Young girl in argument with mother, giving her the hand

Mother in argument with daughter, who gives her the hand. (© lightwavemedia -

LONDON — “To all you kids across the land, there’s no need to argue — parents just don’t understand.” DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince try and tell it like it in their famous 1988 hit, “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” but for moms and dads near and far, it seems that kids always want to spar. One recent survey shows that parents and young children find themselves mired in arguments numerous times a day, and perhaps more than they realize.

According to the survey of 2,000 British adults with kids between the ages of 2 and 12, parents have an average of 2,184 arguments with their children every year. Broken down, that translates to 182 spats per month, 42 per week, or 6 each day.

The survey also indicated that the average parent-child fight lasts about eight minutes — which means moms and dads are using nearly 50 minutes of their day for bickering.

Most of these arguments, the survey shows, concerns children’s preferences in what activity they want to participate in, or what they want to eat or drink on a daily basis. Youngsters not eating everything on their plates at mealtime is the most common cause of these arguments, followed by arguments over unclean bedrooms. Third on the list was children demanding unhealthy snacks or refusing healthy options.

Respondents say they wind up winning about half of the arguments, but after going back and forth with unrelenting children for long enough, about 60% of those surveyed said they compromise to keep the peace.

“Many parents believe that reaching a compromise with their children is the best way to keep everyone happy,” a spokesman for popular beverage maker Capri-Sun, which commissioned the survey, says in a. “With the majority of household rows being about food and drink, mums and dads have the tricky task of settling a fight while still keeping the upper hand.”

To get the job done, the survey found that 9 in 10 parents offer kids rewards for doing what they’re told, such as extra time on a digital device, or pocket cash. On the flip side, 45% of moms and dads will threaten to take away screen time as a common punishment.

Rounding out the top five argument instigators, the survey found that children saying they’re full without touching their meal and siblings fighting were the next common causes of parent-child conflict.

Here’s a look at the top 30 causes of family arguments, per survey results:

1. Children not eating everything on their plate
2. Untidy bedrooms
3. Children saying they are hungry but not wanting to eat anything healthy
4. Children complaining they are full after barely touching their food
5. Siblings fighting with each other
6. Children eating sweets or chocolate before a meal
7. Children trying to delay bedtime, or not going to sleep
8. Homework
9. Children wanting to go on gadgets more often than they are allowed
10. Children not brushing their teeth at all/ for long enough
11. Dirty laundry being left on the floor instead of in the laundry basket
12. Children not drinking enough water
13. Children wanting soft drinks instead of water
14. Children not helping out with their share of the household chores
15. Children wanting something sweet to drink too close to bedtime
16. Children not wanting to have a bath or shower
17. Lost items
18. Broken items
19. What time children should go to bed
20. What to watch on TV
21. Children wanting to buy something you/they can’t afford
22. Empty food and drink cartons being put back in the fridge or cupboards
23. Children grabbing a snack without asking
24. Children insisting on having lots of sauce or ketchup with their meal
25. Children playing music or the television too loud
26. Gadgets being used at the dinner table
27. Children leaving plates or dishes in their bedroom
28. Requests for money
29. Someone spending too long in the bathroom
30. Whose turn it in to wash up, put the dishes away, load or unload the dishwasher

About Ben Renner

Writer, editor, curator, and social media manager based in Denver, Colorado. View my writing at

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