Every mum has attempted a traditional family night in at least once over the course of her life, but these occasions rarely go to plan.

The nights spent in with the family that haven't been scheduled with military precision invariably go a lot smoother than those nights where teenagers are barred from leaving the house and kids are refused entry to the playroom.

So why do we insist on putting ourselves through the rigmarole of planning these special nights in?

Because we heard other families manage, so surely we can too?

No, we can't.

Expectation: Our teenagers will realise that an evening spent with the family is far preferable to sitting on a cold wall by the local shop.

Reality: No, they won't.

Expectation: Our kids will realise that mum and dad can be pretty cool when they're given the chance to kick back and chill out.

Reality: They will not realise this despite dad's attempt to shoot the breeze about The Hunger Games.

Expectation: Our kids will appreciate the opportunity to stay up a little later than usual all in the name of good, wholesome family fun.

Reality: They would rather be lying in a darkened room staring at the ceiling than watch you mime Edward Scissorhands in a tedious game of charades.

Expectation: Your daughter will be open to the idea of wearing matching pyjamas with her mum and sisters.

Reality: She'd rather wear her brother's stinking football jersey than match her ensemble to yours.

Expectation: Your son will appreciate his dad's jokes when he's not distracted by passing cars, passing girls or passing tumbleweeds.

Reality: They weren't funny in the car, they're not funny now.

Expectation: Your family will not argue because it is against the rules of Family Night In.

Reality: Your family will argue so much your 7-year-old will threaten to run away.

Expectation: You and your husband will form a united front at all times should Family Night In begin to take a nose dive.

Reality: Your husband will threaten to run away if you don't loosen up on the Pictionary rules.

Expectation: You will become a Domestic Goddess and provide your family with treats and snacks fit for a king.

Reality: You will order takeaway because why should you be the only one working on Family Night In?

Expectation: Your toddler will enjoy the night even if nobody else does.

Reality: You will learn that a toddler's bored face is more distressing than a teen's.

Expectation: You and your husband will beam at each other as you watch your brood playfully argue the toss over a game of Scrabble.

Reality: You and your husband will glare at each other as your brood come to actual blows and wonder whose bright idea this was.