News Copy – By Gemma Francis

Parents will have 2,184 arguments with their children every year – and more than half of those are about food and drink, a study has found.

Researchers who polled 2,000 parents of children aged 2-12 revealed many find themselves falling out with their offspring about what they want to do, eat or drink on a daily basis.

As a result, each day in the average household will see families disagreeing six times – a total of 42 rows a week or 182 a month.

Children not eating everything on their plate is the most common cause of arguments, followed by untidy bedrooms and youngsters complaining about being hungry but then turning their nose up at anything ‘healthy’.

But it also emerged parents will only ‘win’ just over half of the rows, with six in 10 mums and dads admitting they often end up compromising to keep the peace.

A spokesman for Capri-Sun, which commissioned the research, said: “Many parents believe that reaching a compromise with their children is the best way to keep everyone happy.

“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.

“Feedback from parents led us to update the recipe for our Original range to be one the whole family can agree on; a treat that kids love and parents can feel good about.”

The study found children leaving food on their plate at mealtimes is the most common cause of arguments between parents and their offspring, followed by untidy bedrooms and demands for unhealthy snacks when they are feeling hungry.

Youngsters complaining of being full despite barely touching the food in front of them, and siblings fighting completed the top five.

Children tucking into sweets and chocolate before meals, delaying bedtime and trying to get them to sit down to do their homework are other common disagreements while gadget use and teeth brushing also made the top 10.

Parents wanting children to drink more water, kids wanting something to drink too close to bedtime and what to watch on TV are common themes of rows in the nation’s homes.

It also emerged the average family argument will last just over eight minutes, meaning 49 minutes a day is spent at loggerheads.

But the average parent will win just 53 per cent of the rows with their children, leading to them compromising an average of five times a day.

In fact, mums and dads can expect to spend 16 minutes a day negotiating with their children, with almost half making deals to get them to eat and drink what they want them to.

Almost nine in 10 offer their children a reward in return for doing as they are asked with extra time on their gadgets (22%), a reward chart (26%) or pocket money (23%) among the most common.

And 45 per cent of parents threaten to take away screen time as a punishment.

The study also found parents rely on a series of white lies to keep children in line, with nearly half telling their offspring to be on their best behaviour because ‘Father Christmas is watching them’.

‘Carrots will make you see in the dark’, ‘too much screen time will give you square eyes’ and ‘telling lies will cause your nose to grow’ are also among the fibs told by parents.

Top 30 causes of family arguments:
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

Top 10 white lies parents tell their children:
1. Be on your best behaviour because Father Christmas is watching you
2. Carrots will make you see in the dark
3. Too much screen time will give you square eyes
4. If you keep making that face, the wind will change and it will freeze
5. If you tell a lie your nose will grow
6. If you swallow chewing gum it stays in your stomach for seven years
7. Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis
8. When the ice cream truck plays music, its run out of ice cream
9. If you leave the house with wet hair, you’ll get sick
10. Eating your crusts will make your hair curl

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