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Relationships Really Matter

Managing everyday disagreements in a more positive and healthy way to help achieve a happy home, happy adults and happy children and young people.

Relationships Really Matter

Disagreement between parents can happen whether you are together, separated or divorced, but how we manage arguments is important, allowing tensions to be dealt with and for the relationship to move on.  It’s really important for children to see their parents are able to come to agreement in a positive way.

The relationships our children see between the people they love affects their happiness and wellbeing. It is crucial to show your child that the adults they love can manage their arguments and relationship in a healthy way. 

We all know that tension can happen for different reasons between parents, such as having a new baby, illness, losing your job, money worries, death of someone close or separating. When arguments aren’t managed in a healthy way the tension can affect both the adults and children.  Constant, intense, and unresolved conflicts between parents can harm children's mental health and future opportunities. . To address this, the government created the Reducing Parental Conflict program so that relationship and family experts work together with families to help decrease parental conflict and enhance children's well-being.

This short video shows you why working to sort out issues in a positive way is better for everyone.  

conflict between parents how children feel

How does you child feel?

This picture shows how many children feel when their parents are arguing. Think about your own children – is this how they are when you’ve been arguing?

How does conflict between parents manifest in children?

Children who are Internalising may appear sad, withdrawn, anxious and depressed.

Children who are externalising may show signs of aggression, behaviour problems and could start acting out.

Parent child relationship may become focused on providing emotional support, excuses and care for siblings.

conflict between parents what evidence says

What does the evidence say?

This shows how important it is for a child that parents are able to argue in a positive way. Take a few minutes to think about this, it’s powerful stuff!

Destructive conflict presents as issues that are frequent, intense and poorly resolved. It can occur in all family structures and when parents are together or separated. Children exposed to this are at risk of poor social, emotional and educational outcomes as well as physical, emotional and mental health problems. This can also have an impact on a child’s ability to form and sustain positive, healthy relationships with peers as well as future romantic relationships.

Constructive conflict is less intense, is resolved and is less frequent. Children can benefit from seeing their parents resolve their differences and disagreements.

It teaches valuable lessons about compromise, negotiation, resolving differences and reaching agreements. 

Conflict and separation:
Research shows us that the levels of conflict before and during the breakdown in a relationship is more impactful to the child than the separation itself.

conflict between parents information

What to try for and what to avoid

Conflict between parents is normal. Arguments and disagreements are a natural part of life.

Below are some examples of Helpful construct conflict (relationship enhancing) vs Harmful conflict (relationship damaging):

  • Helpful construct would include: Trying to compromise, demonstrating warmth, using humour and negotiation, resolving differences, agree to differ and not trying to put the other person down.
  • Harmful conflict would include: Intense arguments, Hostile verbal exchanges, the silent treatment, the need to win, personal attacks and arguments that are about or involve the children.

More Information and Support:

OnePlusOne digital resources for parents


Most relationships have their ups and downs, and disagreements and arguments are normal. But arguments between parents that are intense, hostile, and poorly resolved can be harmful to their children and put their mental health and long term life outcomes at risk. Learning to argue in ways that are helpful rather than harmful is vital for maintaining healthy relationships, whether parents are together or not.

The digital resources provided by OnePlusOne are designed to help parents reflect on conflict in their relationship with current or ex-partners, as well as the impact on their children. The resources use videos and animations that incorporate evidence-based techniques to promote behaviour change and help parents to argue in ways that are helpful rather than harmful.

one plus one information leaflet for three online courses for parents

OnePlusOne digital resources:

Learn to cope with stress and communicate better, wherever you are in your parenting journey. There are three digital resources available to help parents:  ‍

  1. Me, You and Baby Too: (For new parents) 
    Learn to navigate changes that happen in a relationship when a baby arrives. How can partners support each other. How to bring up and talk about difficult topics. How do arguments start and how to stop them.
  2. Arguing better: (For all parents) 
    Recognise stress and how it can affect you. How to support each other through difficult times. Causes of arguments and how to stop them.
  3. Getting it Right for Children: (For separating parents) 
    When parents separate, children can get caught in the middle. Learn how to manage conflict to minimise the impact it has on your children. How to stop a discussion turning into an argument. How to stay calm and listen as well as talk. Skills for finding solutions and making compromises.

For further information and support please contact:-

For further information and support please contact:-

Kate Thurman


There are also resources available on the Ask Lion website