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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    My partner is always stressed and it makes me stressed. Will this effect our children?

    My partners stress is always brought home from work and as a result i am constantly stressed and anxious and i am concerned that our children will become concerned and stressed as a result. It feels like an endess cycle, starting from my husbands stress and inability to control it himself, he often takes it out on me and the kids. How will this effect the children?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Gai Baker-Luz

    Psychologist

    I am a Registered Psychologist specialising in Relationship Counselling I have a Graduate Diploma in Couple therapy and enjoy working both with individuals couples and ... View Profile

    Dealing with stress is essential for you both as you parent. Being able to separate out the causes of stress for each of you independently is helpful. A quick strategy to prevent escalation when your partner comes home is to plan a joint time of about 20 mins early in the evening when you can both debrief for about 10 mins each so each get to be the speaker and the listener preferably with kids occupied elsewhere and a snack for the 2 of you. It would be good to understand what you mean by your husband's inability to control himself in terms of everyone feeling safe in the house.

  • Anthony Berrick

    Psychologist

    How you and your partner feel will not affect your children. However, how you and your partner behave will certainly affect them.

    The point I'm trying to make is that it is absolutely normal and okay to feel stressed, as long as you can behave in a way that has a positive impact on your children (and each other), instead of a negative one.

    Work and parenting can both be extremely stressful at times, so it seems unrealistic to simply attempt to reduce the amount of stress that you and your partner feel. 

    Instead, learning how to deal better with stress, so that it doesn't negatively impact the things you care most deeply about - your relationships with your children and each other - seems like a more realistic and meaningful goal.

  • I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about ... View Profile

    I wonder what you may mean when you say your husband takes out his stress on you and the children. If you are feeling anxious as well as stressed around your partner, this is concerning.

    As others have already mentioned, there is a difference between feelings and behaviour. Any behaviour that causes others to feel scared or like they are 'walking on eggshells' may be considered violence. Violence is not just physical (e.g. hitting someone or causing damage to property), but may include emotional (e.g. using abusive language such as insults and put-downs), or psychological (e.g.making threats). If you want more information about this, to help you think about whether this is what's going on for you, go to https://www.1800respect.org.au/get-help/common-questions/what-is-domestic-family-violence/ which also gives advice about where to get help for you, your children and your husband.

    Any behaviour that makes you feel anxious will also be negatively affecting your children. If there is violence happening, this can have longer-term damaging effects on children's emotional and mental health. 

    If you don't think your partner's behaviour is violent, but wish to get help for more effective ways of managing stress, your husband can see a psychologist or counsellor to help him learn to deal with his stress differently. Couples counselling can also be helpful here to equip you both with strategies to help you connect well, and learn how to avoid getting caught in negative cycles of communicating that can take over a relationship and affect not just you but your children too.

    All the best.

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