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Relationship Matters

Birmingham Safeguarding Children Partnership

Thank you for visiting our Relationship Matters webpage.

We aim to provide helpful information to those experiencing relationship difficulties due to breakdowns in communication with their partner or ex. Whether you are still together, separating, or already separated, we hope to offer support to all individuals regardless of gender.

Some level of arguing and conflict between parents and carers is often a normal part of everyday life. However, there is strong evidence to show that frequent, intense, and poorly resolved arguments can have a significant negative impact on children’s mental health and long-term life chances.

Having ongoing arguments with our partner or our co-parent (if we are parenting with someone we don’t live with) can also have a serious impact on our own emotional well-being because the arguing can make us feel emotionally drained.

Here in Birmingham, we are trying to raise awareness so that people can get the help they need sooner rather than later.

We have worked with the relationship experts at Amity to create this webpage for families in Birmingham.

Birmingham is part of the national Reducing Parental Conflict (RPC) programme which is government-funded and is aimed at helping parents who are struggling with communication with a partner or ex partner.

Need urgent help right now?

There is difference between Parental Conflict and Domestic Abuse, Parental Conflict is where there is a communication breakdown but the relationship feels equal, not fearful of your partner or their response. Where there is Domestic Abuse there is often a power imbalance, coercive control, possible threats, feeling unsafe or worried how a partner may react to your action.

Relationships should not make you feel unsafe or scared.  You should not be frightened of your partner or anyone else you live with. If you want to know more about domestic abuse please go to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline website.

The Parental Relationships Spectrum Tool helps to show the difference.

Damaging conflict and arguments between parents and carers can be expressed in many ways such as:

  • Shouting and swearing at each other
  • Behaving disrespectfully towards or partner or coparent
  • Trying to be the ‘winner’ in arguments
  • Not trying to sort the arguments out or find solutions to problems
  • Ignoring the reasons behind the arguments
  • Always having the same arguments that don’t get resolved
  • Arguing about lots of different things rather than focussing on an individual issue

Anything and everything can cause arguments.  Life is stressful and when we are stressed, we are more likely to argue and struggle to resolve it.

There are lots of different things that cause arguments such as:

  • Money problems
  • How children are parented and family life in general
  • Mental health difficulties
  • Illness or caring for someone who is ill
  • Problems with trust in the relationship
  • Drug or alcohol problems
  • Having different views about things
  • Household responsibilities such as who does the cleaning, shopping, cooking and other household jobs
  • looking after the children and other relatives who need care

Conflict and arguments can affect children in all types of parental and carer relationships, including:

  • parents who are in a relationship, whether married or not
  • parents who have separated or divorced
  • biological and step parents
  • other family members in a parenting role
  • foster and adoptive parents
  • parents and carers who are LQBTQ+

The Relationship Matters / Reducing Parental Conflict programme in Birmingham aims to focus on the way parents behave, rather than the status of the relationship.

There is lots of evidence that ongoing, frequent and intense arguments can make children feel anxious and worried. Children struggle to understand why arguments between adults happen and it can make them feel as if the arguments are their fault.

Children who live with ongoing, destructive conflict and arguments can:

  • Do less well at school than their friends
  • Struggle with their emotional well-being and feel more anxious
  • Struggle to sleep properly
  • Develop poor communication skills
  • Struggle to resolve conflict in their own life with friends and others

Babies, toddlers, children and young people can be upset and anxious about their parent or carer relationships even if they seem ok on the outside.  Children often keep their worries inside and that can make everyone around them think that they are doing well.

Even if you think the children can’t hear your arguments, they know that something isn’t right and this makes them feel unsettled.

The good news is that there is a lot of help for anyone who wants to make changes to the way they communicate during arguments.

On this page you will find some handy self-help information, websites you can visit and where you can get extra support from someone trained to help you.

Parental conflict support websites

The Anna Freud Centre website has lots of useful information that can help you whether you are together or separated from your child’s other parent.

Mental health and well-being websites

Family life, parenting and support websites

  • Family Lives offers free and confidential information and advice on all aspects of family life including child development, issues with schools, parenting and relationship support, aggression in the home, bullying, teenage risky behaviour, and mental health concerns of both parents and their children.
  • Families Need Fathers provide support and information to separating or divorced parents who are worried about how their breakup might affect their children. Services are open to mothers, fathers, grandparents, new partners and extended families. Specialist support is available on Mon–Fri between 6pm and 10pm. Outside of these hours, calls are taken by Family Lives who receive additional training from FNF.
  • Click Relationships offers a wide range of relationship support as well as support for parenting together and apart.
  • Action For Children offers parent talk, providing parenting advice to families and parenting coaches.
  • Relation Kit is self-help website for parents and carers.
  • The Mix is a free and confidential service, mainly aimed at younger people under the age of 25. The service can connect you to experts who will give you the support and tools you need to take on challenges from homelessness to finding a job, from money to mental health, from breakups to drugs.
  • Relate has a network of Relate Centres across the UK and a group of licensed local counsellors that provide face-to-face counselling and support.
  • Tavistock Relationships provide a range of affordable services to help people with relationship difficulties, sexual problems and parenting challenges.
  • Nishkam Centre South Asian Family Support Hub works with local South Asian Communities to support parents, carers, children, young people and adults with single or multiple complex issues, by delivering individual and family interventions.
  • The Parenting Apart Programme aims to improve the mental health, emotional and physical wellbeing of children by supporting parents to focus on the needs of children experiencing family breakdown.

Are you separated?

CAFCASSThe CAFCASS website has collected resources that we know separated parents find helpful. There is information, activities to improve communication skills, and help with planning for you and your children.

No matter what stage you are in your divorce proceedings/separation this information is designed to help you understand the needs of your children during separation and make the best arrangements for them.


Amity Resources

We have worked with the relationship experts at Amity to create some useful self-help support guides to help you communicate better with your partner or co-parent if you are separated.

The Little Book of Relationship Care
This book is a practical and reflective guide designed to help people understand why they argue and how they can reconnect and navigate their arguments in a more constructive way. The guide complements practical support perfectly, allowing couples to remind themselves of what they’ve learnt during difficult or stressful times.

 Amity Next Time: Parenting Together

A quick and easy self-help resource packed with practical problem-solving ideas to improve communication between couples.

 Amity Next Time: Parenting Apart

A quick and easy self-help resource packed with practical problem-solving ideas to improve communication between separated parents.