Friends and Family - Family Matters

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For many couples this isn't a problem at least not at the beginning of the relationship but when children come along difficulties with partners' families often crop up.

Difficult decisions have to be made about parenting and a competition between 'my family' and 'your family' can arise. Often each of you wants to raise the children in the same way as you were brought you up. It is important to remember that grandparents can be a support to you and your children. Research shows that most children view their grandparents as fun companions, and many children say they confide in their grandparents when they are worried.

Each week a quarter of families in the UK use a grandparent to provide child care. If you feel that your partner's parents interfere it is worth remembering that this is just a way of showing they care. Often it helps to try to focus on what you do like about them rather than the things or ideas you find difficult. If this doesn't help it is important that you and your partner show a united front. It can be difficult to stand up to a parent but if you and your partner can agree and be supportive of each other, you're more likely to find a way of overcoming strained relationships.

Most couples will have various sets of friends from different areas of their lives - work mates, people we went to school with, friends made through having children the same age.