My wife and I noticed that everyone in our house was losing their temper more than usual (aside from the dog, who retreats upstairs when people argue) and after an especially ugly weekend when we both resorted to whacking our son on the ass (on separate occasions) we decided to institute a new system, with two jars and a bunch of "animal counters," and since everyone in our house thrives on competition, we made it a contest . . . Alex and Ian versus my wife and me: if you lose your shit, then a counter goes into the jar, and I am proud to say that I haven't flipped out on my kids for over a week (nine days, to be exact) but I have noticed an inverse relationship between not-flipping-out and alcohol consumption . . . serenity now!