Growing up as the son of a police officer and spending 13 years in the job myself, I have a unique perspective to understand the impact that a career in law enforcement, military or as a first responder has on your family. Your family doesn't understand that your job is not a normal one. They cannot understand the pressures, stress, violence and trauma that you encounter every day. They cannot understand the impact of the life and death decisions that you need to make, and they also can't understand the accumulative effect of the stress and how it impacts you.

You don't go home after a day of work and explain to your family what a horrific day you had. You don’t walk them through a crime scene, but you do unfortunately take the impact home. Over the last few months, I've delivered over 45 presentations to police officers on critical stress and the most impactful part of that session, as demonstrated by their feedback, has been the minimisation of the impact on their family.

There's a tool that I would love you to use. Talk to your family and explain to them that your job is going to have an impact on you and that it can be difficult at times, and give them permission to use this phrase with you. Tell them to use this phrase as a circuit breaker for you, "Are you angry at us or are you angry at something else?" When you give your family the permission to use this phrase to help you snap out of a bad mood, isolation or any other behaviour, it allows you to stop and realise you may be taking the stress fo your job out on them. Obviously they cant’ adapt it to whatever behaviour they see in you t the time. For example “Are you deliberately shutting me out or is there something else bothering you?” or similar.

I know this sounds a bit out there and “WOO WOO” Dr Phil, but what it does is allows your family and those close to you to be able to get through to you without being confrontational or accusatory. My daughters and I use this now and it works wonders for me being able to see if I am taking out stress or frustration on them.

There are five key things you can do that will help you handle the stresses within your career, and they are simply 1. Sleep 8 hours 2. Train 3. Eat clean 4. Meditate, and 5. Educate yourself through personal development. You can get a lot more information on these if you go to What these do is help minimize that impact. Your family is going to be impacted by you and what you experience in the job because you must be impacted by that experience yourself. What you can do is take responsibility for that impact and proactively handle it for you and for them.

As human beings, we are self-centric. If you don't give them the information, they will make it up, and the evidence that they concoct will mean that you don't love them or you're not connected to them or you don't care about them. It is imperative that you help minimize the impact that the job has on your family by explaining to them when you've had a tough day, by explaining to them when you're feeling really stressed, by explaining to them when your temper is short and your fuse is lit so that you don't have that impact. they understand that the job is impacting you and that's not a bad thing, then they will not have the same damage done to them as if they think it's about them.

Minimising the impact on them is your responsibility. ~ Shaun O’Gorman