Signposts for families in conflict.

A news update from Ruth James, “Reducing Parental Conflict Coordinator“, Somerset Council:

Reducing Parental Conflict update February 2024


I have made several changes to the support we can give parents who are struggling with unhealthy parental conflict. At the start of 2024, I am focusing on face-to-face support for separated parents struggling with conflict.

Please share this update with any colleagues who work with parents.

So, this update includes some new free support:

  • Information about new Parenting Cafes for separated parents
  • A new, evidence-based Parenting When Separated 6-week course
  • NEW FREE one session therapy for parents, together or separated, who struggle with conflict.
  • Lunch & learns for practitioners to find out more about one session & the “Parenting when Separated” courses 8 & 22 February, 1 PM-1:45 PM

As practitioners in Somerset, you are also welcome to use or come along to any of the events.

  1. Parenting Cafes in Taunton, Chard, and Wellington – Top tips for successful co-parenting for separated parents

We know from experience that conflict between separated parents can have a particularly negative effect on children’s outcomes.

So, I am piloting several Parenting Cafe’s for separated parents and would appreciate it if you could please share the links to Eventbrite with your parents and encourage them to come along.

The plan is to work with partners and roll these out across Somerset throughout 2024 – if you would like to be involved in hosting/organising one, please get in touch.

The hope is that these informal Cafes will engage parents who then may choose to come along to some “Parenting When Separated” courses I will be running from 16 April (for details see below).  This is about getting separated parents together so they can have conversations and hopefully find the “one thing” that may help in reducing conflict.

At the Parenting Cafes, parents will have the opportunity to meet and chat with other parents who are going through similar experiences in a relaxed, non-judgemental space.

All the information you need to know about the Cafes is on Eventbrite and they focus on:

1. How to develop a successful co-parenting relationship and reduce conflict.

2. Understand how you can stay connected with your children and support them with smooth handovers and transitions.

3. Find out more about practical tools to reduce conflict in co-parenting communications.

4. How to manage different ways of parenting in different homes.

DateTimeLocationLink to Eventbrite
21.2.241 PM-3 PMPriorswood Library  
22.2.245:30 PM-7:30 PMChard Community Centre    
29.2.249:30 AM-11:30 AMPriorswood Library  
29.2.245:30 PM-7:30 PMChard Community Centre This is the only Parenting Café for couples strugging with conflict – click on link to find get more info.
21.3.241 PM-3 PMWellington Library  
27.3.245:30 PM-7:30 PMWellington Library  

If your school or organisation would like to host a Parenting Café and are confident you could attract at least 6 parents, please get in touch and I am happy to organise one with you.

  •  Parenting When Separated course starting in April.

We are excited to be able to offer a new, practical, and positive course for parents who are preparing for, going through or have gone through a separation or divorce. 

This course is usually oversubscribed in other local authorities, is evidence-based, and grounded in commonsense – I love it!

This 6-week online course I will be running with Relate highlights practical steps parents can take to help their children cope and thrive, as well as coping successfully themselves.

Topics include:

  • Solving co-parenting problems in a positive way that focus on the needs of your children.
  • Coping with the emotional impact of separation and learning how to look after yourself and your children.
  • Building a stronger relationship with your children and helping them cope with the impact of the separation both emotionally and practically.999
  • How to have successful, ongoing co-parenting communications with your children’s other parent.

One of the biggest benefits of this course is it allows parents to gain the support of other parents who may have similar experiences and together, find down-to-earth solutions for difficult situations.

Who should attend

This course will be online and is free to attend. It is open to any separated parents from all backgrounds – at least one parent needs to live in Somerset.

Both parents who have the same children are welcome to attend although we recommend that each parent attend a different group.

We will meet with all parents for an individual introductory chat before the start of the group.

There is a maximum of 12 parents on each course, so please encourage your parents to book early to guarantee their place.

Course details

The course consists of 6 group sessions and there are 2 courses running on the same day to encourage each parent to attend a different session please – click on the links below to the Eventbrite pages with more information – :

  •  Lunch and Learns for practitioners to find out more about the “Parenting When Separated” courses as well as the One session therapy.  To book your place, these are on the SSCP website so please go to:

Thurs 22 February: 1 PM-1:45 PM

  •  Finally, here are a couple of new links that are worth a look:
  • Supporting children through separation.  This is an excellent online course and includes information about how divorce/separation affects children at different ages and how parents can help them:
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