See It Differently: new digital resources launched to help parents move towards conflict resolution

12 Oct 2020 |Written by Emily Redmond


Since April 2019 we’ve been working with relationships charity OnePlusOne to test ways of reducing parental conflict through digital and blended support. This test and learn project is part of the Reducing Parental Conflict Challenge Fund funded by the Department for Work and Pensions.

With this funding we created the See It Differently programme which aims to reach parents on low incomes and with low digital skills, with helpful content to improve their relationships, in trusted online and offline channels.

This in itself is a big challenge. How can we reach people with content about a sensitive and sometimes taboo subject, when they don’t necessarily recognise there is anything wrong?

To explore some of these topics and co-design some solutions, we spent 9 months conducting user research and running workshops with parents in their communities, supported by passionate staff and volunteers. You can read more about how we involved parents in the co-design phase in this blog.

Recap of phase one

After co-designing with 138 parents from 11 different communities, we launched four videos back in January 2020, all grounded in Behaviour Modelling Training – and we saw great results!

  • Between January and the end of March, the videos were viewed 834,797 times across Facebook and YouTube, and had over 11,000 views on Instagram with the help of 5 influencers.
  • 22 staff and volunteers from 12 community organisations were trained in relational capability. They in turn supported 122 parents to identify conflict in their relationships and learn some skills to help make things better.
  • Parents who watched the videos online independently said they were; more aware of how they argued, more aware of constructive conflict skills, felt able to use those skills and intended to use them the next time they argued with their partner.
  • Analysis of Facebook comments showed that the videos resonated with viewers’ personal experiences and raised awareness of the impact of conflict on children.
  • Parents who attended sessions in their communities felt that the videos helped them to become more aware of how they argue, how they might change their behaviour and how they might adopt some of the skills demonstrated in the videos. Some even reported putting these skills into practice.

Contextualising See It Differently in light of COVID-19

The last few months have been challenging for everyone. The pandemic has put extra pressure on families as they adjust to working from home, homeschooling their children, social isolation and increased financial pressure. With many of us spending more time at home, this has put a strain on relationships across the country.

Digital content has the potential to build on trusted relationships between community organisations and parents. That’s why in March 2020, just as lockdown hit, we successfully bid for and were awarded extension funding to develop our interventions and learn even more.

So what’s new in the extension?

In phase one of the project we helped people to ‘see it differently’ – now we want to help people ‘do it differently’. We used findings from our evaluation report, and our assessment of the potential impact of lockdown to inform our focus for the second phase.

We knew the videos helped parents to identify conflict in their families but that they often faced obstacles when putting what they had learnt into practice. Obstacles like “it wouldn’t work like that for me” and “it’s different in my family”. So we have worked with 18 parents remotely, to co-design and test two new animations with the aim of helping people overcome some of these barriers.

We have co-designed a digital resource pack to help practitioners, community staff and volunteers to have conversations with parents about relationships and to work with them to learn some new skills that might help. This has come at a crucial time as providing face-to-face support is now so tricky. It’s fantastic that we’re able to provide an expert resource to practitioners that will be available beyond the end of the project.

We will be testing the extended programme until December and then concentrating on our evaluation to see the impact of our interventions. How does the digital practitioner pack compare to the face-to-face practitioner training? How do outcomes for parents who see the expanded package of digital content compare to those who saw just the initial videos? And how do community partners fare with referring and supporting parents remotely during these challenging times?

The animations along with the original videos can be found at www.seeitdifferently.org. We have also used the extension period to test and develop this site, with signposting to expert organisations and further support for parents.

How you can get involved

If you know someone who you think could benefit from some support, take a look at the resources on SeeItDifferently.org. Feel free to share them with other organisations too. If you would like to access the practitioner guide, please visit seeitdifferently.org/practitioners-only. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the project, get in touch by emailing emily@goodthingsfoundation.org.