Families in Wales are set to be given more support through challenging times thanks to a range of online relationship courses designed to help parents, whether they are together or separated.
As part of its ongoing commitment to reducing parental conflict in Wales, the Welsh Government has commissioned relationship charity OnePlusOne to provide access to three evidence-based digital courses for families across all 22 local authority areas.
Training is being provided to staff in each local authority to help parents get the most from the resources, blending personal interaction with the flexibility and accessibility of online technology.
Families will be able to access three online courses:
- Me, You and Baby Too – designed to help new and expectant parents cope with the changes that could happen in their relationship when they become parents and learn how to cope with stress and conflict constructively.
- Arguing Better – designed to raise awareness of the impact parental conflict can have on children and help parents develop better ways of managing stress and arguments together.
- Getting it Right for Children – designed to support separated parents, helping them to avoid the harmful situation of their children getting caught up in the middle of their conflict.
There is a wealth of evidence demonstrating the long-term negative effect parental conflict can have on the development and wellbeing of children. The past twelve months have seen families forced to face new challenges, increasing stresses in the home and creating a climate where conflict could be more likely to occur.
Verity Glasgow, co-director of OnePlusOne, said:
“When you’re struggling to cope with a stressful situation, or are experiencing relationship problems, it can be difficult to see a way through by yourself. Not recognising the impact your behaviour may be having on your children is an easy thing to miss, but often a little help to recognise this impact is all that is needed to improve communication and reduce arguments.
We are delighted to be extending our work into Wales, offering accessible support to families when they need it. Whether couples are new to parenthood, tackling stressful times together or facing the challenges of parenting after separation, our resources have been created to help parents develop ways of coping with stress and managing conflict in a constructive way that will benefit both themselves and their children.”
Each local authority in Wales will be able to offer local residents access to the online resources to work through independently or with the help of a trained practitioner.
The Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan said:
“Supporting families to reduce conflict in the home is central to our efforts to ensure the wellbeing of our children and young people. These online relationship courses will equip families with the knowledge and expertise to cope with the challenges that parenting, either together or apart, can bring to improve communications and strengthen relationships. I encourage any families in need of vital, relationship support to access this online support from OnePlusOne”.
OnePlusOne have seen a 200% increase in people coming to its online services looking for relationship support since the first lockdown in March 2020. Since then, an increasing number of practitioners working with families have turned to OnePlusOne for digital resources to extend the level of support they can provide.
Recent evaluation of one of these resources – Me, You and Baby Too – found that couples who had completed the course together saw a significant reduction in the level of conflict in their relationship, and improved relationships with each other and their children.
The online courses now available free of charge to families in Wales are packed with animations and videos that are relatable to many family situations, and offer opportunities for parents to reflect on how they act and what they can do differently. After choosing the right course for them, couples will learn new skills to put to use in their everyday lives, such as:
- Understanding what stress is and ways to cope with it together.
- Communication and how to argue better.
Separated parents can also take part in ‘Getting it Right for Children,’ an online course which aims to help parents get on better and put their children at the heart of their decision-making. It covers:
- How to stay calm and listen to the other person’s point of view.
- How to stop a discussion from turning into a heated argument.
- How to negotiate and make compromises.
Families in Wales can find out more about the courses on offer, and how to access them, by contacting their local authority or by visiting the Welsh Government’s dedicated parenting website, Parenting. Give it time.