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

Posted June 15, 2009 by

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!


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.

Popular on Empowering Parents

View Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Louise Sanborn Report

    Lester, way to go! Thanks for sharing your experience — I love how you made your son accountable for his cell phone usage. A great lesson for all of us.

  2. Lester Report

    My son is 16 years old and my wife and I recently decided that a hard line has to be taken.

    Due to a few consecutive mammoth cell phone bills I recently told my son he has to pay his own cell phone bills or buy his own minutes.

    As a result he got a summer job, working part-time at the local record store. He bought the Motorola W376 phone for $30 from Target and the Double minutes feature gives you 120 minutes for under $20. He loves his phone- its got has a camera, FM radio, web access, blue tooth, Sudoku, Tetris and soccer games built in.

    The result of my stop payment of his cell phone bills have been astounding! The added responsibility he is showing as a result of the hard line I’ve taken and the work experience he is getting out of his job at the record store is priceless.

    I would recommend fellow parents put some serious thought into taking an old fashioned hard line with their teens and encourage paying a bill of their own and working a summer job. This great offer from Tracfone made it surprisingly affordable for him to pay for his own minutes and he’s even saving his own cash as a result.

  3. moma bear Report

    we have a 17 yr old ADHD ODD boy.He has been so defiant last yr. He was fine until 15 then started acting up smoking pot runing away called police they did nothing said they would just bring him back ,he broke no law. my son laughs at the police he knows he has control,he finally got tired of his life and our fights and I learned how to deal with arguing DON’T ,they need it, walk away come back later and talk.worked for awhile till pot came back he was on aderall at school and it helped.Summer has come he ,had liscense ,driving, working with dad fine ,pot again and took valium from friend we all argued.He broke our window threw things threatened to kill himself ,called police.Sent to a unit he escaped had a 5150 on him,he called us from somewhere wouldn’t go back brought him home,he is still defiant angry .On seroquel since Mon.I’m so angry at the hospital who let him go and did not come back to get him.They didn’t care. need help!I want him just to go away sometimes, he is ruining our family wont take meds if he doesnt want to or go to counseling Im so tired!

  4. Chris Thompson Report

    I think that teens generally should work during the summer to learn how to deal with new problems in life. But the parents need to talk to their kids, understand their goals, help them learn about finances, and make sure they know how to avoid being taken advantage of at work (or doing unsafe work).



Join our NEW Total Transformation® Learning Center!

Practical, affordable parenting help starting at $14.95/month BECOME A MEMBER TODAY!

Empowering Parents is the leading online resource for child behavior help


Parent Coaching Sessions

7.5 Million

Global Visitors

10+ Years

Helping Families