Codependent patterns start very young. First of all, they are modelled inside the family systems. Sometimes there is a community or collective-cultural undertone to this behavior. It is important to distinguish what are family values and what are codependent patterns. For example, to what extent does the family encourage helping one another and to what extent to we do that outside of the family system to seek validation or belonging? Do we help each other because we are part of a collective that we need to support, or do we do those things because we want to be loved, admired, included, and validated?
Codependency can also lead to lying and deflecting responsibility on what others did wrong or how others made them do the things they did. If teens are always seeking affirmation, approval, acceptance, admiration, they will avoid being in situations where they are seen as less than. They won’t want to tarnish others’ perception of them. It is crucial to model vulnerability. Model how it sounds like when you made a mistake, say things like, “I am not there yet, I will try again,” or “I made a mistake; I now know better, so I will do better,” or try to go upstream and investigate; ask, “what are you the most afraid of when you hide the truth? How does that feel to carry that time after time? Can you envision yourself and how it would feel if you didn’t have to keep packing and carrying all that baggage around?”