You just walked in the door from work, maybe you just need a second to regroup from a hectic day. But NO! The kids are fighting and making dinner demands, the dog is barking, and you spy the mess in the kitchen, revealing ignored chores.
Welcome to arsenic hour.
Domestic violence peeks at this time – so named one of the most poisonous hours to family relations.
So what to do? As your fight, flight, or freeze response is kicking into high gear, you have options.
- Fight and risk damaging relationships, your health, property, and parental reputation.
- Freeze and let the situation continue to escalate.
- Flight and go to a safe place to regroup for a minute.
Did you choose fight? If you did, fight the problem and not the people, and make sure you all agree what the real problem is. It takes incredible discipline and leadership skill! Only attempt this if you are feeling at the top or your game. Stress drops IQ- did I mention you are tired and hungry as well in this scenario?
Did you choose flight? This is best for the rest!
Where do you run to? Back down the driveway? Lock yourself in the bathroom?
How about your exit response? Scream and yell at them to shut the $#*% up, kick the dog, and slam the door? Just kidding!
How about –
- Assess – is everyone safe at the moment?
- Believe – Believe you can do this!
- Control – This starts with you, and “there’s an app for that!”
Excuse yourself with a validating, reassuring whisper – something like. “Oh good, you are all home. I will be right back so we can decide on dinner!”
Circumstance do not allow you to leave? Your phone is a tool for you still. Switch on the calming music or positive affirmations to throw-off negative energy. Find that “happy” place in your head and just breathe through it, listening and prioritizing safety, hunger needs, and nurturing and alas, humor.
Consider saving discipline for bad behavior until after everyone has eaten and is feeling rested. Let them know that their behavior will be discussed later. Then follow through.
Control begins with you. You are the parent. Don’t mirror THEIR bad behavior. DO give them a chance to mirror YOUR good behavior. Get yourself calm and in control of you so you can think more clearly and prioritize. Phone a friend or find an app or both. What you come up with to turn the situation into a happy one might surprise you, and them too!
While you are starting the new year off with goal setting apps, check out all the apps you have available to you for anger management, controlling anxiety.. Parenting apps.. Be prepared!
From our family (who had many arsenic hours before figuring out how to turn them around), to yours!