Parents and kids fight, nobody would argue with that. But how many arguments families routinely have, and what they’re about, has never been entirely clear. Until now. After surveying thousands of families, researchers found that on average, parents have 2,184 arguments with their kids every year. Each day, in fact, they spend about 49 minutes fighting. But what are they yelling about? Take a guess. You got it: over half the fights are about food and drink.
According to the study ⏤ which included interviews with 2,000 parents of children between the ages of 2 and 12 ⏤ some of the most common causes of familial fighting are kids not finishing everything on their plate during meals, messy bedrooms, and complaining about being hungry but not being willing to eat ‘healthy’ dishes. A lot of parent-kid fighting, the study found, revolves around what kids want to do, what they want to eat, and what they want to drink. Families will typically have six of these sorts of arguments a day for a total of 42 arguments a week, and 182 a month.
The majority of parents deal with these fights with negotiation. “Many parents believe that reaching a compromise with their children is the best way to keep everyone happy,” wrote a spokesperson for Capri-Sun, which backed the study. As so many arguments happen over meals, “mums and dads have the tricky task of settling a fight while still keeping the upper hand.” One way of keeping that upper hand, nearly half the parents in the study admitted, was to limit their kids’ screen time.