Q&A: The Verbally Abusive Spouse

Q: My husband is very harsh with his words to our kids and it worries me sometimes. How can I help him with this?

Gary: I think the starting place is to simply say to him, “I know you don’t mean to do this, but when you talk to our kids that way it hurts me deeply. I know the kids are also hurt by your words.” Suggest that he talk to a pastor or a counselor and learn to express himself with words that are less painful to you. Put the situation on the table for him. Now he is at least consciously aware of what his actions are doing. You’re not yelling at him asking him to stop yelling at the kids, you’ve merely asked that he take steps to change his behavior.