Can you give me some suggestions about how to take a
tough love approach with a family member?
Tough love is one of the best techniques a family
member can use to help their loved one seek help.
Whether the loved one is male, female, adult or
adolescent and no matter what the identified problem
there are a few basic rules that can be applied in almost
1. Before you meet with our loved one, sit down and
write out the specific behaviors that need to
change. I f you come up with numerous issues,
choose the most important 5 or 6 an list them.
2. Use "I"m essages instead of "you" messages.
Starting a sentence with "you" will only put the
other person on the defense and may get a
negative tone for the entire meeting.
3. Express warmth and genuine concern for your
loved one. No matter how much you have been
hurt remember your main goal is to get help and
get them into treatment, not to get even or put
them on the defense.
4. Decide ahead of time to include other family
members and/or friends. A minister, family
members, mutual friend or other relevant
individuals can help the loved one to take the
meeting more seriously.
5. Remember that tough love means to be firm and
assertive not aggressive and vindictive. Being selfrighteous
will only alienate the person you really
want to help.
6. Don't respond to personal accusations. I f your
loved one begins to point out your faults it will
only get worse if you deny your shortcomings.