Some parents become worried when they think about their teenagers getting a job. From their safety to the possible impact on their grades, it can be a lot to think about. There are pros and cons, but if your teen is considering their first job, you should consider the issue from all sides and know all the facts.
Worrying about one’s child doesn’t simply stop when they reach puberty and become teenagers. They still need their parents’ guidance and approval for many activities. This also includes applying for a job and getting hired to babysit or flip burgers. But what’s the impact of teenagers getting a job? More importantly, should they get a job at all?
For a more objective outlook, let’s look at the advantages of disadvantages that come with this life decision.
Advantages of Teenagers Getting a Job
Learning Hard Work
Nothing prepares kids for college and future careers like a job as a teenager. This will be their first encounter with deadlines and responsibilities. They will learn what it means to be held accountable for their actions. They will understand the importance of showing up on time, looking neat, and being polite to other people.
Teenagers might be awkward and shy. Getting a job might help them overcome some of their fears about interacting with strangers. Teenagers getting a job (be it part-time or full-time) have the opportunity to become more confident and meet new people. In addition, they can also learn the value of money. They’l find out how hard it is to earn and how easy it is to spend.
Having their own money, teenagers will be able to buy their own things. Gadgets, clothes, and accessories will no longer be at the mercy of the parents’ budget. This brings about a sense of increased independence, as well as financial relief on the parents’ side. Teenagers learn first-hand how to manage their finances (be it through trial and error).
For parents that work long hours outside the home, teenagers getting a job usually means they are supervised by an adult. This can put worried parents at if they’re unsure of their kids’ activities after school.
Inspiration for Further Learning
Finding an enjoyable part-time job can put a teenager on track to a lifetime career. Teenagers have the opportunity to explore different fields and discover what they enjoy doing. And even what they despise. Find a part-time job they enjoy doing might actually work as an incentive for the teenagers to find a suitable college for their skills. Additionally, an unpleasant, low-wage job can sometimes inspire them to work harder in school to qualify for a good college.
Disadvantages of Teenagers Getting a Job
Impact on Grades
Some studies have revealed that teenagers who work more than 18 hours per week will experience a drop in grades. A tiresome part-time job is bound to exhaust teenagers and force them to reassess their priorities. Most importantly, they might decide that making more money to afford clothes or a vacation is more important than studying for finals.
Social Isolation from Peers
Getting a job as a teenager might make it difficult for them to continue to interact with their peers and attend extracurricular activities. Working teenagers might become so engulfed in their job that they become isolated, give up on going out with friends, and have no time left for activities they previously enjoyed. Furthermore, extracurricular activities like volleyball, acting classes, and debate club sometimes fall by the wayside.
Not everything about teenagers getting a job is positive. Parents should take into consideration that their teenaged son and daughter will be working in an environment filled with adults. Teenagers working with older students in college or adults in their twenties might be exposed to risky activities. In addition, these “older kids” may encourage them to try alcohol, drugs, smoking, and sexual activity.
What Does the Law Say?
- According to U.S. federal law, children under 14 cannot be employed in a wide variety of jobs. These kids are only allowed to deliver newspapers or work in a business owned by one of the parents. They can also babysit, carry out small chores around a private home, and perform on the radio or on stage. The same law also restricts the working schedule of children under 14. They can only work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during school months. During summer break, they can only work from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Teens between 14 and 15 years old are allowed by U.S. federal law to work up to three hours after school and only in non-hazardous environments. In addition, on non-school days, they can work eight hours per day.
- Starting with age 16, teenagers can work for an unlimited number of hours in any given environment.
What Should Parents Do?
Teenagers are not inclined to do what they are told. Therefore, the parents’ best course of action should be to subtly guide them toward what is best for them.
Understand Their Motivation
To give the best advice to teenagers getting a job, parents should find out what the teen is expecting from the job. Are they looking to improve certain skills that will help them later on in life? Or are they simply trying to raise enough money to finally buy their own car? No matter what the answer, parents should try to accept and respect their decision. Opposing your teenage son or daughter could only lead to power struggles. This could end in your kid doing something even worse just to spite you.
Emphasize the Importance of School
Although children might not welcome this discussion, parents have the obligation to talk about the importance of getting good grades. Children should stay involved in extracurricular activities. It’s important they maintain relationships with friends and schoolmates. By doing this, parents make sure that their teenage kids are not deprived of social interaction. They can become isolated once they start working a part-time job after school hours.
Set a Schedule
Parents and teenagers might need to agree on an initial schedule. Teenagers need constant guidance and do not always take the best decisions. They might not sense they are being overwhelmed by work. They could end up neglecting school work without even noticing. It is the parents’ duty to impose strict regulations. They should limit the teenager’s work hours in the beginning. That way parents can rest assured their child isn’t falling into an immense workload. Such a workload could lead to bad grades, poor health, and a bad attitude.
There are pros and cons for teenagers getting a job. It could indicate that your kid’s desire to find a job indicates a sign of maturity and independence. They are getting ready to fly the nest, explore the possibilities out there, and find opportunities for growth.
However, the biggest downside of teenagers getting a job is the risk of their grades dropping significantly. The worst case scenario is that they might become so tired and overwhelmed with their new job that they decide school is not taking them anywhere anyway. Dropping out of school suddenly seem very appealing, freeing them to pursue a full time job. Thankfully, most cases of teenagers getting a job are that extreme.