Supporting parent relationships for professionals

Supporting Parent Relationships programme is the Isle of Wight’s commitment to reducing conflict between parents. Whether they are together or separated. The reduction of conflict is the best outcome for children.

We often find it uncomfortable to ask personal questions about relationships but there is increased evidence on the importance of the parental relationship to children’s outcomes. Whether the parents are together or separated, parental conflict can affect children’s emotional, behavioural, social and academic development. It is the conflict between parents, rather than the event of parental separation or divorce, that is a key factor in explaining why some children fare better than others when parental relationships breakdown.

Parental conflict places children at risk of:

  • Poor relationships with staff and peers in school and their community. This leads to lower academic outcomes
  • Lower employability leading to financial difficulties and an increased risk of poverty
  • Earlier involvement with drug and alcohol misuse
  • Negative impact on neurobiological processes affecting emotional development and can lead to conduct disorder, poor attachment and risk-taking behaviours.
  • A range of health issues including sleep disorders, digestive problems, abdominal pains, fatigue, headaches and poor growth.
  • Poor mental health which carries on into adulthood.
  • Increased risk of poor adult relationships

We want practitioners to feel comfortable talking about family relationships. We need families to become more aware the impact their relationship has on their children. If practitioners are aware, then this will ensure referrals are made to specialist services for support at an earlier stage. This helps to limit the negative impact on children and parents.

What is parental conflict

Evidence shows that parental conflict puts children’s mental health and long-term future life chances at risk. This is regardless of whether the parents are together or separated, or are biologically related to the child, such as blended or foster families.

Parental conflict can manifest in different ways from:

  • a lack of warmth and emotional distance
  • swearing and shouting
  • non-verbal conflict or the ‘silent treatment’
  • lack of respect and emotional control
  • lack of resolution
  • in the most extreme form - domestic abuse.

Practitioners need to continue to be vigilant for indicators of domestic abuse. This includes coercive control and controlling behaviour that adversely affects one person in a relationship. This can be an indictor of an abusive relationship.

Training courses for practitioners

All practitioners working with families are encouraged to attend the training we offer. Conflict is in all families and we need to ensure that it is constructively resolved. It is important for children to experience positive relationship modelling and see differences amicably resolved. This will help them to resolve relationship problems throughout their lives.

We regularly offer a range of courses, including:

View details of our current courses.

Course: Train the trainer

This workshop enables practitioners to deliver the complete programme of modules to other professionals. It will introduce other professionals to the Supporting Parent Relationships programme. Allowing them to become a Champion with access to additional resources.

To book onto this course/workshop please email