Holding a Part-Time Job
Entering the workforce feels like an adult thing to do, and it is. Exchanging labor for money is what your child will be doing throughout his or her adult life. You want your son or daughter to learn the discipline of being able to secure and sustain employment.
There is much good experience your teen can gain from part-time employment. It takes initiative to find a job opening. It takes assertiveness to interview for a position. It takes responsibility to hold a job. It takes obedience to work for a boss. It takes cooperation to work with coworkers. And it takes patience to work with the public (which is what most entry-level jobs require a teenager to do). It also affirms self-worth to know that one has skills for which the world of work is willing to pay money. All of this is on the plus side of the ledger.
Becoming a wage earner does not reduce the teenager's need for money to spend; it increases it. As income rises, so does the desire to do and have more things that he or she now wants to buy.
On the negative side of the ledger can be investing time at the job at the expense of education, because now making money feels more rewarding than making grades. Also negative can be what is learned from workplace associations — more access to substance use and other unwelcome worldly influences than existed before. Jobs can help teenagers grow up in a hurry as they work alongside older employees.
So parents must see part-time jobs for what they are — an opportunity for growth experience and possibly for harmful exposure. Their job is to monitor the mix so the good outweighs the bad. Since for many teenagers, a cashed paycheck lasts about as long as a lit match, parents may also want to encourage the habit of saving — banking some part of the salary now for spending needs and wants later on.