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?