The Early Intervention Foundation has published an overview on interparental relationships, conflict and the impacts of poverty. Economic pressure impacts on parents’ mental health, which can cause relationship problems and difficulties with parenting. These difficulties can include reduced parental sensitivity and time spent interacting with their child, and can lead to harsher parenting practices, which are linked to future difficulties for children and adolescents. The report makes reference to a ‘Family Stress Model’ illustrating how economic pressure can lead to psychological distress in both parents, culminating in inter-parental conflict, problems between parents and their children and affecting the child individually as well.  

ELF’s findings support the following actions:

  • Supporting local areas to prioritise this as part of their overall service delivery to children, young people and families, with a strong focus on outcomes
  • Developing and communicating the UK evidence in relation to improving child outcomes in families facing poverty and disadvantage

The study suggests that families who may benefit most from this support may be least likely to receive it for a range of reasons to do with service availability, cost and barriers such as perceived stigma. The study also acknowledges that relationship support services in the UK are currently under-developed. The voluntary sector is the current main provider of services, but has operated in an unstable funding environment for many years. There is a clear need to grow and invest in UK relationship support provision and embed a focus on parental relationships in local systems and services.

See also Early Intervention Foundation’s report: What works to enhance inter-parental relationships and improve outcomes for children? (Mar 2016) 

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