When today’s parents were teenagers, their own parents (today’s grandparents) probably had very different expectations for the career paths of their children. In the 1960-70s, many young teenagers set out to work as soon as they were able, and most of their parents, with their 1940-50s values of hard work and frugal living, encouraged this wholeheartedly. Many of these former waitresses and busboys, however, have very different expectations for their own children.
Today’s teens are more likely to attend college than their parents, meaning they are probably more likely to place a higher degree of emphasis on their high school education. This means that for some teenagers, a part time job hasn’t even crossed their mind. What’s more, with today’s economy detracting from the number of jobs available even to experienced workers, many parents wonder if their child even could obtain employment. If you are a parent wondering if your teenager should get a job, consider the following tips before making a decision:
Consider the benefits of a job.
For some teens, a part time job could be close to the best thing that’s ever happened to them. Jobs can help to teach your child about responsibility, time management, and “the value of a dollar.” Other potential benefits include the following:
- The opportunity to explore possible career areas
- An increased sense of independence
- Extra spending money/ money towards college, a car, etc.
- Practice with interviewing skills
- More confidence with social skills
- Experience compromising with coworkers and superiors
Allowing your teen to get a part time job while still in school could help them to develop valuable life skills and give them the experience they’ll need when they enter the “real world” later in life.
Remember that there are some drawbacks.
Part time jobs benefit many teens, but there are also some negative aspects of teenage employment. Teens obviously will have less free time on their hands, so if your teen is not mature enough to handle the job, this could lead to a number of issues. If your son or daughter allows their work schedule to get out of control, they could see a decline in their performance in school, in the amount of time spent with friends and family, and in their interest in exercise and other hobbies.
If you set guidelines for your teen, however, these negative aspects could be avoided. If you determine that your teen is ready for employment, be sure to clearly establish some basic rules regarding the number of hours they’re allowed to work and your expectations for them as a student, athlete, or family member.
Evaluate your teen as an individual.
Many parents want a simple answer to the question of whether or not they should allow their teen to get a job, but the truth is, it depends entirely on the personality and responsibility level of your son or daughter. There are no hard and fast rules regarding teen employment, so you’ll have to evaluate your teen on an individual basis. There are some questions, though, that can help to make your decision easier. Before reaching a conclusion, ask yourself:
“Does my teen/ Will my teen be able to…”
- Perform well in school?
- React well to criticism (an inevitable aspect of any job)?
- Have a sense of maturity?
- Know how to handle themselves in stressful situations?
- Have some sense of time management?
- Take their job seriously?
- Generally act responsibly?
Make sure your teen understands that even though this is their first job and it is only part time, they should still take it seriously. They will likely want to use this position as a reference, even if only for their next few jobs, so it is important to respect it.