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Should Parents Encourage Their Teenage Children to Work While Attending School?

ClassroomWhen I was a teenager many years ago, I believe we had some of the same pressures that teenagers today do about getting a job while still attending high school.

  • You wanted money so you did not need to depend on your parents financing your social activities.
  • If you wanted the cool clothes and/or accessories, you needed money to go shopping.
  • Peer pressure. If all your friends were working at McDonalds, you felt the pressure of joining in, in case you missed out on anything.

Does any of this sound familiar?

I am embarrassed to say, that the only reason I decided to get my first part time job as a teenager was because my mum refused to buy a jacket that I wanted. You should have seen the price tag, I don’t blame her now. My parents welcomed the idea of me wanting to work part time, I suppose they saw it as financial freedom.

As the old saying goes though, money is not everything. There are so many great reasons to encourage your teenage child to gain part time or casual employment.

1.       Mentor

Mentors are people who are outside your family unit who you can look up to, learn from, relate to, and confide in. They are sometimes called role models.  As teenagers are at an impressionable age, having a mentor (a sounding board) can relate in a positive way.

2.       Financial

A teenager who earns an income learns at a young age that money “does not grow on trees”. Even if they do not learn to save at that age, they learn that money for entertainment, clothes, cars etc. has to last until their next pay day.  When they leave home they will already have a sense of budgeting to some degree

3.       Pride, Self-worth, Confidence

Many adults go to work for this very reason. When someone i.e. a Manager, colleague or a customer thanks you for all your hard work it makes you feel great. It makes you feel valued and important. While teenagers go through puberty it causes many emotions to rear their ugly head. Self – Esteem is something you do not learn, but you gain from repetitious positive experiences. This is where a part time or casual job can be extremely beneficial.

Prepares you for full time employment after studies have concluded.

I have heard many parents tell their children “you can’t get away with that when you go out in the big wide world”.  There is a difference between working in McDonalds to working in the corporate world, but there are also many similarities.

  • Time Management – Both jobs, you need to be at work on time, if not you are made accountable.
  • If you are unwell and can’t attend work, in both roles you would need to contact the manager and advise and ensure that you follow the correct procedure i.e. going to the Drs to get a Drs Certificate. This teaches discipline and accountability.
  • In both roles you are taught the value of team work, respect and honesty. These are big lessons learnt at a young age, which they will carry through their entire working career.
  • Value of providing excellent customer service.

There are many great benefits of allowing your teenager to learn these valuable life and work skills at a young age.

Statistics indicate that 44% of 15 – 19 years olds were employed in 2006 (ABS Census, 2006).  This is a good statistic, for nearly half of our teenagers suggest that working while studying is achievable.

There are a number of reasons why parents prefer their teenage children to forgo working after school or on the weekend, however, one of main reasons is they want their children to succeed academically and prefer their children to solely concentrate on their studies.

Like with all things parenting, there is unfortunately no handbook that gives us a clear guideline of what is considered the “norm” when talking about teenagers working while studying.

Every child is different and every parent has a different opinion. Now that I am a parent myself, I always try and think about what I did at a certain age. What are the positives and the negatives? After all, times have changed since I was a teenager, but certain things still remain the same i.e. the importance of building confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. These attributes are timeless and universal.

About The Author

Fiona Neumann

Fiona Neumann has eighteen years call centre experience which includes ten years management and eight years recruitment experience. Fiona took the challenge and successfully completed her Masters in Human Resources in 2008. While on maternity leave for the second time she made a bold move and started her own small business. Skills Savvy – Call Centre Recruitment Specialist. Our vision to help parents return to the workforce.

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