Relationships and parenting

Stroke brings up strong emotions that can impact relationships. It will also bring changes to lifestyle, routines and roles. After a stroke, couples may have to adjust to a different kind of relationship, which can present challenges. A health crisis like a stroke can also cause us to re-evaluate our feelings and priorities, leading to a renewed and stronger relationship.

Families are often worried about how children will react and how they will cope after a family member’s stroke. Like adults, each child will cope differently. Children may not be able to express their feelings in words, instead expressing their feelings through behaviour or play. Older children may choose not to discuss how they are feeling with you, but may make their feelings known in other ways. Children may start to act younger or look for more attention.

The parenting skills you already have will get you through this time, but it can help to:

  • Talk to your children about what’s happening
  • Be guided by your children’s wishes about visiting the hospital
  • Try and maintain family routines and rules
  • Ask others to help support your children.

There are services and supports available to help you and your family adjust to life after stroke. Counselling can help you sort through feelings, communicate better and develop practical strategies to improve your relationships. Relationships Australia and Carers Australia provide free counselling and resources to individuals, couples and families. Your GP may also be able to arrange for subsidised  psychology sessions under Chronic Disease Management Plan. 

Having a stroke puts stress on relationships.

After a stroke, your family will have to adjust.

This can be difficult.

But it can also build stronger relationships.


You might be worried how your kids will feel.

Everyone is different.

Younger kids show their feelings by what they do.

This can be when they are playing or how they act.

Older kids may not want to talk about things.

They may show their feelings in other ways.

They can start to act younger.

They can look for more attention.

Things you can do

Talk to your kids about what’s happening.

Let them decide if they want to visit you in hospital.

Try to keep family routines and rules.

Ask other people for help.

Ways to get help

There are services that can help.

Counselling can help you sort through feelings.

Seeing a counsellor together can help you talk to each other.

The counsellor can give you things to work on.

Relationships Australia and Carers Australia provide free counselling.

Also talk to your general practitioner.

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