Tuesday, April 12, 2016

To Job or Not to Job- My Teen Question


My youngest has a busy school and extracurricular schedule. She also needs, dare I say, requires, a certain amount of downtime, to keep her own stress levels at bay. Lately she has been talking about wanting to get a part time job, perhaps starting in the summer. I'm all for kids earning the extra's in life, but I also don't want her involvement, and her grades to be impacted. Plus, she will be working for 50 years once she is out of highschool. I want her to build up experiences now. Though, part time jobs are good experiences, if a good fit. I'm perplexed.

My son had weekend and summer spot jobs through high school. He did things like painting and yard clean-up, occasional office work at my then work, and some things for his grandpa's shops and rentals. He probably could have taken on more, lord knows he didn't do that much around the house, and no winter sport. But fall and spring he was in football and track practice daily, often into the evenings. DD#1 started a job in a grocery store just before her junior year of highschool. The store was a block and 1/2 a way, and she didn't get that many hours, maybe 10-12 a week. By her junior year, she was no longer doing sports, and had just a couple intramural type activities. She was taking over half her classes at the local community college for high school and college credit, plus a few more, almost all of which transferred when she went to the University, helping her to graduate a semester early with two bachelor's degrees. The job was a good fit for her-she needed more to keep her busy, and keep her connected to kids her own age.

None of my kids are lazy, but they sure did not have the work drive I had as a teen. Quite frankly, other than the absolute necessities parents are required to provide, from probably the age of 12 when I started regular babysitting jobs, to when I corn detassled, then later worked in a newspaper, then grocery store, I was pretty self sufficient. There was no allowance to pay for movies out with friends, or a day hanging out in the mall and grabbing a treat at the food court. If I wanted those things, they came out of my earned money.  Occasionally a couple dollars would come our way, and we had a little allowance for school clothes shopping to start the year. By no means was I deprived, but often felt-knew, we kids were a financial burden for our parents, so we didn't even ask for things. While theses skill helped me a lot in college and starting out my family, in many ways I developed some unhealthy anxieties about money, struggling with using it for things other than necessities, but then later binge spending on stupid things. The balance is still a struggle for me.  

We agreed that she could look into options for now. We have a short list of places that might be possible while allowing her to not give up her activities. Should she decide to stop cross country, the extra choirs and orchestras, the plays, soccer, and her clubs, the options might expand. She'll take the odd babysitting job when her schedule allows, and continue to do volunteer stints-which I think is just as useful as a paid job in developing a work ethic. Meanwhile, she is building quite a portfolio for potential scholarships, which long term could net her much more than $7.25 an hour schlepping soft serve ice cream in a cone. 

Where do you think part time jobs fit in the scheme of teen life? Am I being over sheltering or smart about trying to preserve her active high school life? 

14 comments:

  1. How old is she? My daughter started to work as a cashier in a dep't store when she was 15. It was easy work and she enjoyed making a little money. The hours weren't bad - 2 or 3 shifts of 4 hours a week. I think it was really good for her to get out into the world a bit without overdoing it.

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    1. She's 15, and I like the idea of her wanting to exert a little self reliance, but just want to make sure not at the expense of other things she works so hard at.

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  2. Both of my girls were very busy in high school. Marching band in the fall, swim team in the winter & summer, jazz band, comedy improv troupe, a capella group, drama club, etc. My oldest started working at WaWa (East coast gas/convenience store) in the spring of her junior year. She only worked 2-3 days a week after school til 11pm. She easily handled it since her academic load was fairly average. Now she is finishing her sophomore year in college and still works there, handling all of her responsibilities well. Similar hours too.

    My youngest was in a rigorous more accelerated program in school and still did all the same extracurriculars. So she only had time to work in the summers. After junior year she worked at our local minor league baseball stadium selling food. The next summer she worked at the Lego store in the mall. Now she is a freshman engineering major in college and has already interviewed for jobs for the summer. This year she wants to work with kids at a day camp.

    I guess what I'm saying is, they have to try stuff to know if they can handle it, if it works for them, and if its worth it. Each kid is different but you have to let them figure it out. Failing at something is as valuable of a lesson as succeeding is.

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    1. With my daughter's academic load, she could not work right after school until 11:00 at night-she easily has two-four hours of homework/study a night. She actually takes 9 classes, though three are .5 classes, but still, no study hall, and four days a week she is at school for a 0 hour. On her short list are things like the ice cream place that closes by 9:00, pool concessions (summer only so good,or even the grocery store, but in like the deli or bakery that doesn't stay open 24-7.

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  3. When I had a dog and wanted a dog walker I was amazed how hard it was to find a suitable teenager. I was offering a fair rate of pay, flexible timing, a healthy job and yet I had trouble in finding someone suitable. I had though that teenagers (and parents of teenagers) would think it a great opportunity for a start in the world of work!

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    1. Now that would be the perfect job for her! We volunteered as dog walkers in between our two dogs for five years, and before she was so crazy busy. She was too young to do on her own-required 16, but she did well.

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  4. I think it's good for them to have jobs. I did. And for the ones where they've kept the jobs, they've done actually better in school than the ones who maybe worked for a few weeks over the summer then schluffed off during the school year... I think it keeps them on their toes and makes them busy during their out of school hours and out of trouble.
    I've got kids on both ends of the spectrum.

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    1. That was the case for my older daughter-she really stepped up the work at school, knowing what kind of career she eventually wanted and how hard she would have to work to get there. I think a very part time opportunity might be good for this one-because she is so busy academically and with activities, but she does need to learn more responsibility, as I have probably coddled her a bit more than the others being the youngest.

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  5. I've had one of my kids who managed to find a job in our local store at 14 and the others varied between 16 18 and 20. All very different personalities etc. I think it's fine to work as long as they can manage and not get stressed re all their other commitments. It's all individual isn't it?

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    1. You are right-individual kids can handle different amounts, and different types of commitments. It's finding the balance of building responsibility, having them contribute to their own wants, and yet still being a kid.

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  6. Here's a thought....let her get a job(that works for her available hours)and let her see if it's too much and then she can decide whether to keep the job and let some other activity go or quit the job.
    I think it's an excellent life lesson to work in high school. I did(but out of necessity)as did all my kids(didn't have to work) while in HS. 15 is old enough for most jobs and if she is mature for her age she'll be fine. Having her work in school will give her exposure to different kinds of people out in the world, help her in her becoming a separate person from her family, and also help her see how hard it can be to earn money and she'll have a better appreciation for the things y'all pay for, for her. My daughter never had a true appreciation for what things cost until she started paying for them herself. She was pretty lose with "our" money but suddenly "wants" once she was paying for them were not as important to her. lolz

    I just think you are over-thinking this. If she wants a job, let her. So many life lessons will follow from getting one.

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    1. Sluggy-I overthink everything! We are leaning that way, but with very specific stipulations that her grades and school work comes first, and the job can't be an excuse for other expectations of contributing to and participating in family life and home. We'll see what she finds. Part of the issue is she doesn't drive yet, so I also don't want to be inconvenienced and be running around bring her to and picking her up from a job

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  7. I remember that at that age or a little older, I wanted a job - it seemed so grown-up and independent, and fun. I only had a very few short term jobs as a teenager, and some of them were fun. But my parents told me to not be in a hurry, like you say, there will be time for work in the future, lots of time... Our daughter also talks about having a job from time to time, and I can't imagine - when? Her life is so much busier than my life was at her age. There should be time for just growing up, being a kid. I think our kids don't have enough of it with so much responsibilities so early in their lives. But if they find something that brings them joy (not just money), and better understanding of themselves... then sure, I would not stop them. Good luck with sorting this out!

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    1. We'll see what she finds. There's a teen job board at her school that liats approx hours and minimum age.

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