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Summer's Here -- Is Your Teen Ready for a Part-time Job?

Posted by Scott Wardell

Is your teen all fired up about getting a job this summer? While working part-time can be a really positive experience for a teenager, there are a number of real considerations parents need to make when the subject comes up.

When your teen begins looking for a job, make sure you assert yourself and tell him or her what hours are acceptable, what kind of work makes sense for them at their age, and what parts of town you approve of for travel and safety. A job at the mall may be fine, but if they’re coming out of the mall at night by themselves, that could be cause for concern.  Jobs for teenagers should never require that the teen close a store or business on their own — those jobs should be reserved for adults.

Before your teen receives his or her first paycheck from their first job, it’s a good idea to talk with them about what they will be doing with their money. They should be allowed to buy or save for something they really want, but they need to learn how to save money, too. Some teenagers automatically see jobs as a way to save for college or to purchase their first car, but others might not have any idea about saving and budgeting money. Economics or money lessons are important are to teach your child; encouraging your teen to take an economics or life-planning course can be very valuable.

Positive Factors To Consider In Allowing Your Child To Get A Job

  • Jobs can teach teenagers work skills they’ll need their whole lives, such as how to fill out an application, how to interview well, how to work responsibly, and how to get along with co-workers and superiors
  • Jobs can help teens feel more confident and independent
  • Jobs help teens develop a sense of responsibility
  • Students who work 10 to 15 hours a week during the school year earn higher grades than students who don’t work at all
  • Jobs help teens learn to manage their money
  • Jobs can help teens explore potential career paths

Some Negative Factors To Consider In Allowing Your Child To Get A Job

  • Teens who work more than 15 to 20 hours a week receive lower grades
  • Teens who work can find it difficult to keep up extracurricular activities and friendships
  • Teens who work are more likely to use illegal drugs or alcohol
  • Overworked teens sleep and exercise less and spend less time with their families

Some Other Factors To Consider:

  • Does my teen get out of bed in the morning without prodding?
  • Does my teen shower and have good hygiene?
  • Does my teen make good choices?
  • Does my teen take responsibility for mistakes?
  • Does my teen get along with other teens and with adults?
  • Does my teen handle criticism?
  • Does my teen have good time management skills?

Talk to your teen about why he or she wants a job, and what your expectations are for:

  • Activities and groups
  • Friends and family
  • Money (how much your child will need to save versus spending and what expenses he or she will be responsible for)
  • Grades when the school year starts up again

Finally, use your parenting instincts. Parenting children requires you to use your “parent intuition”. You know your child and your child’s behavior better than anyone else. You may not be a child psychology expert, but you know your child’s developmental needs best!


About Scott Wardell

Scott Wardell has been a school counselor and educator for 34 years. He is the creator of a parenting website devoted to assisting parents searching for solutions that lead to positive parenting outcomes while raising child, teens and young adults.

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