By Hannah Piper
Whether you are a couple or separated and trying to co-parent in harmony, parenting can be challenging and present conflicts that can have an impact on your children. External factors such as finances, your own upbringing, work, and children’s behaviour are just a few of the things that can affect the relationship between parents. I asked one of our practitioners, Amanda Hart, about how our FREE Parenting Together course here at Tavistock Relationships works, and how it can help struggling parents.
What are the common problems parents come to our Parenting Together programme with?
Often parents who are together are thinking about separation due to struggling with communication, decrease in intimacy, and concerns about their children’s behaviour or general wellbeing. The 2020 Mental Health of Children and Young People Survey found that ‘in 2020, one in six (16%) children aged 5 to 16 years were identified as having a probable mental disorder, increasing from one in nine (10.8%) in 2017’ (NHS, 2020). Concerns about a child’s wellbeing can cause conflict between parents and vice versa.
Separated parents are often going through the aftermath of separation, experiencing on- going conflict with a co-parent who may be unwilling to cooperate, and sometimes dealing with a history of domestic abuse. The pandemic may have also played a part in the breakdown of parents’ relationships. Google trends found that there was 76% rise in searches for divorce lawyers comparing October 2019 and October 2020. Our course keeps people hopeful that it is possible to happily co-parent even if you aren’t together.
What are the sessions like?
We offer both group sessions and 1-1 sessions, depending on your situation. In these sessions, the practitioner will encourage you to think about the ‘here and now' to identify patterns. The sessions can be quite challenging for parents and bring up strong emotions, as you will have to look at yourself and your relationships objectively, but the practitioner will provide an empathic ear.
What outcomes can you expect?
From completing our course, you can expect things to become calmer in your relationship or household as you will become more accepting and less reactive to one another or to conflict. Our course equips you to be better at spotting signs of conflict and respond differently. Furthermore, reducing the conflict between you and your co-parent will often lead to an improvement in your child’s/children’s behaviour and wellbeing. Research has also found that children can pick up on conflict between their parents from as young as 6 months (Cummings & Davis, 2002).
Most parents get more out of it than they expect, even if sometimes it is not in a way they might have imagined from the start. We provide a time and space where you can think and talk about your thoughts, and your feelings, in a non-judgemental setting, with a professional who is able to guide you towards an understanding of your relationships.
How do I refer myself?
We provide support to families living Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire, Peterborough, Essex, Southend, and Thurrock.
We also provide support within London to families living in Camden, Croydon, Hammersmith & Fulham, Chelsea & Kensington, Brent, and Westminster.
To find out more and to apply for this free support direct go to https://www.tavistockrelationships.org/p-together or call us on 020 7380 1960
Cummings, E., & Davis, P. (2002). Effects of marital conflict on children: recent advances and emerging themes in process-oriented research. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines 43(1), 31-63.
NHS. (2020 ). Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2020: Wave 1 follow up to the 2017 survey.