I always assumed he was getting beaten during the commercials
So when one of my kids does something that trips my temper, there is this quick and insane urge to grab him by the shirt, pin him against the wall, and put the fear of God into him so he never messes up like that again. And I have to stop that shit before it starts.
Remember when you were learning to ride a bike, and you hadn't quite mastered the brakes? And you're speeding down the street when suddenly a tree jumps out in front of you, and before you can remember how to stop, BAM! It hurt like a motherfucker and you considered not getting back on, for fear that it would unleash another attempt at child murder. But sooner or later, you got back on, and your fear of hitting that tree again made you instantly know where those brakes were and how to operate them.
That is, you can use fear. Not to keep the kids in line, but to keep yourself in line. In that split second I remember the absolute fucking terror that shot through my body when I was that age, that utterly horrifying, sickening feeling of raw fear when I knew what was coming... and I stop. I suddenly remember where the brakes are.
If you can do that, then congratulations, fellow parent who had shitty parents. You've graduated from "destined for jail" to "now what? Where do I go to find out how to do it right?"