First and Then Method is my number 1 favourite tool in the parenting toolbox. When I sat as a parent myself attending SFSC Parenting Classes, which was recommended to me by my older brother who was a facilitator. He spoke positively about his own experiences taking parents on a journey to a Violence-Free Healthy Lifestyle.

At that time I certainly wanted my life to change. I felt so stuck and with my children no longer being babies and growing up. My resources were low, I was repeating myself over and over again. It became draining because I wasn’t just a mother I also had a job working with families. Most of us want the best for our children deep down but I’ve questioned why has my life turned out this way. I needed help to get my parenting skills to the next level and I wasn’t alone.

Session 4 for me was the best it was the revelation that went boom! It was like the answers to my prayers, the facilitator said words (D) to my ears that made my soul cry out hallelujah lol, yes the room erupted with laughter as I sat and explained what I pictured in my head me using this method and it working boom! I felt that I’ve found something that might actually work to help me parent a rude, challenging and what I thought ungrateful child back then (I was completely wrong).

I was faced with adversity and more since my child left primary school and transitioned to high school, whoever said when raising children it gets better with age was wrong. I hit that bump in the road where it does get really challenging to manage aggressive behaviour. Even when I shared with my child that I was doing a parenting course I was told “you need to do a parenting course” with such an attitude. I kept my mouth shut, I didn’t respond because I would have acted opposite to the goal I had in mind for my family.

I may have started my journey late but it was at the right time for me when my eldest was 12 years old. I recognised I can’t do this on my own, so using the opportunity to chat with friends, God Parents, Siblings or Grandparents is a good start to accessing parenting support however, it’s not too late to turn it around and create your village of support.

4 Key Steps to First & Then

Step 1 – Use clear instructions

Allow 5-15 minutes for your child to respond.

Step 2 – Give a “first…then message:

A – “First you must do …………………….. then you can do ……………………..”

B – “When you …………………….. then I will ………………………….“

C – “First you must do ……………….. before anything else”.

D – “Nothing will be done for you or with you until you …………………”

Step 3 – Remain calm and follow through.

Step 4 – Praise respectful behaviour immediately.


I wasted no time travelling from A-D with those steps, D was the one that done it for me and worked every time. It must be the language but for my child, it worked. I used that method as often as I needed to and it really helped to change behaviour because they determine what happens to them by what they choose to do. This method can be used on its own or in combination with other parenting tools.

Every child/young person is different and I really want us to recognise that our approach to each should vary to recognise who they are as a person and their needs.

I asked my daughter this morning if she remembers me saying the first and then method, she replied yes, I giggled because I know that method must be buried deep in her subconscious mind but it worked for us, it worked for me. I told her I was writing this blog to share what I’ve learnt and I got the thumbs up when I said I wrote a blog about her brother last week.

Did First and Then work because I visualised it first, saw that it worked and executed it with the same drive and passion that I saw it working in or was it because it was something new, something that I’d never tried before and I was willing to take a chance. Yes, I think these were contributing factors, I found something that worked to help me bring my family back on track, to help correct bad behaviour to bring us all to a healthier lifestyle and for that I’m truly grateful.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Click Here to View The Video That Accompanies This Blog Post Where Ruth Shares Her Experience & Favourite Techniques With You- To Help Improve Relations At Home By Discussion and Examples Of Methods and Strategies Developed Around Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities Core Concepts and Goals.

Ruth Carter The Liberty Coach.

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