1. Sports and extracurricular activities. Teens who play a sport or are involved in other on campus activities do not have the time or the extra energy to hang out and get in trouble. They also have a built in peer group who also do not have time to get in trouble. Sports have been a major factor in keeping my teens busy, tired and focused on school. It is too late to try and get them involved after they are in high school, you have to get them doing things when they are little so they naturally gravitate toward those activities in high school.
2. Family dinner. Kids who sit down for dinner with the family are less likely to be involved in drugs and alcohol. They are talking and listening to parents and parents know what is going on in their lives. Dinner is really important.
3. Family vacations. A disturbing trend is the vacation where a teen brings a friend along. Vacations need to be a memory making time with just the family. It needs to be the time that you build connections, traditions and foundations with your kids, not the time that you do your thing and they do theirs. Be a family.
4. Church. Kids need to know that someone has their back all. the. time. Faith is also something that builds a connection with your kids. It is one of the things you all do together each week.
5. Tell your kids what you know. Talk to them. You can't just give your kids a talk once and have it stick, you have to repeat and repeat over the course of a childhood. If you don't tell your kids something is wrong, someone else will tell them it is right.