Relationship organisation One Plus One has reported on this new research ‘What works to enhance inter-parental relationships and improve outcomes for children?’ presenting findings from the Early Intervention Foundation. They report that “parents and couples who engage in frequent, intense and poorly resolved inter-parental conflicts put children’s mental health and long-term life chances at risk, and that children of all ages can be affected by destructive inter-parental conflict, with effects evidenced across infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood.” Carey Oppenheim, Chief Executive of the Early Intervention Foundation, says: “Our new research shows that quality inter-parental relationships – regardless of whether the couple is together or not – and the ability to resolve conflict have a huge influence on the long-term life chances of children. Yet, improving inter-parental relationships is not being asked about or considered in many children’s and family services”.

The research discusses the effects on children when they frequently witness arguments and unresolved parental conflict.  Where parental conflict is unresolved following separation, children often witness arguments and feel caught in the middle. Arguments and conflict can arise when one parent is either picking up or dropping off their children from the family home. Child contact centres provide a unique service for families as they are a safe place for a child to spend time with their parent without their parents having to meet face to face. The issues relating to the arguments and conflict can then be dealt with outside of the centre and without the child having to witness them. The majority of centres offer a ‘handover’ service which enables a child to go from one parent to another for some quality time out of the centre but without the need for parents to meet face to face. Search for ‘handover’ service on NACCC’s Find a Centre service to find out more.

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