High parental conflict is proven to negatively impact the wellbeing of all members of a family. Conflict is developmental and progressive in nature when it is not addressed in a timely manner. We identify three factors that play a significant role in the conflict between partners/ex-partners: Family of origin, history of high conflict between the partners and severe breakdown in communication.
Family of Origin
- Our perception of family and what it looks like comes from our experiences within our family of origin. These perceptions dictate our understanding of a mother’s and/or father’s role. Both negative and positive experiences within our family of origin become the foundation for learning how to be a parent. This understanding does not always come naturally. Our program examines family of origin experiences in a way that facilitates self-awareness. We then support parents to develop a clearer parenting philosophy.
History of High Conflict between the Partners
- If not addressed in a timely manner, parental conflict can manifest itself as unhealthy patterns of interaction within the family unit. These unhealthy patterns impact both parents and children. Parental conflict can impact a parent’s capacity and availability (physical, mental and emotional) to meet their children’s needs. Children who are continuously exposed to severe conflict can, amongst other things, develop traumatic stress symptoms. Our program addresses each family’s unique conflict style and supports families in finding alternative approaches to reduce conflict.
Severe Breakdown in Communication
- Ongoing conflict can eventually lead to unaddressed negative feelings which overtime can escalate the conflict. The ongoing escalation of conflict leads to a breakdown in communication. Partners may resort to abusive behaviours towards each other and their children in an attempt to gain control over the situation. Many parents decide to live separately but the conflict between the parents can continue. In fact, separation can increase this animosity and the children are then exposed to conflict in both parent’s homes. Our program runs concurrent groups for the parents; moms and dads explore positive communication and effective parenting.