1) Make time for your kids. Bar none, this is critical as it’ll make them feel important, give them confidence and help build a relationship between you and your teenager. There’s lots of possibilities here: take them to a local college game (even a free intermural game), out to eat, activity of their choice, shopping (even grocery shopping can work), etc.
2) For those of you with teenage daughters (and middle school age…ok, any age), do a bit of research on the stages of development and puberty. There lots of info on this, e.g. WebMD, etc., and it’ll help with your understanding your daughters changes, mood swings, monthly needs from the store and more.
3) Follow through on your discipline threats. I.e. if you threaten to take away your son or daughters phone if their actions (or lack of action) continue, ensure you carry out your threat if they don’t live up to their end.
4) Cell phones are your friend. As their phone is their lifeline to their buddies, taking away their phone or cancelling service carries significant weight.
5) Get to know your kids friends. Let them bring friends over for dinner, or for dining out, or to a sporting event, or shopping, or whatever. This will prove invaluable relative to getting to know your kids and initiating conversation with your kids.
6) Work some amount of nutrition into their diet. This doesn’t need to be every day, but ensuring your daughter has calcium (milk) and iron (mean) is vital to her growth. Same for your son. Constant fast food doesn’t cut it.
7) Talk to your kids. Family dinners, even if it’s just the two, three or four of you, without the TV on works. Ask lots of questions about their friends and activities.
8) Get advice from your friends in a similar situation. Some amount of group thing or at least some opinions and advice from others going through the same thing goes a long way to help.
9) Ask your friends to help check in with your son or daughter when you can’t be there. That’s what friends are for.
10) Assign your kids household chores with an associated allowance. Don’t hesitate to money away too if they don’t follow through with their responsibilities.