Skip Page Header

Home > What works to enhance inter-parental relationships and improve outcomes for children?

Harold, Gordon and Acquah, Daniel and Sellers, Ruth and Chowdry, Haroon (2016) What works to enhance inter-parental relationships and improve outcomes for children? London: Early Intervention Foundation.

[img]
Preview
PDF (What works to enhance inter-parental relationships and improve outcomes for children? - Full report)
1MB
[img]
Preview
PDF (What works to enhance inter-parental relationships and improve outcomes for children? - Summary) - Supplemental Material
512kB

External website: http://www.eif.org.uk/publication/what-works-to-en...

Key findings include:
• The quality of the inter-parental relationship, specifically how parents communicate and relate to each other, is increasingly recognised as a primary influence on effective parenting practices and children’s long-term mental health and future life chances.
• Parents/couples who engage in frequent, intense and poorly resolved inter-parental conflicts put children’s mental health and long-term life chances at risk.
• Children of all ages can be affected by destructive inter-parental conflict, with effects evidenced across infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
• The context of the wider family environment is an important factor that can protect or exacerbate child outcomes in response to exposure to inter-parental conflict. In particular, levels of negativity and parenting practices can exacerbate or moderate the impact of inter-parental conflict on children.
• Inter-parental conflict can adversely affect both the mother-child and father-child relationship, with evidence suggesting that the association between inter-parental conflict and negative parenting practices may be stronger for the father-child relationship compared to the mother-child relationship.

This indicates that the couple relationship is an important site for early intervention. It has implications for a wide range of policy areas from effective approaches to child mental health to managing child behaviours. In particular, it is important that policy makers and commissioners consider interventions and support for both the couple and the parenting relationship (both the mother-child and the father-child relationship). Just targeting the parental-child relationship in the context of ongoing inter-parental conflict does not lead to sustained positive outcomes for children.

Much more needs to be done to test and learn about what works, for whom and in what circumstances, and about how to implement effective interventions, ensuring quality of practice, appropriate supervision and impact. It is important that any future investment from Government and other funders builds in effective evaluation and enables commissioners and practitioners working on the ground to share learning.


Repository Staff Only: item control page