“Sssssh. I love you, but if you shriek one more time I will have to cut off my own ears. That won't harm you directly, but me cutting off my own ears is likely to lead to questions about my mental stability. I could be placed under some sort of psychiatric observation and possibly deemed incapable of being a parent.

"Things will get more and more difficult for your mother, eventually causing her to end our marriage, creating a spiral of misfortunes which dramatically affects your life chances.

"You could end up with your mother having her own mental break down, and a father barred from seeing you, who spends what remains of his earless life living under bridges, shouting at lorries to be quiet and muttering to himself as he desperately tries to find a way to stop his glasses falling off his head. So please, try using your indoor voices.”

I never say this to my children. I simply ask them, for the thousandth time, not to shout.

When I’m trying to relax, my eldest son loves nothing more than to charge around bellowing like a turbo-charged police siren.

But in fairness, that’s nothing. My daughter is a hundred times louder. Just her normal speaking voice is more piercing than the take-off shriek of a jet engine, so overwhelming is her expectation that everything she says must be clearly heard by all on the planet.

Then she gets angry. And the screaming starts.

It’s at this point that the auditory torture team unleashes their coup de grace. My two-year-old, having suffered some terrible misfortune like, say, dropping his biscuit, starts crying at unbelievable volume, adding a layer to the wall of noise which creates profound anxiety.

I slip away to find a pair of scissors.

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