Rule #27: Bribe Your Children With Sugar

in Rules of Parenting

Worried about rotting those baby teeth? Come on—they’re just going to fall out anyway.

Worried about rotting those baby teeth? Come on—they’re just going to fall out anyway.

Most media outlets would have you believe that the vast majority of American children are either complete fatties or well on their way to being one.

They will tell you, of course, that the culprit is sugar. And they will insist that assorted confections foisted on kids by their submissive parents are to blame.

This is clearly nonsense.

This great country was founded on sugar (look it up)—and generations of parents have learned that sugar, if used effectively, can convince a child to do just about anything.

If you’re struggling to get your child’s attention, or if you need to sway him in any way, forget a firm hand—sugar as a source of bribery is like giving candy to a baby. (Which, by the way, we recommend as a way to develop salivary ducts before the age of 6 months.)

So You’re a Pusher, Big Deal

Back in the dark days of the 1970s and 1980s, progressive parents would carry sugar cubes in their pockets and selectively use them to bribe their children—much in the same way zookeepers would work with a trained seal or “Humpy” the happy brown sloth bear.

We’re happy to report that you don’t need to resort to such antiquated methods any longer. Like a pusher who knows a junkie’s weak spot, you have to flaunt candy at the right time—and when your child needs a sugar fix the most—to get what you want.

Of course, we recommend using candy to bribe your kids in typical situations like getting them to do their homework, behaving on car trips, and going to bed on time. But it’s REALLY effective to push a little sweet stuff in more challenging situations:

When you’re hitting on the blonde who’s squeezing cucumbers in the produce aisle…

What extramarital affair?

What extramarital affair?

Sure, you’re married, and sure, you’re walking through a supermarket pushing a cart brimming with bulk toilet paper and tampons for your wife.

Oh, and then there’s the issue of your toddler in the cart’s seat. She’ll yap when you move in for a little chat with and positive affirmation from the blonde—and she’ll also yap to your wife about this chance encounter when you get home.

Bribe: Mini Marshmallows

Method: Pop one in her mouth every few seconds to muffle her babbling when you’re telling the blonde that you used to bench press 350 and played for the New York Giants just before volunteering in Zimbabwe for the Peace Corps.

Follow up: Tell your child that she can eat the rest of the bag on the car ride home if she doesn’t mention that daddy was looking at the Cucumber Lady in a funny way and talking to Cucumber Lady in a low, whispery voice.

When your 10 year old nabs you watching Internet porn…

Hey, you thought the kids were in bed, but the next thing you know your daughter is asking you why the lady driving the tractor on your computer screen isn’t wearing any clothes.

Bribe: Nerds Rope

Method: Gleefully drape several Nerds Ropes around her neck—making it seem somewhat ceremonial—and send her off to bed by saying something like, “Now, remember, daddy was watching a PBS documentary on the plight of the American farmer, right? That’s what we’ll tell mommy, right? ” Just keep repeating it and smiling. She’ll nod, nibble and get it.

Follow up: Deny everything the next day.

When you want your child to do scary shit you won’t do…

You are weak and ineffective when it comes to scary shit like climbing ladders to clean the leaves out of the 30-foot-high gutters. You’re also too cheap to pay someone to do it. As you look around, you’ll probably notice that your kids, much like circus people, are much better suited to climbing up and falling from great heights.

Bribe: Skittles

Method: Combination of reason and a taste of the rainbow. You balance the ladder against the house, call over your 8-year-old son, point to the leafy job waiting at the top, and say, “You know, Matthew, you weigh a lot less than I do, so if you fall off the roof, the force of gravity won’t be as great, and you probably won’t die. Daddy needs to stick around to pay the rent. Besides, I think a squirrel might have left a big bag of Skittles in the gutter.”

Follow up: “Hey, come on, why the long face, son? Your shattered femur will heal by the end of the summer. And if you don’t complain, I’ll let you get those Tropical Skittles that the rich kids have.”

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

SuperDad_08 January 22, 2009 at 11:20 am


That’s a riot!!

Thank you, as always, for putting life into perspective.

Let’s all hope that this entry is understood more than the leash entry…. ;P


jason January 22, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Skip the sugar and cut straight to malt liquor. Then you can really get them doing whatever you want. Especially if what you want is them to vomit and pass out.


Father Knows Worst January 22, 2009 at 3:07 pm

@SuperDad_08: The people who got upset about our idea that leashing children is the way to go clearly need to get a life…or a basset hound.

@jason: Your genius is unparalleled.


Sarcastica January 23, 2009 at 11:06 am

HAHAHA like I said you are friggin’ hilarious and very witty! I LOVE this, I’m so gonna do it! Just kidding, I’d eat all the candy before I could bribe them with it :P


Mothershaffer January 24, 2009 at 6:20 am

And here I thought I was the only candy, crack dealing mommy!


Nicole January 24, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Not going to lie… a piece of chocolate or a sucker out of our costco sized sucker stash never fails me.


Marilyn_Res February 8, 2009 at 6:43 am

Now that you mention it, my kids ARE rather like circus people.


Father Knows Worst February 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm

@Sarcastic: Self-control is difficult. But the reward is greater through bribery.

@Mothershaffer: Whenever candy or crack is involved, people tend to come out of the woodwork. Just you wait and see.

@Nicole: That’s some bulk-sized bribery. (Sorry, could not help myself…)

@Marilyn_Res: Wait, isn’t that where you got yours from? Did I do something wrong??


yo May 29, 2009 at 6:29 am

i think that is a stupid idea


Miss C. May 31, 2009 at 10:27 am

I think you’re a stupid idea.


Cathy DeCenzo June 1, 2009 at 12:23 pm

I think YO was given too many vegetables as a child and his parents should have been reported to the SugarPlum Fairy Social Worker…


Cora July 9, 2010 at 2:01 am

“If you’re struggling to get your child’s attention, or if you need to sway him in any way, forget a firm hand—sugar as a source of bribery is like giving candy to a baby”

I am a Dental Nurse, and I find your article dissapointing. I dont have childeren (at the moment!) so I can only imagin how difficult it can be if they are uncooperative. But stuffing sugar into their mouths is only going to guarentee one thing- They will only comply if they get something out of it

Not only that, but children as young as three are being fitted for dentures, (Dentures!) and six-month-old babies’ teeth are rotting away because of diets largely comprised of soft drinks and sugary junk foods. In most cases, parents are to blame for their children’s poor diets, which lead to rotten teeth and expensive dental work, leading into the £1000′s.

Increased sugar consumption has also led to a massive increase in the waiting list for children in need of oral surgery — more than 650 kids are currently waiting for general anesthesia treatment at one hospital.


Silly Dad July 9, 2010 at 8:09 am

@Cora – “Increased sugar consumption has also led to a massive increase in the waiting list for children in need of oral surgery”

I am a father of 5 and find your comment on this article very disappointing. I have a sense of humor (at the moment) so I can only imagine what it’s like to live life without one. Going through life taking everything so seriously guarantees only one thing – that if you do have children, their lives will be consumed by an overwhelming depression brought on by a complete lack of mirth.

Not only that, but children as young as three have been know to run fleeing into the arms of the first person who offers them a lollipop – even if that person drives a windowless van – when their parents have a complete inability to enjoy life and spend all their time trolling humor websites with know-it-all “advice”.

Decreased humor and sugar consumption has also led to a massive increase in the waiting list for uptight dental nurses in need of hot sugar enemas. At least one that I know of is in great need of some serious loosening up.


Kelly November 4, 2010 at 12:32 pm

@ Cora: I’m glad you don’t have childeren. You don’t seem to have much of an educatation, a firm grasp of the English language or any discernible spelling skills. So, I can only imagin what’s to blame for your lacking sense of humor. And, you can blame socialized medicine for the over 650 children waiting. Not, sugar. We also use Red Bull here in the states so that our kids rock the ADHD with pride!!!!


Cat November 4, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Oh, please tell me these kill-joys are a setup. Do people really think you are serious? Wait till they see the chocolate covered bacon I’m inventing for pacifiers.


Tom Addo May 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Yup, giving kids cany is a good idea, oh, we also are the fattest nation in the world, good job America.


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