge) 

  • Me, You and Baby Too - Helping expectant and new parents cope with changes in their relationship. Learn how to cope with becoming a new parent and stress
  • Arguing better - Raise awareness of the impact that parental conflict can have on children. By helping parents develop better ways of managing stress and arguments.
  • Getting it Right for Children - support separated or separating parents. Helping parents to avoid the harmful situations involving their children.
  • Debt and relationships - Debt and money troubles are one of the biggest causes of relationship stress, and the rising cost of living could mean this becomes a greater issue for many families. Helping parents to consider different ways they might find themselves in debt, the impact this can have on relationships and why it’s a good idea to talk to one another.

Separating from your partner

An App is available that can guide you both through a smoother separation, It is free to use and offers:

  • self-guided support: expert emotional advice and practical tips such as childcare and financial arrangements
  • progress tracking: monitor your separation journey and unlock app sections as you go
  • an emotional readiness quiz: get a sense of where you are in your separation journey 
  • co-parenting tips: stay organised and communicate for positive co-parenting 

You can download the Separating Better app for free, track your emotional preparedness, and take control of your separation journey.

Further free advice and support

Click – free online relationships support
Relate – free advice and resources
Anna Freud Organisation
Action for Children – advise for parents experiencing relationship difficulties
Advice for professionals


The difference between family arguments and 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.

Domestic abuse is not a one-off incident, but an ongoing pattern of behaviour in the relationship. It includes a range of behaviours which, once begun, repeats and often gets worse over time. Anyone can be a victim regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Coercive and controlling behaviour appears in all domestic abusive relationships to some degree. Find support on domestic abuse.

Read the definition of domestic abuse on