Parents drive kids mad on road trips

Kids are often blamed for being a disruptive influence on car journeys, but according to a new Ford survey parents are creating just as much tension while on the move.

Having to endure parents singing is the number one pet hate for children on family car journeys, a new Ford survey shows. Kids also complain that badly-behaved mums and dads shout at other drivers, swear, and pick their noses.

The survey of 2,000 children across Europe reveals that 66 per cent say their parents are annoying on car trips; mums and dads serve up snacks, TV shows and movies to get them to behave; and dads get the thumbs up for being the better drivers – especially from boys. Regardless of snacks, smartphones, and tablets, the most likely response from children to a boring car journey is not surprisingly:  ‘Are we there yet?’

The Ford survey was conducted in order to better understand what children like and don’t like about travelling in cars and reveals surprising differences from country to country:

  • Singing parents are least popular in the U.K. where 39 per cent of children ranked this their biggest pet hate. Children in France, the only country that didn’t rank singing as the worst habit, were twice as likely to complain about their parents shouting at other drivers
  • Across Europe, 61 per cent of children revealed parents got angry or used ‘naughty words’, with French parents the worst offenders (74 per cent). Italy is the only country where less than half of parents lose their temper (39 per cent)
  • Asking: ‘Are we there yet?’ when bored is the most likely response overall (63 per cent). Children in the UK and Italy are more likely to ask mum and dad to put on some music

When it comes to getting children to behave, 26 per cent said mum and dad hand over their smartphones for them to play with, and 20 per cent get to watch a film or TV show. UK parents are most likely to offer a snack (29 per cent). And the best‑behaved children apparently are in Germany, where 38 per cent claim their parents don’t need to make them behave in the car.

Though both boys and girls across all countries identified dad as the best driver (61 per cent), it was Italian dads that got the biggest thumbs up (67 per cent), and UK mums who came closest to being the favourite (45 per cent). The children most likely to highlight nose-picking as the worst parental habit are in the UK, then Italy and Germany.

Ford survey