My kids know my dark secret.

I have an alternative, evil personality.

His name is “Grumpy daddy.”

I don’t turn green and suddenly rip my clothes when he emerges, but the personality shift isn’t that different. Instead of the peaceful and fun-loving father they expect, they have a grouch who just wants to be left a long.

I don’t like grumpy daddy, no one likes grumpy daddy, and yet he is a fixture of our house.

Just like Bruce Banner, I haven’t found a cure for my alternative personality, but I have found a trick that works well when I remember it.

Play grumpy

If I can put on a silly voice and give my reasons for being annoyed, I don’t transform into grumpy daddy.

It’s amazing how it works but I can instantly switch into a more appropriate mode. When the kids have done something wrong and we need to talk about it, I can talk about it sensibly AND THEY LISTEN! (I know!). And when it doesn’t really matter — most of the time — I can reveal how silly my grumpiness really is.

The only challenge…

Remember to make the jump isn’t easy.

When the red mist descends, the lizard brain wants me to react instantly. It wants me to escalate the tension, to give in and lose control. The adrenal makes it harder to have a cohesive thought let alone remember to be playful.

But I’ve had some success. And I’m writing this to remind me to do it more.

Thinking about this idea especially before a grumpy daddy situation arises can help, at least that’s what I’ve seen so far.

I hope this helps you and I’d love to know what already does help you.