Reducing Parental Conflict

Free services to help Somerset parents reduce unhealthy relationship conflict

The challenge

Louie, aged 8:My mum and dad spend so much time hating each other they don’t have a lot of time to love me”.

Shakira, aged 14: “It’s when she picks up her phone and sighs and rolls her eyes, I know it’s my dad. I’d pay a lot of money to stop that, she just forgets that I love my dad too and I’m stuck right in the middle, trying to make it ok for them both”.

1 in 12 children live with one or both parents struggling with conflict.

We estimate that unhealthy conflict impacts at least 8,500 families in Somerset.

When conflict between parents is frequent, intense, and poorly resolved, it can put a child’s mental and physical health at risk and can negatively affect peer relationships and educational outcomes. Interventions to improve parenting and the parent-child relationship are also less likely to be effective if there is existing parental conflict.

What we are doing in Somerset

The DWP are funding a project to reduce unhealthy parental conflict by providing free support for both practitioners in their work with parents as well as parents.

The project focuses the quality of the coparenting relationship not the structure and includes all parental conflict up to domestic abuse. 

Ruth James, the Reducing Parental Conflict Coordinator, leads the project and has put together a Somerset toolkit to support:

  1. Parents struggling with unhealthy conflict and
  2. Practitioners working with parents

Ruth welcomes any opportunity to come along to team meetings to raise awareness about the service and offers practical training on working with parents to reducing conflict.

One of the aims for the project is for practitioners working with parents to routinely ask questions about the health of their co-parenting relationships and know how to support and signpost parents if there is conflict. 

A new web area including links to all the support:

Here are the highlights:

FREE support for Somerset Parents

  1.  Oneplusone online courses which are free for any Somerset parent (
CourseTarget audienceContent
Me, You and Baby TooFor new and expectant parentsChanges for me and us, Coping with stress Conflict and communication
Arguing BetterParents experiencing high levels of stress and couple conflict  Understanding stress, Coping with stress together, Arguing better
Getting it right for childrenSeparating or separated parents experiencing high levels of conflict  Stay calm, See it differently, Speak for myself, Negotiate, Work it out

Support Available:
Access for practitioners with additional information for working with parents
Website link:  
FREE access for any Somerset parent  

Support for practitioners

  1. There is also a Somerset toolkit for practitioners to enable conversations about parent/carer relationships and I support the roll-out of this toolkit with training for anyone. 
  2. Ruth has recorded 4 short sessions for practitioners to help them understand what parental conflict is, how to have conversations with parents and the free support that is available for parents in Somerset.

Please contact Ruth if you would like to find out more information.

Additionally, the SSCP have published a podcast relating to ‘Reducing Parental Conflict’ which you can access using the following link:  Podcast: The P Pod – Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership

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