Those who I am “friends” with on social media were privy to a rant I posted earlier this week. While at a local grocery store, I overheard a woman with no children giving parenting advice to someone who has three children. And by the way, these three children, whom I know personally, are very well behaved and rarely need to be disciplined.

Experience cannot be defeated. Period. I have always believed that educational achievements, as well-earned as they are, will never trump anyone who can say “Been there. Done that.” The opinion of not offering parental advice if not being a mom or dad is by no means an attempt to be disrespectful. Telling others how to discipline, raise or train up a child without personal experience is as silly as asking someone who is always broke for financial advice. Anyone who opposes my opinion may contend there are many, without children, who attend school for many years who go on to become therapists, counselors, etc. That may be true, but in my book, “hands-on” will always be more appealing than information from a book. Life lessons will forever and always be more important than book lessons. During the process of finding a babysitter who can be trusted, who will be chosen a majority of the time? Will it be someone who possesses experience with children or the candidate who possesses a wonderful memory and can recall every line from a book on how to deal with young’uns?

Tip number one. All children are not the same. Kids will respond differently to situations, even if they are siblings. The conversation I am referring to dealt with the progress report one of the kids brought home. The middle child had earned “A’s” and “B’s”, with the exception of one class, which proved to be a challenge. The other woman, who is not a mutual friend said something to the effect of “You need to just go off on that teacher and hand out some spankings and groundings for that.” As badly as I wanted to get involved, I stayed quiet. Agree or disagree with me on this, but if that is one of my children in the same situation, I am going to convey how proud I am for the “A’s” and “B’s” earned and then try to determine the reason for the one lower grade. Tip number two. As a parent, encouragement will always yield more positive results than condemnation. Think about it. This is simple. Attitude and tone can make all the difference in the world. If any of us make a mistake on the job, how would we want to be approached by a supervisor? Would any of us want to be spoken to in a nasty manner or would we appreciate a boss who is able to point out mistakes and offer advice on how to improve work performance?

None of us are perfect parents. Mistakes, admission of mistakes and learning from mistakes is how we grow, which in turn, helps us in better raising our children. And that is what truly matters most.


Rick Phelps is the news director at KOXE-KBWD radio and a former staff writer for the Brownwood Bulletin. Comments may be e-mailed to