By Davina Hyde
A charity is providing online support to stressed-out couples during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 70-year-old Tavistock Relationships has launched a project to help London parents experiencing relationship and parenting problems in lockdown.
The programme offers free support to parents, whether they are living together or apart, and has now gone online in response to the pandemic.
A member of the Tavistock Relationships team working in Lambeth said: “Many families experience overcrowding in their homes. Parents and children share small living spaces.
“The pandemic has intensified the challenges these families face physically and mentally.
“One room is often used for school work, play, cooking, tidying up, work and socialising all at the same time by the whole family.”
One local parent, Claire, a single mum, said: “The sessions were very relaxed. I wasn’t pressured into talking about things and was free to go at my own pace.
“The practitioner who helped me was amazing. She saw things from a different angle and helped me to find my own solutions.
“It was a new idea for me to look at the world from my ex-partner’s point of view and to try and work out how he felt.
“If I hadn’t gone through this counselling process I’m not sure what life would look like now.
“It sounds dramatic, but I was in such a negative place that I didn’t think there was any light at the end of the tunnel.
“I know now that I can deal with my ex-partner. It may not work all the time but mostly it works enough to put me in a much better position mentally.”
Sarah Ingram, head of the Building Relationships for Stronger Families programme for Tavistock Relationships, said: “Research shows us that conflict between parents can have a negative effect on children’s development in terms of mental and physical health, problems with school work, sleep difficulties, and in the relationships they make themselves as they grow up.
“Lockdown has increased conflict between parents – both together and separated – and we are concerned that children, who are already having to deal with their own lockdown stresses, might be caught up in the crossfire.”
Tavistock Relationships is providing a free online programme to support parents living in Lambeth, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Camden and Brent.
Therapists are happy to arrange appointments early in the morning or late at night to accommodate callers who do not wish to be overheard by their children.
Couples and families can apply for free support direct at https://www.tavistockrelationships.org/relationship-help/free-services or by calling 020 7380 1960.
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