Isle of Wight Council

Support for Families

Supporting Parent Relationships - for Professionals

Line drawing of parents holding childs hands

Supporting Parent Relationships programme is the Isle of Wight’s commitment to reducing conflict between parents. Whether they are together or separated. The reduction of conflict is the best outcome for children.

We often find it uncomfortable to ask personal questions about relationships but there is increased evidence on the importance of the parental relationship to children’s outcomes. Whether the parents are together or separated, parental conflict can affect children’s emotional, behavioural, social and academic development. It is the conflict between parents, rather than the event of parental separation or divorce, that is a key factor in explaining why some children fare better than others when parental relationships breakdown.

Parental conflict places children at risk of:

  • Poor relationships with staff and peers in school and their community. This leads to lower academic outcomes
  • Lower employability leading to financial difficulties and an increased risk of poverty
  • Earlier involvement with drug and alcohol misuse
  • Negative impact on neurobiological processes affecting emotional development and can lead to conduct disorder, poor attachment and risk-taking behaviours.
  • A range of health issues including sleep disorders, digestive problems, abdominal pains, fatigue, headaches and poor growth.
  • Poor mental health which carries on into adulthood.
  • Increased risk of poor adult relationships

We want practitioners to feel comfortable talking about family relationships. We need families  to become more aware the impact their relationship has on their children. If practitioners are aware, then this will ensure referrals are made to specialist services for support at an earlier stage. This helps to limit the negative impact on children and parents.

What is parental conflict

Evidence shows that parental conflict puts children’s mental health and long-term future life chances at risk. This is regardless of whether the parents are together or separated, or are biologically related to the child, such as blended or foster families.

Parental conflict can manifest in different ways from:

  • a lack of warmth and emotional distance;
  • swearing and shouting;
  • non-verbal conflict or the ‘silent treatment’;
  • lack of respect and emotional control;
  • lack of resolution;
  • in the most extreme form - domestic abuse.

Practitioners need to continue to be vigilant for indicators of domestic abuse. This includes coercive control and controlling behaviour that adversely affects one person in a relationship. This can be an indictor of an abusive relationship.

Training Courses for practitioners

All practitioners working with families are encouraged to attend the training we offer. Conflict is in all families and we need to ensure that it is constructively resolved. It is important for children to experience positive relationship modelling and see differences amicably resolved. This will help them to resolve relationship problems throughout their lives.

Available courses

Online Course: Reducing Parental Conflict e-learning

Modules one to three are suitable for all practitioners.

Module four is additional learning targeted at managers and supervisors.

These training modules will give professionals:

  • The knowledge to spot the signs of parental conflict;
  • the confidence to take action;
  • the skills and tools to help parents recognise the impact of their behaviour and teach them how to change.

Module one
Understanding parental conflict and its impact on child outcomes. How to use the evidence base to support parent relationships and promote early identification for intervention.

Module two
Skills based workshop with opportunities to practise techniques to engage with couples/co-parents in practical situations.

Module three
Working with parents in conflict: how to support, refer and intervene.

Module four - only for managers and supervisors
The role of supervisors and managers and how to support frontline practitioners.

Book the modules

To register please go to Courses - Supporting Parent Relationship ( 

If you need support accessing this, email

If you prefer face to face training, email . We can arrange this type of training in a group with one of our Champions.

Course: Train the trainer
This workshop enables practitioners to deliver the complete programme of modules to other professionals. It will introduce other professionals to the Supporting Parent Relationships programme. Allowing them to become a Champion with access to additional resources.

To book onto this course/workshop please email

Working with parents in conflict

Building an effective relationship with parents allows practitioners to support and enable them to achieve change. As a practitioners it is important to be relationship curious. We need to ask questions to identify any problems at the earliest opportunity.

Further information and support to help parents

Families can be signposted directly to the Isle of Wight family centres for information, advice, guidance and courses for parents.

Free training course for parents

Training provider: OneplusOne

Free online digital resource for parents. This training provides access to three evidence based digital courses.

These digital resources are designed to help parents reflect on the conflict in in their relationship. Identifying the impact it has on their children. The courses promote behaviour change and teach parents to argue in ways that are helpful rather than harmful.

Benefits of course for the parents:

Course name: Me, you and baby too 

This course is designed for new and expectant parents

Learning Outcomes for parents:

  • What a baby picks up on even before they are born
  • Why stress should be a shared burden
  • How you and your partner can support each other
  • How to talk to bring up difficult topics
  • How arguments start, and how to stop them.


Course name: Arguing better

This course is designed for parents who want to learn healthy ways to deal with stress and conflict.

Learning Outcomes for parents::

  • Where stress comes from and how it can affect you.
  • Ways to recognise stress and talk about it.
  • How to support each other through difficult times
  • What causes arguments and how to stop them.


Course name: Getting it right for our children

Designed for separating or separated parents who want to reduce conflict and communicate with their child’s other parent.
Learning Outcomes for parents:

  • How to stay calm and listen as well as talk.
  • Why it’s helpful to see things from a different point of view.
  • What to do to stop a discussion turning into an argument.
  • Skills for finding solutions and making compromises.


Register for the courses

As a practitioner you can register for these courses, it will give you experience of learning parents will undertake. You will need to register your work details.

Please note: when working with a family they must individually register to access the course.

To register a yourself or a parent you can use the process provided below.

  • Register online at this address
  • Choose the Southern England map and then select Isle of Wight.
  • Register your work details, create a password and you will be given access to the three parent courses.
  • These online courses are free of charge.
  • To access the courses you will need a smartphone, tablet, or computer and internet connection.
  • The courses are online and can be completed at any pace.

If you need help and support with registering or accessing these online courses please email us and we will get back to you.