So your teenager came home from school and declared he wants to flip burgers at the local fast-food joint? He says he needs money for clothes, video games, concerts and to buy his own car? Quite the spitting image of all of us back when we were teenagers, isn’t it?
It’s natural for teens to consider part-time jobs to fit around school or studies and to want to start making their own money. Today, just over 35% of teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are part of the workforce in the US. As a parent, you might as well encourage it! Afterall, the character-building benefits of an after-school job can be many.
One of the biggest drawbacks, though, is that it can often interfere with school and extracurricular activities - exactly why most parents are sceptical about part-time jobs. But with summer round the corner, that’s just one less thing you’re going to have to worry about.
This summer, we give you a list of reasons why a part-time job could be just the thing for your teen:
1) It Fosters an Appreciation of Money and Hard Work:
There is nothing that teaches a teenager appreciation for money and the true value of things they buy than having to spend their own money to get what they want. I’ve spoken about this previously in a blog on financial literacy for children. The weeks or months of saving, the patience required, the sacrifice choosing between purchases are all important lessons that prepare them to function well in an adult world.
2) It Improves Social Skills:
Places of work introduce young people to colleagues that are typically diverse in age and background. It can seem daunting to be the 'young person' and have to interact with people who might be decades older - something they've probably never encountered before. But being able to interact with people from all walks of life is a valuable skill. Good social exposure means that they will have high emotional IQ and be better prepared to handle a variety of situations.
3) It Teaches Self-Discipline:
Working introduces self-discipline that many young people might not be used to. Up until now, their main responsibilities might mostly have been arriving at school on time or handing in homework before deadlines. But being late for work typically comes with more undesirable consequences than being late for school - such as loss of pay and even loss of job. Many part-time jobs require getting up early on the weekend or rearranging social life around working commitments. This is all good practice encouraging a mature, responsible attitude.
4) It Improves Self-Confidence:
Having a job means that your teen will encounter tasks or situations that feel daunting at first. They will soon find out that once they have learned a particular task and carried it out a few times, the anxiety disappears and they are left equipped with a new skill. This helps a young person to grow in confidence as well as leaves them better prepared for their future entry into the workforce.
5) It’s Good For Their Self-Esteem:
Earning their own money and being able to deal with different situations and people can help a young person feel better about themselves. Not having to rely on parents for money instils a sense of responsibility and self-worth and gives them the opportunity to make their own choices. It also gives them a chance to do things for other people - choose gifts for family members, donate to charities, etc.
6) It Opens Up Opportunities:
From a long term point of view, having work experience on a CV is great when applying for future opportunities - be it another job or educational pursuit. It indicates a resourceful, independent and driven young person who will be an asset to the institution.
Hopefully, by now, I’ve succeeded in convincing you to let your teen take up a part-time gig. I understand why some of us may be unsure but there’s no harm giving it a shot this summer - if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t. There’s not going to be a downside at least.
If you found this blog helpful, let me know in the comments below. If you would like me to write on any parenting issue you feel is relevant to you or may benefit others, feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!