How often do kids and parents argue? Science has the answer

Posted in Family.

If love is proving a battlefield, at least between you and your child, then you may find it bolstering to know that you’re not alone.

The days are long …

New research tells us that – on average – parents have more than 2,184 arguments with their kiddos each year. That figure translates to at least six spats a day. So times that by 7 days and you get 42 fights a week. Or 182 a month.

And honestly? That seems kind of low. Six stoushes a day? Why does it feel like 16?

Apparently, the average argument will last for eight minutes. That means the average parent spends 5.6 hours a week or 291 hours a year arguing with their child. No wonder parents are at the end of their tether!

The study looked at 2,000 parents of children aged from two to 12 and found that over half of the arguments were about food or drink. It also found that parents were coming out only slightly ahead of kids when it came to ruling the roost.

“Parents will ‘win’ just over half of the rows, as six in ten mums and dads admitted they often end up compromising to keep the peace,” The Independent reports. 

Food, glorious food

Fights broke out about a number of issues, but kids not eating everything on their plate proved top of the squabble pops. This was followed closely by fights over untidy bedrooms, eating treats before meals, screen usage, teeth brushing, homework and discord over hungry kids who won’t eat ‘healthy’ food were apparently also much fought over by most families. 

“Almost nine in ten offer their children a reward in return for doing as they are asked with extra time on their gadgets (22 percent), a reward chart (26 percent) or pocket money (23 percent) among the most common. Forty-five per cent of parents threaten to take away screen time as a punishment.”

“Mums and dads can expect to spend 16 minutes a day negotiating with their children,” The Independent says, “with almost half making deals to get them to eat and drink what they want them to.”

We’re respectfully calling bollocks on 16 minutes because it’s more like 16 hundred minutes a day of kid-parent negotiation time. Let’s call a spade a spade.

Kid fight club facts

    • 2,184 – the average number of arguments parents have with kids each year
    • 8 minutes – the length of the average parent-child spat
    • 16 minutes – time parents spend negotiating with kids each day
    • 291 hours – time parents spend arguing with kids each year
    • A bit over half – the amount of arguments parents ‘win’ against kids
    • A bit under half – the number of parents who threaten to take away screens as a punishment
    • 9 out of 10 – the number of parents who use rewards to promote better behaviour
    • 2,000 – the number of parents surveyed to get these stats


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