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

New £8.4m study launched into long-term impacts of Covid-19

07/07/2020New £8.4m study launched into long-term impacts of Covid-19

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have launched a major new research study into the long-te... more >
NHS Providers publish guide into NHS digital leadership

07/07/2020NHS Providers publish guide into NHS digital leadership

As part of efforts to help trust leaders build on the momentum achieved during the coronavirus pandemic and support NHS board lead their organisa... more >
Office of Health Economics urges supercharged R&D investment

07/07/2020Office of Health Economics urges supercharged R&D investment

A new report by the Office for Health Economics (OHE) has warned that without immediate action from the Government to “supercharge” p... more >

editor's comment

26/06/2020Adapting and Innovating

Matt Roberts, National Health Executive Editorial Lead. NHE May/June 2020 Edition We’ve been through so much as a health sector and a society in recent months with coronavirus and nothing can take away from the loss and difficulties that we’ve faced but it vital we also don’t disregard the amazing efforts we’v... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us th... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

03/07/2020NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

Sean Duggan, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Network Let’s take this opportunity to reflect on the amazing achievements of our health system over the past few months. But as we recognise the best of the NHS and its response to the Covid-19 crisis we must not forget that for mental health the peak has yet to come. Covid-19 has placed enormous pressure on the entire health and care system. Despite the very real hardships f... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental health and wellbeing. As the best rugby players in the world repr... more >
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 >
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 >
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 >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference, Matt Hancock highlighted what he believes to be the three... 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 >
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 >