Relationship support charity OnePlusOne has launched a new guide for frontline practitioners today (Thursday 11 June 2020). The guide allows practitioners to offer relationship support remotely for first-time parents using the ‘Me, You and Baby Too’ resource.
As Infant Mental Health Awareness Week focuses on the importance of emotional wellbeing to a baby’s development, the charity is hoping to help even more new parents maintain supportive relationships when a baby arrives.
The online programme, ‘Me, You and Baby Too’, is designed to help couples understand the impact of parenthood on their relationship, and equip them with the skills to cope with the changes this will bring. A new guide, available from today, aims to help practitioners understand the programme and feel confident about referring parents to take part, giving them the support they may need.
Having a baby is one of the biggest changes that can happen in a relationship. The transition from being a couple to becoming parents is life-changing. In those early days, when new parents are feeling anxious and tired, the chances for misunderstandings and arguments can be high.
Arguments can happen in any relationship, but it’s how people argue that makes the difference to the impact this has on babies and children.
Loving, nurturing early relationships are essential for babies and children, creating the foundation for a fulfilling life. Yet research shows that couples often see a decline in relationship satisfaction when they become parents. Changes in the quality of the couple’s relationship during this time can have a direct impact on the mental health and wellbeing of a baby, even before it is born.
Co-created with couples to identify the issues which often trigger arguments and stresses in a relationship, the content of ‘Me, You and Baby Too’ offers a closer look at what causes tension in a relationship, and provides practical ways to communicate better.
The online resource has been proven to significantly decrease parental conflict and increase relationship satisfaction. This evidence of impact is very encouraging – lower parental conflict and increased parental relationship satisfaction are associated with better outcomes for children.
Prior to the launch of the digital guide – which is available now to continue to support practitioners throughout the Covid-19 pandemic – OnePlusOne provided face-to-face training for 200 practitioners across the country. Feedback from practitioners using the resource has been overwhelmingly positive:
“I think just generally I would say it couldn’t really have fitted better with what we’re delivering. Do you know what I mean? … it slotted into our world absolutely perfectly.”
“…they’ve (parents) been given the links and made suggestions of working through those videos on the Click and those activities on the Click website, because they’re in lockdown and relationships are going to be under strain. It’s a perfect opportunity for people to look at that type of stuff…”
Penny Mansfield CBE, our co-director said:
“Every relationship has its disagreements, but it’s important to remember that what may eventually ‘blow over’ between two adults can have a lasting, negative impact on babies and children who hear their parents arguing.
“Knowing how to argue in a constructive way is vital. For parents who are together, being able to support each other and see stressful situations as a shared burden rather than just the problem of one person, can really help strengthen their relationship. For parents who are separated, knowing how to discuss difficult topics in a constructive way, keeping their child’s best interests at the very heart of decision-making, is essential for their wellbeing.
“There has never been a greater need for relationship support services which are accessible online. We are delighted to be launching this new digital guide for practitioners to help them further support parents to maintain and strengthen their relationships as they transition to parenthood. Babies who get the best start in life will pass on those benefits when they are parents and grandparents. Investing in their relationship experiences early on is one of the best investments we can all make to help shape how the future generation gets on in life.”
The ‘Me, You and Baby Too’ resource can be found on OnePlusOne’s dedicated relationship platform, www.clickrelationships.org. It takes parents through:
- What your baby knows before they are even born.
- Why it’s best to cope with stress together.
- How you and your partner can best support each other.
- How to bring up difficult topics.
- How arguments start, and how to stop them.
The digital guide to help practitioners support expectant or first-time parents use the programme.
OnePlusOne is proud to be part of the First 1001 Days Movement, an alliance of almost 200 organisations and professionals who recognise the importance of loving, nurturing relationships and emotional wellbeing in the first 1001 days of life, as the critical foundation for a healthy and fulfilling future.