Health Service Focus

19.08.19

Reducing parental conflict: a digital discovery

Source: NHE Jul/Aug 19

Parental conflict can be potentially damaging to children and impacts on their health, wellbeing and academic performance. Ibraheem Choudhry, project support officer at the Department of Work and Pensions, argues the importance of using digital services to support parents.

Evidence suggests parental conflict can be triggered by life events such as the transition to parenthood, work pressures, finances – shortages and control, health and well-being issues and alcohol or substance misuse. 

We know that conflict between parents can impact children’s life chances with those living in workless families three times as likely to experience parental conflict compared with families where both parents are working. But there is help and support available for families. The Department of Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Reducing Parental Conflict (RPC) programme will ensure evidence-based interventions are more widely available to improve outcomes for children and will encourage councils and their partners across England to integrate services and approaches which address parental conflict into their local services for families. 

In 2015-16, one in 11 children whose parents were living together were exposed to potentially damaging levels of parental conflict. In the same period around half of children in separated families did not see their non-resident parent frequently, which is indicative of a poor-quality relationship between their parents and a higher likelihood of experiencing problems sustaining effective child maintenance arrangements. 

Evidence shows that children tend to have better health, emotional wellbeing and higher academic attainment if they grow up with parents (whether together or separated) who have a good relationship and are able to manage conflict well. Alcohol misuse is a significant trigger of parental conflict; children of alcohol dependent parents are twice as likely to suffer difficulties at school, three times more likely to consider suicide, five times more likely to develop eating disorders and four times more likely to become alcoholics themselves. 

Poor outcomes for children are damaging and costly, not only for individuals (children and parents) but also for the state as extra support is needed through healthcare, education, social and employment services to mitigate these problems. Therefore, supporting the inter-parental relationship early in a child’s life has the potential to reduce cumulative costs across childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. 

Digital services have the potential to transform all of our lives, and we do more online than ever before. But to deliver digital services effectively, it’s imperative that we understand how best to engage the groups we are hoping to reach. The findings from this user research are an important step in this journey. They will help us to learn about what works to engage parents from low income families online, to identify conflict in their relationships with each other and take action to reduce it, in turn improving the outcomes and life chances of their children. Government recognises that the way we live our lives is changing – families want to use the flexibility made possible by the internet and mobile phones to access support on a wide range of issues. 

The DWP wants every child to have the best start in life and is committed to reducing conflict between mothers and fathers, whether they are together or separated. The Reducing Parental Conflict programme’s research was undertaken to help us understand the needs of parents in this area and how they access digital support. The digital strand of the RPC programme has been investigating how they can provide early online help for parents to support them and address issues in their relationship. 

Exciting findings from the programme’s recent Digital Discovery identify how to better engage online with parents in low income households. Placing material where they go online, ensuring information is created in a way they understand, and ensuring it can be accessed on their mobile phones, is critical in engaging parents and building trust to encourage them to address parental conflict sooner.

For more information

W: tinyurl.com/NHEparentalconflict

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Plans for new £11.5m Musgrove Park Hospital unit unveiled

19/09/2019Plans for new £11.5m Musgrove Park Hospital unit unveiled

Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust have unveiled new proposals for the expansion and relocation of units at Musgrove Park Hospital, as par... more >
NHS gambling clinic opens In Leeds

18/09/2019NHS gambling clinic opens In Leeds

National charity GambleAware have opened The NHS Northern Gambling Clinic in Leeds today, the first in the country outside of London. Throug... more >
NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

last word

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The gender pay gap in the NHS remains a hotly debated topic, especially as the final report from the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine Review approaches. Andrea Hester, deputy director of employment rel... more > more last word articles >

681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

23/08/2019An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

Grey Giddins, member of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, discusses how hand care and injury prevention have become increasingly important given the UK’s ageing population   It’s no secret that the UK’s ageing population presents challenges for the NHS. The fact that we are living longer means greater demand for medical care across a number of healthcare specialisms, one of which is hand surgery. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

10/06/2019Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

Kay Fawcett OBE, clinical advisor and education lead at Helpforce, and Lynn Twinn, talent development consultant, outline the new national traini... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >
Pay and reward in the NHS needs to be taken seriously

10/06/2019Pay and reward in the NHS needs to be taken seriously

Ben Gershlick, senior economics analyst at the Health Foundation, examines the new pay deal for NHS staff.  More than £50bn is sp... more >

interviews

NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >