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Information for families

Families in Harmony Programme


Image of boy in with parents arguing
There are many forms of conflict in relationships, and some are really healthy. As adults, we are role models for our children so if we are able to remain calm and respectful whilst addressing any disagreements we have, it provides our children with important life skills for future interactions with others. But conflict in a relationship can become an issue when it is frequent or poorly managed, and impacts the harmony of family life.

Here you can find out information about what parental conflict is, how it differs from domestic abuse, and how our Families in Harmony Programme can help you! 

What is parental conflict?

  • Parental conflict is generally issue-focused
  • It can include feelings of anger or even extreme anger, between partners or ex-partners
  • Conflict often takes the form of loud arguments that are intense, happen frequently without finding a resolution
  • a common feature is each person blaming the other for what's going on.
  • It can occur in all types of families: between biological parents, step parents, foster and adoptive parents, parents and grandparents and separated and divorced parents to name just a few.
  • Parental conflict is very different from domestic abuse, which includes hitting or pushing, name-calling, a pattern of controlling behaviour, and living in fear of your partner.

What might cause conflict in relationships? 

  • Differences in parenting styles
  • Financial concerns
  • Health difficulties
  • Housing issues e.g. not having enough space
  • Key life transitions: bereavement, special occasions, moving house, children starting school, having a new baby
  • Substance or alcohol misuse

How does parental conflict impact children?

  • Children worry when there is tension between their parents
  • Witnessing adults who shout loudly, frequently can have a negative impact on children's self-esteem, mental and physical health, behaviour and academic achievements and future relationships with others.
  • It can be confusing for small children who can't understand what is going on, so they are likely to blame themselves
  •  If parents are separated it can cause them to feel very anxious when their parents have contact with each other, for example when they are being collected or dropped off.
  • Research suggests if there is long term parental conflict, this may also affect how we parent our children.

Children who experience relationships which are positive and productive are more likely to feel more settled and have good social and emotional wellbeing.

Do you need help finding solutions to conflict at home? 

Whether you are in a relationship or separated, we can provide advice about support groups and resources available to you. 

Call Querida Villiers at Sutton Children's Centre on 01744 673420, or email,

RelationKit website is a free online resource that gives parents and carers some support with their relationships - including videos, mindfulness sessions and downloadable communication cards.