Family Ties: Parental Conflict


Family is the main element of society and the psychologists and the scientists of other fields try to consider this element from different parts in order to understand its significance and explain its effect on the social opinion. The problem of conflicts in family became core in the modern life of depression, quarrels and abuse. Moreover, the parent-child conflicts are in the main focus of the modern science, and the influence of these conflicts on the family relations.

The main purpose of this research is to investigate parental conflicts as regard family ties. It is important for the government, the family unit and the society as a whole, to understand these challenges so as to improve effective and successful operation of the family.

During the research, the main method of the investigation was literary review and critical analysis of the gathered information. Books and journals from the specialized additions were the main focus of our attention. The interview data collection was also used as the possibility to collect the primary data in the research.

The main result of the investigation, which was provided, is that the conflicts in the family and especially parental-child conflicts influence the life of people greatly. The general irritation and aggression of the modern people is in mostly cases is the result of the conflicts in the family. The main conclusion, which is provided in the current paper is that the family conflicts have appeared to be the global problem and that society is unable to cope with the problem independently, so the government should interfere and implement the regulatory politics, directed to the family segment in order to protect the society in general.

Research Topic

Parental conflict with the approach of reporting current research associated to conflict resolutions and how research has highlighted the effects related to parental conflict as well as recommendations to curb the issue.

Thesis Statement

It has been assumed that conflict within the family does not usually affect children once they become adults and that they adapt to the situation. Studies have come to reveal the devastating side effects of Parental Conflict in children as well as their parents.


Whenever emotional antagonisms create frictions between people or disagreements over issues of importance exist in a social institution, conflict is bound to arise. Conflict can be defined as a situation whereby two powers try to find equilibrium in order to co-exist with each other (Zutter, 2005). It can occur in work place setting or a family setting where the parties involved are said to make an effort to acquire that which they do not possess at that particular time.

There are mainly two types of conflicts namely emotional and substantive conflicts. Emotional conflicts are interpersonal problems resulting from dislike, feelings of anger, resentment, mistrust or fear while substantive conflicts are basic disagreements over specific goals to be pursued by the parties involved as well as the means by which they can be accomplished (McIntosh, 2005). Conflict refers to the presence of a clash of actions, values, interests or directions. While majority of parents tend to think that they are not exposing their children to conflict, they are unfortunately mistaken since children are the most affected in cases of conflict in the home (McIntosh, et al., 2007).

The highest rate of conflict is found within the family setting. This can be attributed to the fact that individuals of the same family interact more often with each other as compared to interaction with other individuals outside the home (William, 2006). In this day and age, marital conflicts as well as parent-child conflicts are on the increase and the general society can do nothing but watch helplessly as majority of families are destroyed.

Research Discussion

Parental conflict is conflict between parents and children or between two adult couples (El-Sheikh & Elmore-Staton, 2004). In either case, the children end up being emotionally affected which leads to future problems if the situation is not immediately dealt with.

There are three main characteristics which differentiates parental conflict from other forms of conflict. These characteristics include duration of the relationships, intensity and complexity of the relationships (Doherty & Beaton, 2004). It has been determined since time immemorial that the relationship between family members is the closes as well as most emotionally concentrated of any other in the experience of an individual (McIntosh, 2005). The ties found between adult partners or between parents and children possess the highest level of affection, commitment as well as attachment. Hence in the occurrence of serious issues the positive emotions felt by the family members may turn into negative intense emotions (Bond, 2007).

The second characteristic which is complexity of the relationship is fundamental in trying to understand parental conflict. It has been concluded that in cases where a wife is being assaulted by the husband or where abused children prefer staying in the home rather than be transferred, positive emotional family ties more often than not overshadow the pain associated with the conflicts (Zutter, 2005). The last characteristic is the duration of the relationship and some parental conflicts. Relationships among family members are a lifetime commitment thus any conflict arising within tends to last longer periods (William, 2006). Exposure to longer periods of parental conflict often results in psychological effects on the person involved.

A child’s emotional security is often related to happy marital life and in cases where there is parental conflict, this security is often threatened (Fauchier & Margolin, 2004). Children from a family experiencing parental conflict have in numerous instances been compared to those from intact families. Research has revealed that the former are more influenced by presence of hostility in the family than children from intact families (Moloney, 2005).

Spouses or parents having a conflict among them are rarely aware of how they should manage or handle conflict for the sake of their children. Children who become involved in parental conflicts often suffer from low self esteem as well as the inability to normally interact with others (Tritt & Pryor, 2005). In situations where the parents are undergoing separation or divorce, the children may find themselves in the middle of parental conflict in that they may be forced to decide where their loyalty lies. The said parents might also argue over custody of the child or children hence creating parental conflict which also involves the child/children (McIntosh, et al, 2007).

Studies have also shown that children caught up in parental conflict tend to grow up faster than a normal child. This is because the child might take up a psychological role of providing the much needed attention to the parent to help them overcome the difficulty (Ibid, 2007). Children as young as six years subjected to parental conflict often react by being distressed as well as having negative thoughts.

A survey was recently carried out on a group of college seniors and juniors to determine parental ties, marital conflicts among other issues. It was discovered that family conflicts as well as divorce resulted in decreased levels of intimacy in the student’s romantic relationships (Tschann, et al., 2009). This was viewed as a disruption of a very important relationship in a child’s life which led to negative effects on future relationships. Adults who tend to create conflict in the family experienced conflict in their own families when they were young. Conflict, just like abuse, is carried forward to the next generation thus the rising problems within the family (Rohde, et al., 2005).

As earlier mentioned, parental conflict can either be between two adults or between parent and child. There are a number of causes of parental conflict within the family. Conflict can occur where a parent might be trying to gain control over a teenage child who in turn views this as a direct attack to his/her free will and privacy (Fauchier & Margolin, 2004). The teenager might the react by rebelling and not obeying what the parent might be requiring from him/her. The parent on the other hand might tend to feel less powerful and not in control due to the teenager’s reaction (Ibid, 2004). This then results in verbal or physical conflict between the parent and the teenager.

Another example where parental conflict might occur is where the parents are undergoing divorce or separation. With the turning of the 20th Century renewed interest as concerns the predicament of children of divorce who were unfortunately caught in between parental conflict has emerged (Harold, 2005). During the process of divorce, a child is often in psychological and emotional need but in the case where there is parental conflict, the child often ends up performing the role of giving either parent the attention and focus to get through the difficulty (Van Krieken, 2005).

Those children caught up in parental conflict during divorce or separation end up displaying depressed and aggressive behavior presently and in future (McIntosh & Chisholm, 2007). Other minor parental conflicts might occur in the family for instance in cases where major decisions concerning an important matter are required to be made. One parent might feel that his/her suggestion or decision is the best while the other one might not feel the same (Doherty & Beaton, 2004). Here, parental conflict might then occur.

Having to live with other people increases the chance for all kinds of interaction, the most common form being that of conflict. Family life is often manifested through struggles between children and their parents and also tend to posses more conflict as compared to other social groups (El-Sheikh & Elmore-Staton, 2004). The average quantity of conflict between children and parents as compared to marital to marital relationships is often difficult to determine though the regularity of conflict seems to be associated with child development (Fauchier & Margolin, 2004). In the case of adolescents, conflict interactions with parents are on the increase up until the age of 15 but decrease later on as the adolescents move to maturity (Pryor & Pattison, 2007).

Parental conflict is both normative and frequent during toddler years and preschool years of a child. This early exposure to conflict often results in personal differences in a child’s socio-emotional and socio-moral development (Schoppe-Sullivan, et al., 2004). A study was carried out on 63 mothers and their toddlers to determine how mother-toddler conflict affected the toddler’s socio-moral and socio-emotional development. The child at 30 months together with the mother was subjected to a series of tasks meant to create opportunities for conflict. When the toddler was 36 months, another series of tests were carried out to determine the social competence, emotional understanding as well as early conscience development of the child (Ibid, 2004).

All instances of verbal conflict which occurred between the mother and toddler were recognized and coded for elements such as conflict themes. From the study it was revealed that even though the regularity of conflict was not that much of a predictor of a child’s socio-moral and socio-emotional adjustment, the value of mother-child conflict was (El-Sheikh & Elmore-Staton, 2004). It was thus concluded that parental conflict between a parent and child might be an important ground determining child’s socialization.

Parental conflict has also been observed to create sleeping disorders among children. A research was carried out to assess a child aged between 8 and 9 years’ sleep. Parental conflict was measured as well as assessment of the children’s sleep through reports (William, 2006). The children were made to put on a watch-like device meant to monitor and record the child’s movement while in bed, for 7 nights. This device enabled the researchers to determine when the children went to sleep or woke up, how well they slept and how many times they woke in the course of the night (Bond, 2007).

It was later discovered that those children in higher conflict homes did not sleep as well and slept less as compared to children in lower conflict homes. These children, as was determined actually spent less time sleeping and fidgeted a lot (William, 2006). On the contrary they tended to be sleepier during the day. From the research children who viewed parental conflict as regular, unresolved as well as intense suffered most from disrupted sleep (McIntosh, 2005).

In other cases, children from homes experiencing parental conflict have problems differentiating reality from fantasy and end up suffering many misperceptions which in turn hinder their daily functioning (Zutter, 2005). Children who witness or undergo parental conflict sense the present hostility as well as mistrust and may in turn tend to internalize this situation. As a result, the child’s emotional and psychological development is affected (Tritt & Pryor, 2005). The stress associated with having to witness parental conflict often alters how children cope with and handle future conflicts. It may also result in long term repercussions as concerns a child’s functioning by directly modifying patters of how they respond to parental conflicts (William, 2006).

Parental conflict occurring between couples can be non-verbal non-physical (Doherty & Beaton, 2004). Some interviews to determine parent’s view as concerns non-verbal non-physical conflict was recently carried out by a group of researchers. Some of the themes determined from the analysis included the fact that silent conflict was indicted by behavioral changes, there was avoidance and withdrawal as well as lack of resolution (Bond, 2007).

The participating parents testified that there were physical and emotional effects from the conflict and this extended to their relationship with their children. For instance they would become preoccupied and impatient with their children when the latter required their participation and full attention (Tritt & Pryor, 2005).

Those children who are involved in parental conflict often perform poorly in school since they blame themselves for as well as perceive themselves to be the cause of parental conflict. Such children do not possess the maturity to understand that their parents are the ones who not only create the conflict but also maintain it (Van Krieken, 2005). As a result, the children’s frustration is increased and the guild created within causes them not to be able to concentrate well in school. Parental conflict also tends to make the children start speaking ill of one parent in the presence of the other (McIntosh, et al., 2007).

This can be attributed to the fact that the child is at that particular time trying to win the favor of the parent he is with. Unfortunately this only creates more chances of parental conflict which continue to rise and in the process continue to harm the child (Johnson, et al., 2005).

Children hailing from homes experiencing parental conflict often suffer from health problems. For instance they tend to become run down and sick due to the tension present in such homes (Bond, 2007). They also tend to lack sleep thus affecting their overall physical and psychological health. Even though parental conflicts in some homes may be short term, the physical problems as well as anxiety experienced by such children might carry on for a year or more (McIntosh, 2005). The longer parental conflict goes on in a home the higher the chances that children will suffer psychological problems such as depression, low self esteem, anxiety as well as sleep difficulties (William, 2006).

In an environment intended or perceived to be secure, comfortable and safe to grow in parental conflict often creates a climate of tension, unpredictability as well as tension (Schoppe-Sullivan, et al., 2004). Children tend to feel frightened, helpless and anxious and as a result may worry about their parent’s and their own security (Fauchier & Margolin, 2004). Parents ought to be aware that children often tend to observe their actions and later on imitate them in their relationships with others. If the parents only resolve problems through conflicts, their children will most likely solve their own issues and communicate in the same manner once they reach adulthood (Schoppe-Sullivan, et al., 2004).

There are various causes as well as elements of parental conflict. Anger and revenge is one of them. One of the parents might intend to punish or revenge on the other by creation and increase of difficulties within the home (Doherty & Beaton, 2004)). For instance the parent might tend to devalue the other parent in presence of the children or exhaust the other parent’s assets encouraged by law as is in the case of divorce or separation (Bradbury & Norris, 2005).

Another element of parental conflict is interference of parent-child relationship whereby one parent’s ability to share in the child’s parenting process is interfered with by the other parent (Tritt & Pryor, 2005). For example a parent might take their child to day care when the other parent is in a position to provide the necessary care for the child. In other cases, one of the parents might deliberately delay during the exchange of children, using excuses to interfere with the other parent’s scheduled time with the child (Bradbury & Norris, 2005). This is in the case of divorce or separation.

Recent studies have revealed that parental conflict often results in emotional problems among children. When they are exposed to increased levels of parental conflict, instead of adapting to it, they become more reactive as well as sensitive to it (Harold, 2005). It has also been biologically determined that those children who have experienced or witnessed parental conflict possess increased levels of stress hormone, known as cortisol, as compared to children from normal homes (William, 2006). Such children have higher chances of developing future health problems.

Parental conflict ought to be handled in a manner so as not to affect the parties involved, in this case the children. The society as well as local government should combine efforts and implement ways of controlling parental conflict in homes (Moloney, 2005). There are a number of ways and recommendations as to how parental conflict can be avoided, and if already in existence, how it can be controlled for the benefit of the society.

It is important to shield and protect children from exposure to parental conflicts. Children are often extremely affected by verbal hostilities between parents. Such verbal interactions may include screaming, harsh criticisms, mocking, aggressive facial expressions, threats of harm and intimidation as well as name-calling (Doherty & Beaton, 2004). Children also need to be protected from hostile phone conversations between the parents.

It is crucial for parents to learn how to restrain themselves and control their emotions in the presence of the children of if they (children) are within hearing distance (William, 2006). Private meetings should be held to discuss difficult and sensitive issues between the parents. Counselors, lawyer or mediators should also be considered in cases where the sensitive issues cannot be resolved through private meetings (McIntosh, et al., 2007).

Included in normal everyday life are differences of opinion between individuals and occurrences of conflict is determined by how well these individuals communicate the differences (Tritt & Pryor, 2005). Resources have been made available to develop as well as use healthy communication skills in trying to resolve parental conflicts. Examples of these communication skills include problem solving, expression of feelings and ideas, negotiation strategies as well as active listening (Zutter, 2005). In application of these communication skills to relationships, children are able to observe and adapt the change in emotional tone from one of conflict to one of co-operation and respect (McIntosh, et al., 2007).

In parental conflict it is vital for the children to be informed of what is going on between the parents. Children tend to be self-centered and if they are not told or explained to concerning what is happening, they may imagine or have the notion that the parental conflict is their doing hence take the blame for it (McIntosh, 2005). In this case, parents should explain what the problem is and reassure the children that the conflict is not of their (children) doing. Parents should also reassure the children of their love regardless of presence of the conflict (Fauchier & Margolin, 2004).

Children from families experiencing conflict often suffer from low self esteem especially in situations where a parent verbally attacks the other using negative words. They perceive this attack as personal (El-Sheikh & Elmore-Staton, 2004). Parents therefore should learn to withhold negative comments or criticisms about each other from the children’s presence. Also during parental conflict children more often than not feel they have to align with one parent in order to gain favor with the other parent (Laakso, 2004). This usually creates an imbalance of a healthy family structure and the children end up having guilt feelings for rejecting or abandoning the other parent. Parents should therefore not encourage their children to empathize or take sides with them against the other parent (Doherty & Beaton, 2004).

Difference in parenting styles as well as parenting are normal and children often identify with both parents. They should not be made to feel guilty for loving each parent (William, 2006). Normally, children easily criticize or complain about their own parents but find it extremely hard to have to listen to criticisms as concerns their parents coming from other people or one of the parents (Pryor & Pattison, 2007). By respecting and recognizing their own differences, parents in the process of parenting teach their children to empathize with and respect individual differences in others (Ibid, 2007).

Throughout the world, unintentional as well as intentional forces continue to bring in key changes in family roles in practice and expectation. Within the family, social role is normally applied in a number of ways and they vary among one-parent, multiple parent and two parent families (Bond, 2007). Ordinary titles often identify family role locations for instance daughter, father, mother or son which identifies the status as well as gender of those within the family. If a member of the family decides to change his/her way of life, this can lead to changes in the behavior of the rest of the family members (William, 2006). Family psychologists and therapists have currently developed ways of observing patterns of behavior within families and helping them make changes.

Both parents and children need to be taught how to control and express anger in an appropriate manner (Harold, 2005). In families where there is presence of chronic parental conflict, emotional stress occurs. Some parents, not having knowledge on how to handle the conflict might console themselves in drugs or alcohol in an excessive manner as a way of escape (Bradbury & Norris, 2005). Here, counseling should be recommended as a means of emotional support to enable parents practice new and improved ways of communicating with each other. Parent coaching or education can also come in handy in cases where each parent has his/her own parenting style (Tritt & Pryor, 2005).

For those parents who are divorced or separated a workable co-parenting strategy ought to be developed for the benefit of the child. Parents should consider developing a plan for closely monitoring the child’s responses when schedule changes are made in the first two years after the separation or divorce (El-Sheikh & Elmore Staton, 2004). Parents should also be educated on how to go about making joint custody work for the betterment of the child/children involved. For instance, discussions should be held as concerns practical tips on logistics, the spirit of co-parenting as well s preventative measures to avoid future parental conflicts (Johnson, et al., 2005). For children who have experienced parental conflict, play therapy should be recommended as this will enable them to come to terms with the painful memories (McIntosh, 2005).


It can be concluded that indeed parental conflict exists in modern society and has escalated to alarming rates as compared with the past society. Children have been subjected to and made to bear the brunt of parental conflict over the years while the society has been ignorant of the situation.

It is high time that the society as well as local government made an effort to curb this form of menace within modern families. Once the recommendations are put into practice, parental conflict will be nothing but a bad memory from the past.


Bond, R. (2007). The Lingering Debate over the Parental Alienation Syndrome Phenomenon. Journal of Child Custody 4 (1/2). Pp. 37-54.

Bradbury, B. & Norris, K. (2005). Income and separation. Journal of Sociology, 41(4): 425-446.

Doherty, W.J., and Beaton, J. M. (2004). Mothers and Fathers Parenting Together. LEA’s Communication Series. In A.L. Vangelisti (Ed.). Handbook of Family Communication. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. pp. 269 – 286.

El-Sheikh, M., & Elmore-Staton, L. (2004). The Link between Marital Conflict and Child Adjustment: Parent-Child Conflict and Perceived Attachments as Mediators, Potentiators and Mitigators of Risk. Development & Psychopathology, 16(3): 631-648.

Fauchier, A., and Margolin, G. (2004). Affection and Conflict in Marital and Parent-Child Relationships. Journal of Marital & Family Therapy, 30. pp. 197 – 211.

Harold, G. T. (2005). Inter-parental Conflict and Children’s Adaptation to Separation and Divorce: Theory, Research and Implications for Family Law, Practice and Policy. Child and Family Law Quarterly, 17(2).

Pryor, J. E., & Pattison, R. (2007). Adolescents’ Perceptions of Parental Conflict: The Downside of Silence. Journal of Family Studies, 13(1): 72-77.

Tschann, J. M., Pasch, L. A., Flores, E., Marin, B. V., Baisch, E. M., & Wibbelsman, C. J. (2009). Nonviolent Aspects of Interparental Conflict and Dating Violence among Adolescents. Journal of Family Issues, 30(3): 295 – 319.

Johnson, N. E., Dennis P. S., and Wendy J. K. (2005). Child Custody Mediation in Cases of Domestic Violence: Empirical Evidence of a Failure to Protect. Violence Against Women, Vol. 11, No. 8. pp. 1022-1053.

Laakso, J. (2004). Key Determinants of Mother’s Decisions to Allow Visits with Non-Custodial Fathers. Fathering, 2. pp. 131 – 145.

McIntosh, J. (2005). Because it’s for the Kids: Building a Secure Parenting Base. Children in Focus. Australian Institute for Primary Care. La Trobe University. pp. 20.

McIntosh, J & Chisholm, R. (2007). Shared Care and Children’s Best Interests in Conflicted Separation: A Cautionary Tale from Current Research. Australian Family Lawyer, 20(1): 1 – 16.

McIntosh, J. E., Wells, Y. D., & Long, C. M. (2007). Child-focused and Child Inclusive Family Law Dispute Resolution: One Year Findings from a Prospective Study of Outcomes. Journal of Family Studies, 13(1): 8 – 25.

Moloney, L. (2005). Government’s Response to the Family Law Maze: The Family Relationship Centers Proposal. Journal of Family Studies, 11(1): 11 – 35.

Rohde, P., Peter M. L., Gregory N. C., Hyman, H., & John, R. S. (2005). The Adolescent Coping with Depression Course: A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach to the Treatment of Adolescent Depression. In Euthymia D. Hibbs, and Peter S. Jensen, eds. Psychosocial Treatments for Child and Adolescent Disorders: Empirically Based Strategies for Clinical Practice. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association. pp. 219-237.

Schoppe-Sullivan, S. J., Mangelsdorf, S.C., Frosch, C.A., & McHale, J. L. (2004). Associations Between Co-Parenting and Marital Behavior from Infancy to the Pre-school Years. Journal of Family Psychology, 18. pp. 194 – 207.

Tritt, A. M., & Pryor, J. E. (2005). The Relationship between Perceived Marital Conflict, Attitudes towards Parents, and Parenting Styles experienced by Adolescents. Journal of Family Studies, 11(2): 284 – 296.

Van Krieken, R. (2005). The ‘Best Interests of the Child’ and Parental Separation: On the ‘Civilizing of Parents’. Modern Law Review, 68 (1): 25-48.

William, G. G. (2006). New studies Confirm Impact of Parental Conflict on Children’s Future. University of Notre Dame. College of Arts and Letters.

Annotated Bibliographies

Bond, R. (2007). The Lingering Debate over the Parental Alienation Syndrome Phenomenon. Journal of Child Custody 4(1/2): 37-54.

The author in this journal explains that Parental Alienation Syndrome, also known as PAS originated from a child psychiatrist, Richard Gardner in his conclusion on his clinical experiences. This is whereby one parent attempts to separate their children or make them go against the other parent as a way of punishing the parent. The author then explains that in most cases, approximately 90%, the mother is the alienator and this often happens in child custody cases when the parents are going through a divorce or separation. In cases where the separation of the children from one of the parents did not work, mothers often come up with child abuse or sexual abuse against the child accusations in order to prevent further contact.

Bradbury, B. & Norris, K. (2005). Income and separation. Journal of Sociology, 41(4): 425-446.

In this journal, the authors try to bring out the fact that how much income a family earns determines marital stability. It is a fact that those with lower income are more likely to engage in parental conflict, divorce or separation as compared to average or high income earners. Low income earners are also more prone to stress related complications as well as alcohol and drug addiction as a way of dealing with their situations. The authors crumble the connection between lower income and relationship breakdowns. However, the inclusion of mental and emotional well being, extent to which an individual feels debt stress as well as life satisfaction may in the end override the importance of income hence reduce parental conflict rates within most families.

Pryor, J. E., & Pattison, R. (2007). Adolescents’ Perceptions of Parental Conflict: The Downside of Silence. Journal of Family Studies, 13(1): 72-77.

Authors in this journal highlight the possibility of the impact brought about by non-physical, non-verbal, silent conflict between parents and adolescents. A study was done on young adults as concerns the characteristics of silent conflict as well as its impact. Their behaviors as to the response made was also monitored. The authors reveal that observations made from the study were that the young adults felt they lacked control, security, resolution as well as ability to monitor what was going on. They, as a way of dealing with those emotions behaved badly so as to distract their parents. In conclusion, the authors state that silent conflict is a real problem which causes the young people distress.

Tschann, J. M., Pasch, L. A., Flores, E., Marin, B. V., Baisch, E. M., & Wibbelsman, C. J. (2009). Nonviolent Aspects of Interparental Conflict and Dating Violence among Adolescents. Journal of Family Issues, 30(3): 295 – 319.

The authors in this journal were examining whether non-violent characteristics of Interparental conflict determined dating violence as well as victimization among adolescents, mostly aged between 16 years and 20 years. It was revealed that when parents often engaged in conflict, had poor conflict resolutions or expressed their anger more verbally during conflict, the adolescents ended up being physically violent when dating. The adolescents’ emotional distress acted as a go-between in the relationships between dating violence and nonviolent parental conflicts. On the contrary, Interparental conflicts directly determined presence of dating violence. The authors then conclude that emotional process as well as cognitive process would in more ways than one help explain how nonviolent aspects of parental conflict affect adolescents’ behavior when involved romantically in relationships.

McIntosh, J & Chisholm, R. (2007). Shared Care and Children’s Best Interests in Conflicted Separation: A Cautionary Tale from Current Research. Australian Family Lawyer, 20(1): 1 – 16.

The authors in this article bring out new data on the well being of those children whose parents, even though separated, continue to engage in parental conflict. The amendment made to the Family Law Act in 2006 made it so that there would be equal share of parental responsibility for those children whose parents are separated. The article also highlights considerations made between a child’s well being and parental animosity, agreement as well as living arrangements. Interparental conflict was closely associated with high rates of children’s emotional distress. Authors in this article also put emphasis on the impact of shared care on younger children as well as toddlers in inappropriate living provisions.

McIntosh, J. E., Wells, Y. D., & Long, C. M. (2007). Child-focused and Child Inclusive Family Law Dispute Resolution: One Year Findings from a Prospective Study of Outcomes. Journal of Family Studies, 13(1): 8 – 25.

The authors of this article highlight the outcomes of a study done over a period of 1 year carried out on two kinds of parents who were separated. These groups attended mediation as concerns their deep-rooted parenting conflicts. There were also treatment methods implemented in order to improve the psychological decree of parental conflict as well as reducing distress for their children in the process. The authors then go ahead to indicate in this article that the child-focused intervention made the needs of those children involved in high conflict divorce a priority without directly involving the children. On the other hand, the child-inclusive intervention integrated separate consultation with the children by a specialist in each family. The conclusion reached at the end of this article is that the interventions were more workable and durable over a long period of time.

Moloney, L. (2005). Government’s Response to the Family Law Maze: The Family Relationship Centers Proposal. Journal of Family Studies, 11(1): 11 – 35.

In this journal, the author has considered the implementation of centers meant to handle family relationships as well as the challenges that these centers face in attempting to tackle parental conflict. He also investigates the centers’ strengths and the limitations they have in the family law system placed to handle family conflicts. The success of the family centers largely depend on the community’s recognition of their existence for separation related conflicts between parents. Also in this journal, the author brings out the fact that a typology of post-separation conflicts has been proposed so as to connect families to services which best cater for their needs.

Tritt, A. M., & Pryor, J. E. (2005). The Relationship between Perceived Marital Conflict, Attitudes towards Parents, and Parenting Styles experienced by Adolescents. Journal of Family Studies, 11(2): 284 – 296.

This article takes a look at the parenting styles from adolescents’ point of view, relationships among marital conflicts as well as perceptions of parents. A research was carried out on a number of high school students aged between 16 years and 19 years to investigate these factors. The authors in this article indicate that the results obtained from the study revealed that marital conflict was positively connected with negative views of parents but negatively connected with positive views of the parents. It is also noted in the article that findings made from the study would be effecting in contributing to education programs so as to address the negative effects of marital conflicts.

Van Krieken, R. (2005). The ‘Best Interests of the Child’ and Parental Separation: On the ‘Civilizing of Parents’. Modern Law Review, 68 (1): 25-48.

The author in this article states that Family Law Act implemented would be of great help in creating an incentive to modify the gender division of labor within families which are considered intact. If children, after separation of their parents gain the right of contact with both of them, then fathers will end up making no effort to involve actively in the child’s life. The author also indicates that if there was a presumption created by the Family Law Act that parenting arrangements during post-separation should mirror each parent’s relationship with the child/children prior to separation it would more effectively stimulate shared care as well as fatherhood before and after the separation. This would also reduce the demand for dispute resolution involving a third party.

El-Sheikh, M., & Elmore-Staton, L. (2004). The Link between Marital Conflict and Child Adjustment: Parent-Child Conflict and Perceived Attachments as Mediators, Potentiators and Mitigators of Risk. Development & Psychopathology, 16(3): 631-648.

Conflicts in the family always influence the child’s behavior in future and the child’s relation to conflicts in general. The main aim of the research in the article was to investigate the moderation and mediation effects of marital conflicts on child’s attitude to the life and the behavior in future. The main method, which was used, is the experiment, which was supported by the observations. The older children and young adolescents were more influenced by the marital conflicts and the main result of the experiment was that the aggregation, potentiation, and amelioration of risk for problem solving were directly connected with the marital conflicts. The core conclusion of the investigation is that the relations in the family should be considered and structured, and the atmosphere assessed inside the family for providing children with the perfect upbringing.

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