Helping Clients Get Social Support From Family

Often, family members and friends will be happy to support us – if we ask.

Do you need a cheerleader? A buddy for road hockey? Someone to help keep you on track with a subtle, well-placed reminder? (Or a not-so-subtle kick in the butt?) Ask for what you need.

• “Billy, Daddy needs your help to remember to put green vegetables on his plate. Can you keep an eye on me and make sure I take a helping of green veggies at dinner?”

• “Honey, I need a favor. You’re a really good cook – could you show me how to make a healthy version of [my favorite food X]?”


Once you understand other people’s position and have found common ground, start negotiating. This is a good time to have a family or household meeting, so that everyone can air their questions and concerns.

For example:

• I understand that [food X] is important to you. For me, it’s not such a great thing to have around – I don’t feel like I can control myself when I know it’s there. Could you eat [food X] elsewhere – for instance, by making a special trip to go and get it, instead of keeping it in the house?

• I know it’s a lot easier to buy prepackaged things for the kids. But honestly, I’ve read the labels – and I don’t think either of us want our kids to be eating that. Could you help me come up with a better solution that’s quick and easy – but healthier for them?

• OK, how about we all agree that we each get one special treat, once a week? Suzy, what would yours be? That’s an interesting choice – why do you like that? And what about you, Bob? How about Friday night being Treat Night? Why don’t we combine that with a movie as a family?

How do you and your clients get buy-in and support from family and friends?