Teens having Part-time Jobs

Jodi - posted on 11/17/2010 ( 35 moms have responded )




I was reading a conversation on the Welcome Page, and was surprised at some comments that kids shouldn't have to pay for certain things themselves, and shouldn't have to get jobs and worry about paying for their bills until they graduate high school.

This really surprises me, because I always had work when I was in high school, and was also responsible for paying for certain things (it paid for me to go to the movies, clothes I wanted that weren't in the list of necessities that mum would buy, my large library of books, my magazines I like to read, and also I had to pay my parents if I was using the phone excessively, all my horse-riding gear, and so on).

To me, it taught me a huge sense of responsibility AND the value of money before I graduated high school, and I am forever thankful for that because shortly after I graduated I had to leave home, and I was well prepared for the real world.

My step-daughter is 18 and has been working part-time jobs (mostly on weekends) since she was about 16. Prior to that, she sometimes worked in our businesses for us and was paid for it. My 13 year old will probably start "officially" doing some weekend work in our business in about 12 or 18 months. He already does some extra work around the house and also helps me with some of my work to earn his money to pay for some of his extras (including his iPod Touch and mobile phone, plus movie outings with his friends).

So I guess, I am just seeking the opinions of others (and I'm curious). Do you think kids SHOULD have more responsibility by getting a job while still at high school and living at home, or do you think we should be supporting them until they graduate? What are your reasons?


[deleted account]

I didn't get a 'real' job until I was 18 and then I think that was only 6 hours a week (and my job title was 'Bottle Girl'. I reckon that would be a great superhero name LOL). I did however do the bulk of the housework - cooking, cleaning and looking after my brother - so I think I still gained a good work ethic and the value of money.

My husband has a few money issues and has an economics degree to boot so I think he has some hardline ideas about our children and jobs so I'm just going to go along with him unless I truly disagree.
I do believe in chores for children, even young children. Once they can walk, they can help in my books.

Cassie - posted on 11/18/2010




I started working for my dad when I was 13. He owns a dental lab where false teeth and such are made. I began working about 2 hours a day 5 days a week at his lab doing the initial plaster work on each model of a patients teeth (the first step in making dentures, crowns, bridges, etc). I worked for him for the next 3 years until I was 16 and old enough to get another job not working for family. Basically, the only time I have not worked since I was 13 was the year after Kiera was born when I stayed home with her.

My parents paid for all our needs and a good bit of our wants but the fun extras were on us. For example, they bought all of our clothes (unless we wanted that really expensive pair of jeans that were in style), they paid for our extracurricular sports, and gave us one tank of gas per week. Anything above and beyond that, we paid for.

My husband on the other hand didn't get his first job until he was 18. His parents said that if he was in sports and getting good grades then they would pay for the rest.

Although we were raised very differently in terms of financial responsibility as teens, we are both very frugal, responsible adults so there really is no right or wrong way with this.

Our girls will most likely work as teens but I want their schooling to come first. Looking back, I probably worked way too much (at least 30 hours a week on top of high school and sports) and my husband worked way too little. We will try to find a nice balance with our girls so that they understand how to work hard for their money, save for things they want, and learn that life isn't handed to them on a silver platter.

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Nichole - posted on 11/20/2010




I started mowing people's lawns & walking thier dogs when I was 12 for spending money. At 13 I started babysitting. And at 16 I got a parttime job as a cashier. I paid for things that were considered "not necessities", if I over used my cell phone, for gas in the vehicle when I drove, and things like that. I was allowed to work as much as I wanted as long as my grades didn't dip. I think it was good. Taught me responsiblity and the value of a dollar.

Lacye - posted on 11/20/2010




I didn't have a job when I was in high school but I wish I did! My parents wouldn't let me because they said my school was more important. When my daughter gets old enough, yeah, she can get a job. If she wants a cell phone or just extra cash for herself, she better have a job. To me, it teaches the kids to be more responsible.

[deleted account]

I feel that we are responsible for our children until they are age 18 if they are still in full-time education. If they chose to get a job straight after school then I'd expect some sort of contribution to the household as if they are no longer in full time education you don't get child benefit for them - you do get it up to age 18 if they're in full time education.

I didn't have a part-time job. I was appyling for them but the majority required experience which I basically didn't have. I think whilst I didn't have that experience, I did have the experience of helping around the home with all the chores. We were given pocket money and we were eligible for EMA, which most teens do here if they're in full-time education over the age of 16. That meant I had money to spend on myself.

[deleted account]

I haven't read the other posots (and I probably honestly won't because I'm about ready for my next nap - I had a tonsilectomy yesterday...), but I thought I'd throw my 2 cents on on the OP.

I got my first "official" job when I was 16. I had kinda worked before that at my friend's dad's communiy theatre that he managed when I was 14 (we did lights for the shows and we ran errands for the musical guests), but we were only paid $20 per night and we were never put on the books. I also babysat sine I was 13ish, but again, I don't really count that as "official" work since I wasn't paying taxes on it.

When I was 16 1/2 I got my job as the office assistant intern for my local town government. I had a hectic schedule, with school all morning, work from 1-4 (I had only half days at school since I had extra credits and didn't need to be ther all day long), then I went to my dance classes from 5-8ish every night monday through friday. Yes, my life was full and busy (and it only got fuller and busier after I graduated high school and got more responsibility at work when I was promoted to senior office assistant and I got another job as a dance teacher for the little kids' classes at my dance studio), but I always managed to balance my time and get everything done. My boss was cool in the fact that he would let me use any extra time at work (after my assigned duties were taken care of) to study for a big test of read a few chapters in my English book, but for the most part I did my school work at home. Despite my very full schedule, I also led my church's youth group (and organised our first mission trip to Mexico) and I managed to keep my GPA around 3.5ish (not honor roll, but not too shabby either).

I LOVED working. I loved giving back to my community, I loved contributing to the country (in the form of taxes, yes, I really did! lol), I loved being a productive member of society. I guess I'm an odd duck in that sense, but I still feel that way when I have a job. I sometimes actually feel guilty staying at home with my kids because I feel I'm not contributig enough (to the household income as well as the community at large).

I am always grateful that I had my job as it taught me to be responsible and to manage my time to get everything done. It also gave me some great work experience, though some potential employers don't look at years of experience, but years of living, but they are always impressed at my work experience! :)

Sarah - posted on 11/18/2010




I started babysitting when I was around 14, so that's how I made a little extra cash every now & then. When I turned 17, my parents pushed me to get a part-time job & I did NOT want to do it. I ended up getting a job anyway & I actually gained a lot of self-confidence & independence. I stayed at that job for 2 years until I moved away to college. I see nothing wrong with teenagers working as long as there is still plenty of time to study or do sports/extra curricular activities, etc.

Bonnie - posted on 11/18/2010




And there are other ways that children and teenagers can learn the value of a dollar. By helping out around the house they can get allowence and it's a lot less than a job outside the home so they can't just spend the money foolishly.

Bonnie - posted on 11/18/2010




I feel as though I am responsible to financially support my kids until they are at least 16 than if they want to get a job they can. If they don't, than 18 years old is the limit. If they want extras in their life than yes they will have to get a job earlier. I didn't start working til I was 18 I believe, but I also didn't have a cell phone until I started working and I didn't get my driver's licence until I was almost 20.

Rosie - posted on 11/18/2010




i think they should, and i will make them actually. i think it's essential that they learn the value of their hard earned money, what to do with it, and feel the pride of knowing that they worked hard to get something.
i had a job during the summer detasseling corn when i was 14 and 15, and when i turned 16 i got a job at a fast food restaurant. i worked there until i graduated. i kept up my grades and felt very proud of myself. i want the same for my children.

[deleted account]

I will allow my son to have a summer job when he is old enough, if he wants one. I do not want him working during the school year.
I worked during my high school years and I found it difficult to keep up with my studies. I managed to graduate with honors, but no special honors, and it was VERY difficult for me. I also missed deadlines on 3 scholarship applications and 1college application during my senior year. I love the idea of letting him learn to manage his own finances and actually working to earn money, but school comes first, then Taekwondo or whatever activities he chooses, then a job if he wants one.

We do give him allowance, he gets $1/day for getting "greens" at school and meeting all of his responsibilities at home. He is managing that pretty well IMO for a 6 year old, and as he gets older, his responsibilities will increase and we will give him more.

I want him to have a traditional childhood, and enjoy it, but I know it is important to teach him about finances. I think a summer job is a perfect compromise for our family.

Hannah - posted on 11/18/2010




I expect my kids to have jobs. I started working at 13 and the summer I turned 16, I worked part-time at my mom's job. She would drive me and I finally saved up enough money to buy my own car at the end of that summer. Through high school I waited tables at Village Inn and was a cheerleader and had good grades. I always wanted the expensive clothes, so my mom would set a budget each year for clothes shopping and anything over and above I had to pay for. Anything throughout the year I wanted, clothing, movies, gas, etc... I paid for as well. I am very thankful that I worked.

Joanna - posted on 11/18/2010




I definitely think they help teach responsibility, and not taking money for granted. I started babysitting at 12, had a Pennysaver route at 13, and started working 4 nights a week at 16. My parents told me if I wanted my own car I had to work (they paid a $500 down payment, the rest including has/insurance was up to me). As a family we didn't have much money, no college funds or anything (which is why I didn't go and my brother is in major debt), so it was expected that if we wanted stuff, we worked. And I'm glad it was that way.

I wont make my girls get a job, but I hope they get one to learn the life lessons I learned from it. But part of me agrees with those who say they should enjoy their childhood while they can.

Amie - posted on 11/18/2010




Ah I should also mention for as long as I can remember I was in school activities and non school ones. As my children are.

I had no trouble juggling it. I played different sports (volleyball, badminton and baseball) as seasons changed. I was involved in drama club and I volunteered at the hospital and nursing home.

I managed to find time to work, keep my social life, keep my grades up and not go nuts.

Most employers are understanding when hiring a part time teenager. I was allowed to change the schedule if I needed to switch with someone else.

Dana - posted on 11/18/2010




Joy, I'm not really sure...thinking about it now as an adult and having a child of my own, I can't imagine it. lol

My parents originally bought the house as an investment and they were sick of crappy neighbors moving in.

I have 3 sisters, so that was 6 ppl in a two bedroom (though they were large bedrooms) house. I think it just made sense that we would move into the other house when they bought it. That and our parents were big on teaching us to be responsible and to rely on just ourselves (being girls and all. ;)

Amie - posted on 11/18/2010




I think it's nuts for kids not to have a part time job!

I had one, my siblings all had/have one and so will my children. They can start when they're 12, like I did, with babysitting. When they are legal age they can get a "real" job if they so choose, babysitting can pay well if you get regular customers though too. I remember being 12-14 and having wads of cash because of babysitting.

It does teach them responsibility, how to budget and real cost of living. We were expected to pay for our own vehicles and we did. We got any extras we wanted (nights out with friends, certain clothing, etc.) on our own dime.

Our parents are here to teach us and guide us into adulthood. This is one of those major tools children need but lately, I see these lessons waning.

One of my sisters friends in particular, his parents believe "he's only a kid once". So they bought him a brand new car when he got his license. *head/desk* They even pay for the registration and gas. Ugh.

Our oldest is 10 years old. She gets an allowance, like they all do, anything over and above that she earns. She is on track to learn the skills she needs as an adult. As will our other children, it's a gradual learning experience (starting out with small amounts of cash young and starting to earn more as they grow) and they will all be well prepared when it is time for them to move out.

[deleted account]

Wow Dana! I don't think I ever knew that about you :) What was your parents' logic behind the seperate house? I'm just curious.

Dana - posted on 11/18/2010




I actually had my first part time job at 12, I was just about to turn 13 though. I think it's good to have a job when you're a teenager, it teaches you how to handle money and responsibility. My parents also bought a house next door to our home, my two sister's and I moved into it and paid for everything ourselves- and I mean everything from all bills, toiletries, to our own clothes. My oldest sister was 16, 15 and I was 13.
I'm not suggesting that it was a great idea or that all parents should do that but, it did teach us how to take care of ourselves and how to be responsible.

Jackie - posted on 11/18/2010




I started working summers @ Busch Gardens in Williamsburg when I was 15. I'll never forget my first pay check was $85.00 and I was soo proud that I had my own money and that I worked my ASS off for it. I've been working ever since.

I think it's important to teach kids that money doesn't grow on trees and that if you extras, you should earn it. Whether it be working or doing extras around the house. It's also good to build the other social skills.

I have a pretty strong work ethic and I hope that I can instill that into my kids.

Jessica - posted on 11/18/2010




My dad always pushed the importance of responsibility and working, and I have had a part time job since I was 15. weekends, and during the summer. On one hand, it was stressful, being overwhelmed bu school work and trying to balance a part time job on top of it. I also remember being absolutely exhausted all the time- had to get up so early for high school, and then went immediately to a job as soon as I got home; I was also on anti depressants for a while and they made me super tired.

On the other hand though I really do appreciate that I had the experience of working when I did. Even though they were random crappy little jobs like being a hostess, or a dishwasher at restaurants, it helped to give me experience both in dealing with the public in a professional setting and with employers, applying for jobs, interviews etc. It helped give me confidence by the time I went to college and found myself in more professional settings often. Not to mention, it was satisfactory making my own money, however little it was.

I think its appropriate and beneficial for teenagers to work part time, and I will try to encourage my kids to do the same. At the same time though I will try to realize that they often do have a lot to balance at that age and school, extracurricular activities, etc need to come first. I am proud that I always took my jobs seriously, but at the same time looking back I wish I would have relaxed a little bit and called off sometimes ;)

[deleted account]

I'm of the same way of thinking as Ebony. I have no problem providing our son with the things he needs and some of his wants too. But once he is older, 15+ I think a job is a good idea if he wants things that go beyond what we're willing or able to afford. For example, I'll buy him a cell phone and put him on a family plan but if he wants the newest, nicest phone there is then he's gonna have to save up for it. I think the only thing that would change that way of thinking for me is if he ends up being so involved in other activities that a job would be too much for him to take on and still maintain his grades.

A part time job for a teenager is a perfect way to teach responsibility and respect for money and belongings. I think when a teen works and buys something they want, they're probably a little more likely to treat it well because they appreciate the work that went behind it.

Sarah - posted on 11/18/2010




I started working part time when I was 15.
I think it's a good thing really, a bit of independence and a bit of responsibility too.
I think that you obviously support them with things they NEED, and some treats, but if they want to go out and buy new CD's and clothes every week, then they have to find a way to do that themselves.
So I guess it's down to how much money the kid wants to have! I wanted more than my Mum could provide, so I worked. It also made me feel more like a grown up! hahaha :)

Jenn - posted on 11/18/2010




I don't think you should or shouldn't. I think it should be up to the child to decide how much they can handle - some kids can't have a job on top of their heavy school work load or if they're involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities. I always had one, as did my sister, but a lot of my friends didn't.

Stifler's - posted on 11/18/2010




They should definitely learn the value of money, not be given their mobile phones, new clothes etc. for nothing. I had to pick zucchinis for my dad for money to go places and stuff and I never owned a mobile until I got a real job when I left school and started studying (I lived 20km out of town). My parents did give me my first car (I paid for fuel and rego & insurance after that and it was a crap car but it was a car) but until then I had to pay for fuel money when mum drove me to work and back and $50 a week board to get me used to that thing called real life where the land lord doesn't care about your situation - he wants your rent money.

LaCi - posted on 11/18/2010




I think people will evolve and mature based on the responsibilities they have. If you never give them responsibilities they aren't going to be responsible.

I've worked since I was 14. I want my son to work, as soon as he is able, and I want him to buy some of his own things. I also want him to save some money, just so he learns to be a bit more responsible with it.

I don't want him to be too responsible though. I don't want him to have to work full time when he's in college, because it sucks. A little part time job, sure, and I will help him through it financially. I won't carry the entire burden alone though, he has to do something. He has to keep his grades up and work a smidge. That's his job.

Jodi - posted on 11/18/2010




Sal, are you in Australia? 14 years and 9 months is law.....unless it is a family business.

Sal - posted on 11/18/2010




my teenage son can't wait to get job (here most places want you to be 14 and 9 months or there abouts).....and i hope he gets one too, it will be great for his confidence, and as a learning tool too, the things kids want now are soooooo expensive, iphones, xbox, electric guitars, bikes scooters and skate boards, he will see just how it is to work for what you want and that we aren't just mean slack parents (as he thinks at the moment) but money has a value he doen't really understand yet...

Ez - posted on 11/18/2010




I have worked since I was 15. It was only a few hours a week (8-10) but it was enough for me to buy my CDs and go to the movies with my friends. I still succeeded at school and played high-level sport. It didn't stop me enjoying my childhood, or put an undue amount of stress on me.

I am in favour of teenagers working. Not only does it leave them with less time to get into trouble, but it encourages a value of money. And if an employer has the choice between a 19yo who has worked for a couple of years, or one who is fresh out of the womb and never worked a day in their life, you better believe they will pick the kid who has the employment history.

Becky - posted on 11/17/2010




Both. I feel it is my responsibility to financially support my child until they turn 18, at least. By that I mean, ensure they have food, clothing, shelter, education, social and recreational opportunities, etc. It doesn't mean giving them everything they want. For example, I will buy their clothes, but there will be limits on what I'll spend. If they want something over and above that, they can ask for it for their birthday and see if they get lucky, or they can save up the money and buy it themselves. I'll buy them bikes, sleds, etc. If they want extras for them, they can save up the money for them.
I definitely think that kids should learn responsibility and good money management before they graduate from highschool. And I think that starts even before they hit their teens, with doing chores around the home and getting an allowance.
I'm not against my kids having part time jobs as teens, but school comes first. If they can juggle it all, great. If they're not turning in assignments, falling asleep in class, getting poor grades for their ability - or, if I notice they've lost their social life and interests because all they do is school and work - then the job goes. Whether they work or not, my kids won't go without.

Meghan - posted on 11/17/2010




J will be working as soon as he legally can if he wants to have his own spending money. I want him to enjoy his childhood..which he is. At 16 a kid needs to learn to juggle responsibilities and get a bit of a taste about what its like to be in the real world.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 11/17/2010




When my son is at an age where he is able to work then he should…if….he wants more then what im willing to give or can give, weather is clothes, electronics, a car… whatsoever…if he can work and get that extra , like his car being “Pimped” out…then he should work or be happy with what he has.

I feel that as a parent its our duty that we protect and provide to the best of our abilities and yes even spoil…but, if what I do is not good enough and he is in the position to change that in a non-threatening/positive way…then im all for it.

Charlie - posted on 11/17/2010




I started work as soon as i turned 16 , i would finish school then go straight to work until midnight so i could buy the things i wanted and chip in around the house , i loved working , i got to know everyone in town and made a lot of new friends which opened up a lot of doors for me , i gained excellent people skills and it also gave me a great work ethic , i would like my boys to get a job as a teen , part time to learn financial responsibility and freedom , prepare them for the real world of course i wouldnt want it to take over their lives but i do think its pretty important .

[deleted account]

I didn't have a job, other than the occasional baby-sitting, until I started college. I didn't have time for one between school activities and church activities. But I didn't automatically get everything I wanted either. Extra stuff, like movies, was paid for with my baby-sitting money, or birthday/Christmas money.

I asked my dad recently why they never made me get a job. He said he wanted me to enjoy childhood as long as possible. His dad owned a service station and he worked there pretty much full time through high school.

I think I'll be in between the two extremes. No telling what I'll do, but I'm thinking a part-time summer job would be enough. She'll be able to earn some money and learn how to manage it, and still have time to be a kid. I'm unsure about a job during the school year. I feel school and school activities are so important and worry a job may take away from that. But we'll see.

In short, teens SHOULD have responsibilities, whether paid or not, whether a "real" job or not. And teens SHOULD learn proper money management and work ethic, whether through a job or maintaining good grades.

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