Toilet Paper Incident between Mother and Son has some lessons.   A 26-yr old man physically assaults his own mother over toilet paper (Come on, you knew stuff like this was going to happen!) What conflict de-escalation lessons can we learn from this incident?

woman with toilet paper.Toilet Paper Incident between Mother and Son has some lessons Click here for the story

I’m sure we all know that there is so much more going on with the family than this incident with the toilet paper, the dynamics and dysfunction has been there for over 20 years, and after all apparently this man was living at home but at basic face value from the news story it highlights some teaching points –

1- People can easily find themselves frustrated and argumentative when the issue is an emotional one to them.  Politics, religion, sports teams, guns, climate change, and so on.  In this case, toilet paper.

2- Domestic arguments can become physically violent, sometimes very quickly.  In my 20 years as a police officer I have witnessed and experienced how quickly a domestic situation can go sideways dramatically.  There is a reason that domestic calls are considered the most dangerous call a police officer can go on.

3- People under stress will end up saying or doing something that will escalate the situation.  I saw this time and time again, and continue to see it and hear about it happening at churches and businesses.  We continue to see it in situations that end up on Youtube.

Toilet Paper Incident between Mother and Son has some lessons, so what could have been differently to de-escalate the situation and keep the peace?  Once again, just at face value and not taking into consideration that the issues in the family have been brewing for decades.  What could have been done in this one incident, this one moment in time?

1- Develop situation awareness of the attitude and behavior of the people around you.  Whether you are at home, at the movies, a restaurant, whereever, make note of what is going on around you so that if something begins to go wrong or you sense that something is about to go wrong, you can start doing something about it, such as move yourself and anyone with you to a safer location.  In this case, the mother could have sensed her son was getting agitated over something and started to do something about it.  Churches and businesses such as banks have people who are “regulars”, and staff and volunteers should have a feel for what is “normal” with them, so that if one day they come in and have a different expression, or tone of voice, or even a different walk, it should be noted and possibly addressed.

2- Develop self awareness and discipline to consider that possible outcome and consequences of your actions and words.  What did this mother think was going to happen when she hid the toilet paper from her son?

3- The longer a stressful situation is allowed to go on, the higher the probability that someone is going to do or say something that will escalate the situation, make it worse.  There were many times I would talk to witnesses to an incident and they would comment that they could either sense that things were going to get worse but chose not to “believe” it and ignored the warning signs.

4- Make sure an extra roll of toilet paper is always available in the bathroom somewhere!!!

This toilet Paper Incident between Mother and Son has some lessons, but again, the issues in this family go waaaay back, but at face value, for this one specific incident, it could have been totally avoided but since it happened, how could it have been handled differently if at all?

Besides, if you are out of toilet paper, just remember you have laundry that you are going to throw into the wash anyway!

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