Healthy relationships

We All Have Arguments – How Do You Solve Yours?

Updated June 2020

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents us all with huge challenges in protecting ourselves and our families and it’s important to stay at home at the moment. But over long periods of time, this can put a strain on relationships and might lead to arguments.

Here are some tips to help you reduce anxiety and stress at home:

  • Pause- is a disagreement escalating to a point where you are no longer in control and you are just reacting? If so, take a breath and re-assess the situation.
  • Think- try to reflect on why an argument started. Ask yourself how you were feeling before the conversation started and whether you were already feeling anxious or tense.
  • Resolve it – take a step back. Is this argument about something important, or can you come back to it when you are both calmer?

In Essex we believe that family stability is the key to delivering the best outcomes for children and young people, and that good parental relationships (whether you are living together or not) are at the heart of that stability.

Arguments and conflict between parents occur for a number of reasons and when they are managed and resolved there are few, if any, lasting effects on the relationship or on children.  However, where arguments are frequent, intense and poorly resolved, children can be affected in many different ways; they may feel responsible, become withdrawn, sad or angry.  These effects can have many impacts including their ability to form and maintain healthy relationships of their own.

Often, changing small things or responding in a different way during arguments can help. Try the healthy relationships questionnaire below to help you identify the strengths in your relationship and areas that may need a little more work.

If you feel there are specific things that you would like some guidance on or are just curious about how other people manage their relationships then visit OnePlusOne. Here there are many resources, tips, articles and blogs that can guide you through some of the most tricky relationship issues.

Healthy relationship questionnaire

What about doing the Healthy Relationships Questionnaire? It has been developed as part of healthy relationships work in Essex. It has been designed to help you consider your relationship with your partner and the strengths and challenges you may face. This questionnaire aims to help you think about your relationship and where you may want to make some changes.

You can also try these links for information on common relationship issues.

Parenting Together support programme- online referrals

If you feel you need direct support with resolving/managing conflict in your relationship you may be eligible for a new service in Essex. The Parenting Together programme was launched in July 2019 and will be available until 2021 to parents in Essex who meet the criteria. You can be referred in by a professional who is supporting/working with you or a member of your family. This could be a teacher, nurse, health visitor, family worker, GP, social worker or youth/play worker. Alternatively, you can self-refer by visiting the Parenting Together page on Tavistock Relationships website.

Is it more than arguments and conflict?

We all have arguments and disagreements with our partners (and ex partners) or family and most of the time we can sort things out or may need a little bit of guidance or support to help us. Ask yourself ‘how does this relationship make me feel?’ Do you feel sad, frightened, exhausted, lonely, down, unloved, loved too much, suffocated or a hundred other feelings that you can’t quite put into words.

Some relationships (whether this is with a current partner, ex-partner or family member) can be abusive and sometimes we don’t realise it. There are lots of organisations that you can speak to in confidence that will help you to better understand if your relationship is abusive and what support is available.  The National Women’s Aid Organisation have some prompt questions and guidance on their website that will help with this, or alternatively if you need to speak to someone in Essex, you can visit the Compass website or phone them 24 hours a day 7 days a week on 0330 333 7 444.

Useful information/contacts
  • Contact Citizens Advice for issues relating to; housing, law, benefits, work etc
  • Family Lives offer support and guidance to parents regarding a variety of things; pregnancy and birth, school, play, behaviour, health, bullying etc. They have a website with a forum for parents and also have a helpline if you need to speak to someone on 0808 800 2222
  • The Money Advice Service offers guidance on all things finance related; debt and borrowing, budget management and saving, renting and mortgages, divorce and separation etc If you want to speak to someone they offer a web chat or you can phone them on 0800 138 7777
  • Relate are a national organisation that offers support and guidance to individuals and families around their relationships. They have counselling services, online resources and also offer a web chat.
  • The Change Project is committed to preventing conflict in relationships in whatever form that takes. They provide counselling which addresses sexual problems, enables young people to develop healthy balanced relationships and deliver training such as domestic violence perpetrator programmes.
  • If you are a professional and interested in the reducing parental conflict work in Essex then please email healthy.relationships@essex.gov.uk

Livewell Partners