What do the stars of The X Factor, the neighbour’s cat, EastEnders and unexpected callers have in common?
No, they’re not guests at the strangest party you’ve ever been to, they’re among the top things which make the South-East’s dads grumpy, according to a new survey.
Lights left on in empty rooms, heating on too high, drum and bass music and being treated like a taxi service also featured on the chart of cantankerousness.
More than a quarter of dads in the South-East admit they are always cranky while another 75 per cent reckon they are becoming more so as they get older.
And it is not the privilege of old men – as dads are at their most grumpy at the age of 40.
Pollyanna Haigh, from Merlin Annual Pass, who commissioned the research, said “From our experience, Dad’s will openly admit they have a reputation for being the grumpy ones of the family, and we wanted to see if this really was the case; and the survey suggests it is!
“As we all know, everyone has grumbles from time to time – perhaps dads are just not as good at hiding their moans as others.
“However, children grow up so fast, so it’s important for families to maximise the fun times together before they grow up and become parents themselves.”
The poll of fathers in the South-East found people leaving the lights on is most likely to make them grumble, followed by traffic jams, bad drivers, general bad manners and the kids arguing.
Being treated like an ATM, their football team losing, the kids not helping with chores, having the heating on too high and the kids not saying please or thank you also wind dads up.
The biggest general reasons for grumpiness are work, while money and household chores and jobs can also cause dads to have a moan.
But these grumbles aren’t a rare occurrence with the average dad admitting to around nine a week – more than once a day.
Luckily for families though, 63 per cent reckon they are at the most grumpy during the working week, coming out of their mood in time for the weekend.
More than half of dads also believe a good night’s sleep is often all it takes to bring an end to their grumpiness with another 30 per cent saying food helps.
A family day out, a nice gesture from a partner or children and a cold beer or lager can also improve their mood.
It also emerged three-quarters of dads believe they need to make more effort to be less grumpy, with 70 per cent saying time with their family and fun days out would result in a less grumpy dad.
And if you want to catch dad at his most awesome, on holiday is the best time, followed by the evenings and weekends, and when playing with the children.
Pollyanna added: “We commissioned this research after hearing from our attraction guests that their families behave so differently when on a family day out – they are carefree and relaxed, no sight of grumpiness!
“Everyone has times where life takes over and can cause grumpiness and the survey is proof of that. To help those mums and dads out there have a year of fun with their family, our January sale has started where you can purchase the Merlin Annual Pass from just £99 each gives its holders entrance to 32 attractions across the country.
So here’s the cranky chart – which long-suffering families can either use as warning list or simply to tick off the things which they know tick off dad.
People leaving the lights on
General bad manners
The kids arguing
Always being asked for money/treated like an ATM
Your favourite football team losing
The kids not helping with the chores
Having the heating on too high
The kids not saying please or thank-you
Doors being slammed
The kids not eating their meal but then complaining they are hungry later on
The front or back door being left open
Not spending time with the family because of work
All the planning and cost that any family activity involves
Cold callers calling in the evening
People stomping around the house
Not being able to snooze on the sofa
Always being the one to do the bins and recycling
Reality TV shows
Putting up Christmas decorations too early
Being told to do the hoovering/other household chores
The kids spending too much time on the internet
Lego/other toys being left lying around for you to stand on
Being seen as a taxi driver by your children
Kids playing music too loud
Having to do all the gardening
Shoes being left by the front/back door
The cost of petrol
Drum and Bass music
The television being too loud
Having to do washing up
Strictly Come Dancing
People popping round to visit unexpectedly
The kids watching too much TV
The neighbour’s cat
The kids recording every episode for The Simpsons/Friends etc and taking up all the space on the Sky+ box
The kids staying in bed too long
What your son/daughter is wearing (‘that’s a belt, not a skirt!’)
Having the TV on when eating
Always being the one to take the dog for a walk
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