The Early Intervention Foundation have carried out a review of ‘What works to enhance inter-parental relationships and improve outcomes for children.
Key findings include:
- The quality of the inter-parental relationship, specifically how parents communicate and relate to each other, is increasingly recognised as a primaryinfluence 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.