Family disagreements – leaving the lights on tops list

A study of 2,000 UK adults found the average household has 21 disagreements each week – many of which are over something trivial.

Many rows occur in the bathroom, as family members get frustrated at others not changing the toilet roll tube when it’s empty (19 per cent) or even failing to flush the loo (16 per cent).

Other common rows include people leaving lights on in unoccupied rooms, and shoes being left in the middle of doorways.

When the heating should come on, someone leaving the dishes ‘to soak’ rather than washing them up and leaving wet towels on the floor also feature in the top 50 list.

The research found each dispute only lasts around four and a half minutes, adding up to just under a quarter of an hour each day engaged in verbal sparring.

Londoners spend the most time arguing – having an average of six rows a day, with each one lasting nearly six minutes. But those in the East Midlands and Scotland row just twice a day for three minutes at a time.

Women admitted they are most likely to be the instigator of the arguments (20 per cent compared to 16 per cent of men) but they are also more likely to see themselves as the peacekeepers in their home (38 per cent compared to 37 per cent of men).

And when it comes to sulking – women also admitted that this is most likely to be them after a row with 27 per cent getting into a strop.

Just 26 per cent named the children as being most likely to go off in a huff.

Just under one in four adults believe their partner is most likely to hog the bathroom, leaving a queue outside.

And partners also get the blame for putting food and drink containers back in the fridge – after having finished their contents, and also not changing the empty toilet roll tube.

Despite this, 56 per cent of those polled admitted to running from the bathroom and leaving the empty toilet roll tube on the holder for the next person to contend with, with men more likely to be to blame than women (60 per cent v 53 per cent of women).

Of those who admitted to doing this, while 43 per cent ‘forget’, 23 per cent simply can’t be bothered while 15 per cent don’t even know where the toilet rolls are kept.

It also emerged 41 per cent of adults believe lockdown, and enforced time indoors, added to the number of rows their family had.

And as a result, four in 10 find themselves arguing about things they otherwise would have let slide, according to the OnePoll figures.

However, three quarters believe silly, trivial arguments are ‘part of family life’, and can lead to funny stories, after long enough.

A spokesperson for Cushelle, which commissioned the research to highlight its longer-lasting double roll, said: “No family is perfect, and each one will have its own memorable disagreements.

“You’d have to have the patience of a saint to live with someone day in, day out, and never lose your temper with them.

“When you add kids into the mix, who often take several reminders to complete household chores, it’s a real recipe for bickering.”

Following the findings, Cushelle has created a quiz to allow you to find out which role you play in family arguments. Are you the instigator or the mediator? Take the quiz at to find out.


1.            Someone leaving all the lights on when they aren’t in the room

2.            Someone leaving shoes in the middle of the floor/ in the doorway

3.            Messy bedrooms

4.            Someone not doing their fair share of the chores

5.            Not changing the empty toilet roll when the last of it is used

6.            When the heating should come on

7.            Squeezing rubbish into an already full bin rather than emptying it first

8.            Leaving dirty washing on the floor

9.            Leaving toilet roll cores on the floor, windowsill etc, i.e. anywhere but the bin

10.          Someone leaving plates and glasses in their bedroom

11.          Leaving the dishes to soak rather than just washing them up

12.          Using up the last of something like the milk/ toilet roll and not saying anything

13.          Leaving dirty plates next to the dishwasher rather than in it

14.          Someone not flushing the toilet

15.          Not rinsing out the bath or shower

16.          Not taking items which have been left on the stairs up when you walk past

17.          Someone being too noisy in the morning when everyone else is still asleep

18.          Someone slamming doors

19.          Leaving wet towels on the floor

20.          Who started the argument

21.          Someone cooking dinner, using every utensil in the kitchen and not washing up as they go

22.          Leaving recycling next to the bin rather than in it

23.          Who ate the last biscuit/ chocolate and put the empty box/ wrapper back in the cupboard

24.          Emptying the bins but not putting in a new bin bag

25.          Someone hogging the bathroom

26.          Music being played too loud

27.          Running water downstairs or flushing the toilet while someone is in the shower

28.          Gadgets being used at the dinner table

29.          Not making their bed

30.          Whether the toilet seat should be up or down

31.          Someone taking too long in the shower and using all of the hot water

32.          Squeezing the toothpaste from the top rather than the bottom

33.          Fighting over the TV remote

34.          Someone pinching someone else’s phone charger

35.          Who left the toilet seat up

36.          Siblings using things belonging to the others without asking

37.          Someone being noisy while you are trying to WFH

38.          What film you should watch as a family

39.          Changing the settings, radio station, seat position etc in the car

40.          What time children should come off games consoles

41.          Whose turn it is to load/ unload the dishwasher

42.          Who is cooking dinner

43.          Whose turn it is to make the tea/ coffee

44.          What music to play on long car journeys

45.          What takeaway to order

46.          What time children should go to bed

47.          Letting unopened post pile up on the kitchen table

48.          Someone putting a dark item in a light wash and ruining the clothes

49.          Board games which end in a row

50.          Whose turn it is to put the bins out

Chris Price