Will Arnett: I Bribe My Kids with Ice Cream

10/12/2011 at 08:00 AM ET
Splash News Online

Two kids later and Will Arnett has picked up some top-notch negotiating skills.

“Two nights ago I had to bribe my 3-year-old, Archie, into finishing his dinner with a King Cone,” the Up All Night star, 41, says in Redbook‘s October issue.

“That thing is half his body weight, so he was going on chocolate and sugar until 10 p.m.”

That same unconventional approach to parenting once had the actor questioning his ability to raise his boys, including 14-month-old Abel James — but not any more!

“I think I’ve become mellower with two kids. You’re nervous with the first one,” he admits.

“You remember all the stupid stuff you’ve done, and you think, ‘Who put me in charge?’ You think they’re going to chase you down and take that baby back.”

As for the final call in any family decisions, Arnett leaves the task up to his wife Amy Poehler, but, he insists, the real trick is on her.

“She thinks she’s the boss, but I’m the boss,” he jokes. “Part of being the boss is allowing others to think they’re the boss, which is what I do.”

— Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Showing 29 comments

Seether on

He is so funny in everything he does! I love “Up All Night” too – that show is so cute.

Maggie on


Mari on

You can’t go wrong if there’s a lot of love and laughter in a family. 🙂

Diane on

He just admits to bribing his kid with ice cream to get him to finish dinner. Now he’s in trouble. He’s gonna have to keep that up to keep his kid in line. Its going to come back and bite him later. The kids not gonna forget that. Then he’ll probably do worse to his dad when he grows up. Like do worse crimes. It IS possible. He’ll have worse trouble with the kid later in life.

YOU are the FATHER. Take control NOW before its too late. Do notbribe your kid. Its not right. You’ll lose that control over the kid in a few years and you’ll live to regret your decision. Ice cream today. Whats next month???

Roro on

Um… Taking things a little too serious Diane. Holy cow he was joking!

Seriously on

Take a Prozac

Stephanie on

Diane, please lighten up for Pete’s sake. The man was telling a humorous story for People.com’s readers to enjoy. Oh, and please tell me what makes you the authority on how your children end up growing up to be criminals? Are you a licensed psychotherapist or something of that nature?

C on

Diane- really?? The kid is going to go from getting ice cream for finishing his dinner to a life of crime? NOT likely. Get a clue, he is not the first, last or only parent to bribe a child.

Jeff on

You are right Diane. Will Arnett just read your post and has apologized.

I think Will Arnett is hysterical. I loved him on 30 Rock, Arrested Development, and now on Up All Night.

Megan on

You know what Diane, life is a bribe. If you do a good job at work, you get a raise. If you win in sports you get a trophy etc…I certainly hope your post was written tongue in cheek, but if not you need to wake up and realize that ice cream will hardly lead to a life of hard core crime.

Violet on

I was bribed with the promise of a delightful dessert for finishing my dinner as a child.

I somehow managed to grow up, go to college, get gainful employment and maintain a healthy, respectful relationship with my family, while staying out of the slammer.

Get over yourself Diane.

DN on

He is the best parent ever! I would want his as a dad and Amy Poehler as a mom!

Lala on

wow just read your comment diane, chill the hell out. are you serious he is 3 years old. last i checked he didn’t have a gun, knife or a car to commit crimes with. i feel sorry for your kids if you raised them with this attitude and to you if your parents raised you that way!! 😦 you need drugs!!


Diane do you even know who Will Arnett is? He is clearly joking, pretty much everything he says is for a laugh. You need to chill out.

Noodles on

I can’t even imagine how fun it must be to have two parents who are as funny as those two. Ice cream pales in comparison! =)

Kristy on

i like how everyone is gaining up on diane! she def. need to chill out. i guess she doesn’t know he’s a funny guy! amy and him must read this and laughing their ass off!

Sarah S. on

Who hasn’t bribed their kid with a little “treat” once to get them to do something? Just as long as it’s one time and ice cream has calcium, anyway.

I love both Will Arnett and Amy Poehler in their NBC shows because they’re so hilarious! I can just imagine them as real life partners and parents…how wonderful for their children. 🙂

sar on

People please Bribe your children otherwise they will end up being an Uptight Crazy Person like Diane hahaha…

sidjaz on

Something tells me that Diane is sitting at her computer reading all your responses and having a good laugh at them. What she said was so bizarre that she had to have said it to get a reaction and it worked. Sometimes, what you see is not what you get and I have a feeling such is the case about Diane’s response.

Nicole on

I’ll give you an ice cream cone to stop talking, Diane.

I wonder if his boys will grow up thinking their parents are as hilarious as we all do or just be really embarrassed by them. Their roles in “Blades of Glory” were hilarious!

nancy on

Just read your post, Diane. Seriously now, committing crimes? Keeping him in line? Do you have kids? I hope not because your idea of raising them sounds like prison. Bribing little kids is part of raising them — it just has to happen, and it’s all in the FUN of having little kids.

J on

Kristy if you like how everyone is ganging up on Diane then you need to grow up.

And Lala how are you and a few others any better telling someone that they need drugs?

Rory on

So the kid ate his dinner and then got ice cream. Isn’t that how its supposed to work?

Shannon on

hahaha 🙂

CelebBabyBlogAddict on

Something most people don’t realise is that you should never force your kids to finish their food. If they are hungry they will eat, if they aren’t they shouldn’t have to. Kids need to learn to understand their body signals for hunger and satiety. Even if your child seem to only live on air and water sometimes – you will find it all balances out by the end of the day. What they don’t eat in one meal they will make up for in another. As long as you provide healthy, nutritious meals – your children will in most cases eat appropriately for their energy needs.

I really took this on board when studying nutrition during my Bachelor of Nursing!

Not taking this blog entry too seriously though – I understand bribery is important sometimes 😉 I just thought the above info might interest some people.

Tee on

Diane, I see what you’re saying and am inclined to agree that bribing children is a bad idea. However, I really think he was joking. The whole interview’s tone was very lighthearted, leading me to believe that he wasn’t being serious.

Furthermore, even if he wasn’t joking, it’s an awfully big leap to assume that a bribed child will grow up to be a criminal. So while I see your point, I would have to agree with some of the other comments here. You’re taking this a little too seriously.

For the record, I sure do wish that people would be polite in the comments here! It really is possible to disagree with someone without being rude or telling them that they need medication. Come on, ya’ll!

maritan on

Love Will Arnett… and who doesn’t bribe their kids once in a while?

Jay on

there is always one who loses it…

Christina on

I agree with CelebBabyBlogAddict. I was often told to finish my food even if I was already full. 15 years later I still have problems listening to my stomach due to that philosophy of “just a few more bites” and went through an obese and bullied childhood for my weight. Add to that putting food into a reward or punishment category and you have an unhappy kid in the making. Parents, this is why you don’t force your kid to eat more. Thankfully I know better and exercise and eat healthily for my baby. She won’t grow up with this unhealthy attitude toward eating.