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 50 things which makes dads in the West Midlands 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.

Almost a quarter of British dads admit they are ALWAYS cranky while another 72 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 39.

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 West Midlands found people leaving the lights on is most likely to make them grumble, followed by bad traffic, bad drivers, general bad manners and their favourite football team losing.

Cold callers in the evening, work interrupting family time, the front or back door being left open, having the heating on too high and the kids not helping with the chores completed the top ten.

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 8 a week – more than once a day.

Luckily for families though, 59 per cent reckon they are at the most grumpy during the working week, coming out of their mood in time for the weekend.

Nearly half of dads also believe a good night’s sleep is often all it takes to bring an end to their grumpiness with another 32 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 70 per cent of dads believe they need to make more effort to be less grumpy, with 68 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 weekends and evenings, 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, which gives its holders entrance to 32 attractions across the country.

“Our pass makes organising days out so simple and it provides real value for money. It takes the worry out of the cost and planning associated with a family day trip and it means you can say goodbye to grumpy and hello to just being seen as an awesome parent!”

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.

  1. People leaving the lights on
  2. Bad traffic
  3. Bad drivers
  4. General bad manners
  5. Your favourite football team losing
  6. Cold callers calling in the evening
  7. Not spending time with the family because of work
  8. The front or back door being left open
  9. Having the heating on too high
  10. The kids not helping with the chores
  11. All the planning and cost that any family activity involves
  12. X Factor
  13. Doors being slammed
  14. The kids arguing
  15. The kids not eating their meal but then complaining they are hungry later on
  16. Always being asked for money/treated like an ATM
  17. Being seen as a taxi driver by your children
  18. Not being able to snooze on the sofa
  19. Reality TV shows
  20. People stomping around the house
  21. Putting up Christmas decorations too early
  22. The kids spending too much time on the internet
  23. Kids playing music too loud
  24. Always getting socks at Christmas, birthdays and Father's Day
  25. People popping round to visit unexpectedly
  26. The kids staying in bed too long
  27. The kids not saying please or thank-you
  28. EastEnders
  29. Shoes being left by the front/back door
  30. The cost of petrol
  31. Being told to do the hoovering/other household chores
  32. Strictly Come Dancing
  33. The television being too loud
  34. Drum and Bass music
  35. The kids watching too much TV
  36. Having to wash the car
  37. Having to do washing up
  38. The neighbour's cat
  39. Having to do all the gardening
  40. None / Nothing
  41. Their partner's cooking
  42. Always being the one to do the bins and recycling
  43. The kids recording every episode for The Simpsons/Friends etc and taking up all the space on the Sky+ box
  44. Lego/other toys being left lying around for you to stand on
  45. Kim Kardashian
  46. Always being the one to take the dog for a walk
  47. The bathrooms always being occupied when you want to use them
  48. Pop music
  49. Dance music
  50. Geordie Shore

* Poll based on 1,000 UK dads.