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The Impact on Children

Birmingham Safeguarding Children Partnership

Evidence on the impact of parental conflict on children:

There is a strong body of evidence to show how damaging inter-parental conflict can:

  • harm children’s outcomes, even when parents manage to sustain positive parent-child relationships
  • put children at more risk of:
    • having problems with school and learning
    • negative peer relationships
    • physical health problems
    • smoking and substance misuse
    • mental health and wellbeing challenges

The risks can also affect long-term life outcomes such as:

  • poor future relationship chances
  • reduced academic attainment
  • lower employability
  • heightened interpersonal violence
  • depression and anxiety

Evidence on the impact of parental conflict on children shows that where a child lives with both parents in the same household, more than 1 in 10 (12%) children have at least one parent who reports relationship distress and children living in workless families are twice as likely to experience parental conflict than in families where both parents are in work.

The below clip helps remind us of the importance of why we need to capture the child’s voice and lived experience. It’s also a reminder of why we all need to work in partnership to support parents.

To find out more about how parental conflict can affect multiple outcomes for children, explore the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) Reducing Parental Conflict (RPC) Hub. The hub is a repository of evidence and tools relating to reducing parental conflict.