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Blog: New SFSC Advance Skills Training in Parental Conflict

Bernadette Rhoden, Senior Parent Programme & Training Officer

Exposure to frequent and poorly resolved conflict between parents is associated with a range of problems for children and young people. These can include sustained dangerous coping strategies, including the misuse of drugs and alcohol, poor academic outcomes and difficulties maintaining healthy peer and/or romantic relationships. 

Supporting families early so that conflict doesn’t lead to lasting damage for children, young people, their families and wider communities is at the heart of our newly created Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities (SFSC) Advance Skills Training, and resource pack.  Designed to work in conjunction with the Race Equality Foundation’s Parental Conflict Tool Kit , which was launched last year, SFSC practitioners will be guided in manipulating the curriculum to address conflict that arises between parents who are co-parenting together or apart that they might better meet their children’s needs.

Some parents acknowledge the dangers of parental conflict but feel powerless to stop it.  Others may deem it simply annoying, temporary or without consequence.  We hear statements like “sure we argue sometimes, but it’s not that bad”, or “all couple argue, that’s normal”. Both these statements may be true, but there comes a point beyond which feuding parents may not recognise the detrimental harm being perpetrated to children and young people.

The SFSC curriculum provides that feelings of anger and dissatisfaction do not create problems. If we did not feel these things either as individuals in our personal lives or as members of a particular ethnic or cultural group, positive change would not take place.  It is how we use these feelings to create change that is important.  Children and young people who are directly or indirectly caught in the crossfire of parents who row all the time can feel miserable and confused daily, and it can cause ongoing emotional and behavioral problems known to impact life chances.

The ability to manage conflict is an important social competence, a skill which parents can improve on and thereby model and teach to children and young people.  As a strategy, managing conflict has always been integral to the Enhancing Relationship component of SFSC and represents one fifth of the violence prevention techniques.

The new One Day Advance Skills Training and Parental Conflict Supplement builds on this work and will be an important useful addition to incorporate in all SFSC programme delivery. The training aims are to:

  • Explore the impact of parental conflict in the context of a violence prevention parenting programme.
  • Address parental conflict whilst maintaining the integrity of the parenting focus of SFSC.
  • Develop skills incorporating strategies for reducing parental conflict within the standard SFSC curriculum.

The training and supplement include a clear definition of parental conflict but consider how this may present differently depending on personalities and cultural norms within families and communities.  The resources further detail how children interpret and or may be negatively impacted by the conflict at various stages of their development – and importantly provides practice examples of how to use the existing strategies within the curriculum to address the conflict. 

Contact us to find out more and book: email leandra@racefound.org.uk.

Bernadette Rhoden is a Senior Parent Programme & Training Officer at the Race Equality Foundation.