My husband’s teenage jobs were ten to my two. His family encouraged all of their 7 children to have part-time jobs during their teenage years. My parents wanted us to focus on our grades, which is important, but not the whole package in my view. We have tried to morph the work ethic with the school ethic, because many of Craig’s siblings didn’t attend college until later in life which was a harder path to take. In my family all of us children got our bachelor’s degrees and two went on to higher degrees, but some of us had entitlement issues that Craig’s sibs did not.
Not just the above examples have cemented this notion for me. As I have watched my children, their friends, also kids in our neighborhood–those that are encouraged and expected to work–these lucky teenagers don’t react negatively to having to work. It’s just a part of their growing up and they themselves can see the benefits. Having the knowledge and confidence that comes from working for other people is such a critical skill you can help your children develop. Your coaching, support and approval will help them be successful. It will make all the difference as they move down the path of self-reliance.
I have covered in previous posts what age bench marks we had for our 12 and 14 year olds.
- Started doing their own laundry
- started buying their own school clothes
- paying for their own entertainment
- Started making their own appointments
- Got to earn a cell phone and pay for it at 14
- Started working at a job with a familiar person, moving beyond lawn mowing and babysitting.
Now as a 16-year-old, you can encourage your child to get a 10 hour a week job, at the max (the grades are still important, although in the summer they obviously can work more hours) and apply at a place that is a step up in terms of experience than the job they had as a 14-year-old. It is okay if he still works at the job that he had at 14, but it has been our experience that they want to go farther afield and push themselves.
It is working smarter, not harder, to apply somewhere where somebody knows who you are and can vouch for your work ethic.
Applying to a million places on-line isn’t the easiest way to go, and can become very discouraging. However, you can coach your child to apply online somewhere, and then go the extra mile and make a visit into the store, restaurant etc. to put help put a face to the application.
Your children get to discover the skills of resume writing, getting to interview, and the roller coaster feeling you have while waiting for a call from their interviews. If they didn’t get the job they can wonder what they could have done better, or realize maybe there are other forces out of their control. For instance, here in Provo, Utah, there is a lot of competition from college students. These are all great discussions as you process with your teen in ways to improve and compete.
Below is a great website for you and your teen to read together on interviewing, applying online.
- This is a good interviewing tips video, and she has several, that you can watch with your teenager. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OF8nx8Pt0tI
This comment was posted under the above video:
“I’m 23 and I’ve never had a job throughout my whole life. I just always have these worries and negative thoughts about being employed, so I never bothered to work.”
“I’ve always had thoughts like what if I mess up? What if I don’t know what I’m doing and I get scolded by the boss? What if I fail? etc. Currently, I’m just trying to seek for a part-time job to gain experience. Honestly, I’m not sure if I have any strengths at all. I feel like my personality is quite lacking, too. I really need to build up some confidence. 😩😔”
Cocooning our children from the skills they need as an adult is doing them no favors. Can you see how damaging it is to start thinking about employment just in your 20’s? Getting a job becomes this huge daunting task that can be overwhelming. Working with your children and starting them EARLY at the age of 12, to work for others, will help strangle “these worries and negative thoughts.” They will start with little risk, slowly building up their work capital account, all through high school and college. By the time they graduate from college, they will be very comfortable with resume writing, interviewing, and successful job experience. All the experience they have gained will be worth it!
What jobs have your children worked at, and how did it impact their lives?