I just read this amazing book called Nurture Shock, by po Bronson, and thought I simply had to share it with all the parents I know. It basically takes up many of the tenets of modern parenting and highlights recent scientific research that shows either why certain behaviours happen or what actually needs to be done to help some of those behaviours to be modified. For instance, sibling rivalry...
Conventional wisdom has it that it stems from a dislike of having to share the parents' time and attention so parents spend a lot of time reassuring older siblings about it. But scientific research shows that it's actally a function of sharing physical things - toys, books, games etc. So no matter how much extra attention you give the elder sibling, it actually won't help. Research shows that kids treat their friends a lot more nicely and with a lot more respect than their siblings. What will help siblings to get along is trying to help them see that the sibling is a friend.
There's information about all the Just say No programs - be it against drugs, alcohol or teenage sex - and the reasons why they don't work. It turns out the Idle mind is the devil's workshop. So what is more useful than these lectures and workshops is to run longer-term programs that help teens fill up their time with something more useful and enriching than hangin' at the mall.
I found the book an absolute eye-opener and a riveting read.