Based on my experience as a teenager I believe strongly that your teen is interested in earning more money than is possible through an allowance and occasional odd jobs here and there. Sometimes ago I had the opportunity to hire one and the experience was wonderful. He wanted the money and was also very receptive to learn on the job. I know some parents are of the school of thought that there is no need to make a child go through the rigor of working especially because they have the capacity to pay all the bills. Working isn’t just about making money alone. In addition to making money there are a number of other benefits that your teen can acquire. Some of them are as listed below:
- Career guidance
• Real-life experiences
• The chance to develop interpersonal skills in the workplace
• The opportunity to learn new skills
• Time management experience
Working for your teenager might also have its shortcomings. Teenagers who work full time may have a harder time completing their school work, may have lower grades in school (often due to fatigue and lack of preparation), may have increased stress (trying to “fit it all in”) and may develop a negative view of work. Naturally, the negative aspects of working are not the same for everyone; while one teenager may suffer in school because of a job, another might thrive because of a growing sense of independence and accomplishment. It is, therefore, important for every parent to be aware of how work may affect their child as no two children are alike.
If your child finds it difficult to balance school and work, holiday employment might be an excellent alternative since it will not interfere with their education. Examples of holiday jobs are as follows:
- Jobs at summer camps
• Office intern
• Retail jobs (such as grocery, clothing and electronics stores)
• Job shadowing opportunities
Getting a job may be a big step for your teenager, and it can be a learning experience for the entire family as well. You can, however, help your child have a positive experience by:
• Discussing the job’s advantages and disadvantages
• Identifying the job’s responsibilities and what the employer may expect
• Helping prepare a budget (where will his or her money go?)
• Assisting to create a daily and/or weekly schedule to promote effective time management, allowing for some family time in the schedule
• Teaching practical ways to handle tough situations at work and school (often, these teaching moments are the result of something that has already happened)
• Supporting your child, if things are going well, or if the job needs to be rethought because your child is having trouble balancing work and school
One thing you can be sure about is that your child will come out better with this experience if you decide to give it a shot. It will be well worth it.
Gbonjubola Sanni – she is a Public Speaker and Conference teacher who is passionate about women’s interests, a financial literacy advocate for children who has authored two books on financial literacy for kids. Director of Eadda Kids Enterprises.