Just don't expect it to be easy.
GOTTA GET OUT MORE
The first golden rule: Don't even try to work serious bonding into your daily routine (at least at first). You'll have better luck away from home and all its competition - TV, Internet, music, siblings, telephone, friends, and so on - because, let's face it, at this point in their lives, anything is more interesting than you. Doing something out of the context of day-to-day life creates the best opportunities for making a connection.
Cohen-Sandler took her teens to Costa Rica, and while there, the kids got to play expert because they knew more of the language and were more physically fit than their parents. Give your own kids the opportunity to try on new roles by choosing destinations together. Look for a variety of activities as well as a setup that allows both of you a little breathing room. Avoid highly structured tours, which create too many opportunities for adolescent rebellion against authority.
Seek activities that don't involve your usual parent mode - that "where-were-you, what-about-that-English-grade, who-are-these-weirdos-you-call-friends" stuff. Show that you see your teen as a person, not just your child, and temporarily put aside your job of setting limits. How? Try something new, preferably something your teen is dying to do.
If your daughter has been fantasizing about surfing ever since she saw Blue Crush, check out Surf Camp in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina (www.wbsurf camp.com) or Paskowitz Surf Camp in San Diego (www.paskowitz.com). Both promise to have anybody - even you, Dad - up and riding a board in five days. Or cater to your kid's inner scientist. Cheryl Bennett and daughter Lauren spent 10 days researching leatherback turtles on an Earthwatch Institute expedition in the Caribbean (www.earthwatch.org). "It ended up being the trip of a lifetime for both of us," says Bennett. "It was more like we were partners researchers working together." If turtles don't excite you, Earthwatch offers expeditions on everything from dolphins to medicinal plants.