For doctor’s appointments or emergency room visits, Goodwin said, explain any health insurance co-payments or other billing procedures to your child and make sure he knows what kind of identification he will need to provide.
With fender benders, the car-buying Web site Edmunds.com says to tell your teen to call the police and move the cars to the side of the road if possible. And give her a list of what information she will need to exchange with the other driver: name, address, phone number, insurance information, driver’s license number and license plate number.
Greenstreet Commons chief Neale Godfrey recommends taking your teen to the insurance agent when you add her to your policy. Then have the agent explain to her what she needs to do in an accident.
She also recommends a trip to the police station with your teen, so an officer can explain what happens when you’re in an accident or if you are caught with alcohol in your car.
“Lots of 18-year-olds consider themselves to be like a child, and we consider them a child, but the law considers them an adult,” Godfrey said. “Let the outside world explain that to them. They’re more likely to listen to [police officers] than to their parents.”
Digital kids, analog skills
Teens should practice basic skills that have nothing to do with technology, says Carrie Schaefer, a counselor at Annandale High School.
Make sure that your teen knows how to read and write in cursive and that he can sign his name, she said. Everyone needs to be able to address an envelope and write a check, as well.
While every child is taught how to read an analog clock in elementary school, many rely so much on their phones that they forget, Schaefer said. So continue to practice that skill with them as they go through middle and high school.
And have your teens write and speak in complete sentences without using the shorthand that goes with texting or social media, she said.
“They’re shortening everything they do with technology these days, sending little messages where everything is abbreviated,” Schaefer said. “They need to get out of that habit because when you’re e-mailing your professor you can’t do that.”
Developing people skills
Your teen may know his way around an iPhone blindfolded, but to be successful in the workplace, he will need good manners and to be able to communicate and collaborate with others, according to John Brewer, principal of Dominion High School in Loudon’s Sugarland Run.
“Many of the 21st-century skills that kids need to be developing are not things we traditionally think of as things schools ought to teach,” Brewer said. Key skills include being able to meet new people and have successful interactions with them, he said.
“[These skills] are in this big lump that you would call character education,” Brewer said. “Can you treat other people with respect? Can you pull your weight? It’s crucial to be able to do these things in a global workplace.”