Talking with families about parental relationships: Practical tips and guiding questions
This short guide provides practitioners and leads in local areas with practical tips on how to talk to families about parental conflict, and how to alleviate negative feelings about relationship support.
Parental conflict can be a sensitive topic for families. We know that conflict between parents is a normal part of relationships, and seeing conflict resolved in a loving or constructive way is important for children’s understanding of relationships. However, parents who are experiencing relationship difficulties can find it difficult to ask for help when they need it, because they feel ashamed and are worried about being misunderstood or judged.
This short guide provides practical tips for talking to all families, including the importance of avoiding jargon, using inclusive language, acknowledging personal experiences, and knowing when to apologise.
It also provides a set of guiding questions for practitioners and local leads to ask themselves on the use of inclusive language with specific groups of vulnerable families, including parents with mental health difficulties, minority ethnic parents, parents belonging to the LGBTQ+ community, parents of children with special needs, and separated or separating parents.
Ultimately, the aim is to increase families’ engagement with support and reduce the risk of parental conflict negatively impacting child outcomes.