His First Job
Many teens will want to have a job. About half the teens who work do so in the retail industry. It is your responsibility to help your son find work appropriate for him.
Your son can reap many benefits by having a job. He will be able to earn some money, and he may learn new skills or meet new people, including the beginning of his employment network. A job will also provide him with the opportunity to learn responsibility.
A job is a great way for teens to learn responsibility. Your teen will be responsible for getting to work, scheduling his work hours, and balancing work with school and his social life. Your job is to act as a lifeguard.
You should step in if there are problems. The problems might be workplace issues like an unsafe working environment or infractions of child labor laws as defined by your state. You may also step in if you notice his grades and schoolwork are suffering.
You can make a case for having your son reduce the number of hours he works per week or even quit the job. After all, your son's most important job responsibility at this point in his life is getting a good education.
You may get really excited when your son announces that he wants a job. Perhaps you imagine your days of paying his bills are over. Maybe he is getting a job because you've told him he needs to pay for something specific, like his own car insurance. You have to realize that even with a great job, most teens do not earn a lot of money.
Your son needs to know practical information, like how to fill out a W-4 and what it means. You can find information on your teen's first job and tax tips at
Having his own income will help your son learn to watch his money. This lesson is much easier to learn now than later when he is dependent on his paycheck for rent and groceries. A paycheck will also give you a chance to talk about taxes, social security, and perhaps union dues or fees for other associations.