Many psychologists, including Dr. Aaron Kipnis, President of the Fatherhood Coalition and author of Angry Young Men: How Parents, Teachers and Counselors Can Help "Bad Boys" Become Good Men, believe that dads can break the mold formed in their own relationships with their absent fathers. Here's how to begin with some common sense, but sometimes difficult, principles:
Listen, don't lecture.
Respect your teen's opinions, even if they differ from your own - which surely they will!
Hug them, even if they seem to pull away.
Believe in them, regardless of their C+ average or lack of athletic ability.
Organize "dads-only" activities, or get together with other dads and their teens. Men can learn more about how to be good fathers from other good fathers.
Establish rituals that are uniquely dad's, such as cooking breakfast together on Saturday mornings or going for a run with your teen who's working out for the track team.
Get support from other dads. It is okay to talk about your kids with other men, who may also be eager to talk about their own. Maybe they are waiting for you to make the first move.
Don't hold your teen to a higher standard of behavior than you model.
Don't pursue success to the exclusion of your family.
Take a parenting class if you can't figure it out by yourself.
Don't try to change your teens. Let them be who they are, not who you think they should be.
Pick your battles. Forego the screaming match over blue-streaked hair, saving your energy for the episodes that risk safety or morals.
Get involved in school activities beyond sports events.
Be a "buddy" at a baseball game, but a father in all other situations