What is family support therapy?

It is using the support of the entire family to help enact change in eating and activity patterns for overweight and obese children. In family support therapy, the child is not alone, but part of a team working towards common goals: healthier diet and activity habits. A “family unit” is the child+1 (or more) family members. Everyone works together and encourages one another, competing against personal goals, not each other. Everyone wants to see everyone else try hard and succeed. 

If you have ever tried to lose weight, then you know it is difficult and requires will, determination, and stamina. Family support will help develop these successful characteristics through love, empathy and fostering a feeling of togetherness. This deep family connection will help to offset the inevitable feelings of loneliness and isolation that often comes with being overweight or obese.    

If you ask your child to make difficult lifestyle changes without the participation and support of the entire family, you are setting your child up for failure. Take this real-life example: A parent complained that her overweight child would drink soda at dinner. When asked why soda was in the home the reply was, “I can’t punish his sister just because he’s heavy.” Yes you can! A healthy diet is for everyone. Withholding soda is an act of kindness, not a punishment and, more importantly, having a temptation around when trying to eat healthier is a recipe for disaster.