Those parental pledges you made before your children were born, forget about them. Except for the one that says, “I will not harm my children,” the rest are just pipe dreams.


You know the ones I am talking about:

  • I will not bargain with my child.
  • I will not use food as a reward.
  • I will not use the television as a babysitter.
  • My child will not master the features of the TiVo before I do.
  • Cookies are not dinner.

The reality is that children are skillful negotiators. They are born with this innate gift that tells them the correct bargaining technique for achieving their final objective. For example, if they want a snack and they know you want to run an errand. Avoid the middle step of trying to coerce them into the car with logic, pleading and guilt. It’s pointless. Just pull out the Cheetos, let them see the bag and then toss it into their car seat. The rest is easy.




Secondly, if the children want some candy and you don’t want to give it to them, they are going to find a way to get it. Case in point, they have a diaper that makes a hockey team’s locker room smell like Lemon Pledge. It needs changing. If you wait much longer the paramedics may have to administer oxygen to you. They know it needs changing, you know it needs changing…. Give the child the gummi bears for God’s sake.


The television! It’s four-thirty and your wife is coming home in an hour. You have not had a moment’s peace all day, but you know you must get dinner on the table by six. She manages to do it every night, it is the least you can do. The child knows you need to make dinner and he also knows Toy Story 3 is in the queue. Give it up, they are going to be watching Buzz and Woody in a few minutes no matter how many other techniques you try.




Its dinnertime and your wife is out at book club. The Niners kickoff on Monday Night Football in twenty minutes and none of the boys are touching the chicken and rice casserole with green beans. Stupid green beans! Everyone can see the bag of Oreos on the counter. At least they won’t go to bed hungry. You’re well into the third quarter when your wife returns and asks why the boys have black teeth.


The sooner you learn to capitulate on the vows the better you’ll all feel. Plus, it will be highly entertaining to listen to new parents explain their many parental pledges regarding children.