4. Fix Food and Sleep
"We make bad decisions when we're angry, hungry, lonely, or tired," Hansen says.
Help your teen make healthy choices by explaining that. For example, being tired can make people crave high-calorie foods. But that doesn’t mean to go for a 2-liter soda and deep-dish pizza. They have the power to choose healthy foods.
Then check your pantry and make it easier for them to do that. Stock up on nutritious snacks: fresh fruit and cut-up veggies, low-fat yogurt, reduced-fat cheese, and whole wheat crackers. If chips and ice cream aren't around, teens will be more likely to eat healthy choices.
Also, emphasize that enough sleep is so important. Not only can a lack of sleep lead to unhealthy eating and moodiness, it’s also linked to not wanting to move, bad grades, car accidents, and concentration problems. Teens need at least 8 1/2 hours of sleep a night. If yours doesn't get even close to that, it may be time to re-evaluate his daily schedule.
"I think there has to be a sit down where you say, 'You're burning the candle at both ends and it's just not healthy,'" Hansen says. Figure out which activities are most important and cut where you can. There has to be room for healthy sleep.
5. Resist the Urge to Argue Back
If your teen tests your patience, remember that teens argue just because they can, Elkind says.
"It's like when children learn to count and they ask you for lists of numbers just so they can count them. Now they want to argue because they have the newfound ability to do it," he says.
Don't take it personally. "There are so many changes going on -- physically, emotionally, socially. Try to take it easy on them and be understanding."