Helping Codependent Youth & Teens

Helping Codependent Youth & Teens | Hopelinks

What Parents Can Start Doing Today

Talking to teachers and helping your youth, teen or adolescent with homework in difficult areas can start opening doors today. Talking about future careers and showing them how to make plans and decisions can also be very helpful. When allowing them to make decisions, remember to compliment achievements and expect mistakes.

Mistakes are where you get to build the trust you need to help them grow, because if you address them as an opportunity, not a failure, and teach them how to learn and move on from a mistake they will begin to understand you are there to help. Remember: Mistakes are your opportunity to help a codependent youth or teen and make a difference!

Make sure they know you will pick them up day or night if they get in trouble. You will need to learn to be their advocate without enabling codependent behavior. (Enabling means you deny or overlook there problems or continue to let them break curfews, be truant and so on.)

Incentives are great. If your child makes good grades or comes home all week on time buy them tickets so they can take a friend to a movie or something. Take them fishing or whatever they enjoy to show them positive achievements are celebrated. This gives them a “pay off” and gets you involved with them, which puts you in a place to be there and trusted when they need help.

Codependent behavior and codependency symptoms, including depression, are often left alone too long in youth. The best plan for recovery is to be there for assistance when they need it.

Depression often to sets in with youth in codependent relationships with peers. They feel left out and may start having sex when their emotions are not developed enough to deal with it. Then it turns into even more sensitive issues like abortions, which often times cause guilt and severe remorse. Your teenager is apt to be frustrating to you as it will seem family doesn’t matter any more. Remember, it is age appropriate to become independent. It must happen in stages when the teen shows they are competent. Your role should be to help keep them from being codependent.

Building self esteem and feeling included will be their toughest areas to overcome. Make sure you make at least one night a week where you are with them and have plans they like made. If you do have a computer you might put controls on it so they cannot get into pornography as it will only promote early sex and in a non emotional way. Teenagers are emotional and don’t need those images.

There are books on how to be a father and on experiences of teens themselves. The book, It, is about a case of severe abuse highlighted on Oprah Winfrey. Some of these type of books will educate and be interesting to teens. Others will be a guide to what parents can do to lead them to be independent rather than codependent and depressed. Don’t make excuses for your child’s language towards you by letting them curse at you. You are still the parent. Some structure is needed and they need to know you will set maintain it since they are still not developed enough to handle total independence.

Other Youth & Teen Codependent Behavior Ideas

Be sure to take time with sensitive subjects like the death of a family member. Several books tell you how to let the grief out in our grief and loss section.

Codpendency and the Grief and Loss Stages, by Erickson, incorporates the developmental stages of human growth and, The Stages of Grief, by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross, might also be worth looking into. Knowing what is appropriate and going through these cycles may help eliminate underlying causes for depression. Grief held inside effects the body and can lead to either anger or depression. Depression is a normal part of the grief process.

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