Published in Blog by Honor Rhodes, OBE on October 25th 2022
Honor Rhodes OBE, believes passionately that effective interventions can transform families in crisis and conflict. Here she talks about the new short-course she has designed with Tavistock Relationships to support local authority practitioners working in this field.
We know that all the evidence tells us that prolonged inter-parental conflict can have a damaging impact on the emotional and behavioural development of children, negatively affecting their long-term outcomes. Unresolved high levels of parental conflict can lead to depression, anxiety and poor concentration, these affect children’s capacity to learn and achieve, their sleep and their growth.
Through my work with Tavistock Relationships I have become acutely aware of how many local authority Early Help staff, social workers and other family practitioners are working with families where couple conflict – in both separated parents and couples who are living together – is affecting their children and wider family. We know too how hard it can be for us as practitioners to be working with such conflict in families - at times, it can affect us deeply – and might spill out into our own relationships, at work and at home.
We know too how hard it can be for us as practitioners to be working with such conflict in families - at times, it can affect us deeply – and might spill out into our own relationships, at work and at home.
At Tavistock Relationships, we feel there is an opportunity to share some of our experience and understanding of the challenges facing us as practitioners, who are struggling with competing demands and the complexity of families’ needs. As families face the cost-of-living crisis, it is clear that pressures on parental couples will increase – and parental conflict, along with the negative consequences for children, will also be on the rise.
Our Family Hubs/Reducing Parental Conflict Practitioners course, which launches in January, is designed for local authority ‘Relationship Champions’ as well as other practitioners who are keen to learn more effective ways of supporting people experiencing inter-parental conflict. It draws together the expertise and scientifically-proven approaches that Tavistock Relationships is renowned for into a three-month course designed to promote a deeper understanding of parental conflict and how to ensure best practice is embedded in your organisational thinking and approach.
Critically, this course offers practitioners the time and space to talk, exchange ideas and think deeply about how families can best be supported, all located within an informed appreciation of the realities of organisational constraints and culture.
The course is open to anyone working in children’s and family services in the UK. It is held online in two-hour weekly sessions over three months. We will explore relationships and understand how individuals come to behave and think in certain ways. Critically, this course offers practitioners the time and space to talk, exchange ideas and think deeply about how families can best be supported, all located within an informed appreciation of the realities of organisational constraints and culture.
At the end of the term, there’s the option to undertake an Applied Research Project, delving into an issue that is particularly affecting local families. Previous projects have included looking at the best way to help parents whose children have autism/ASD or other conditions and how to support better communication between parents who are separated and use children as ‘weapons of war’, fathers’ engagement made real and how to intervene earlier than we can imagine, using measuring tools and scales to help us have better conversations.