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Should My Teen Have a Job?

According to a recent press release by the US Bureau of Labor about 20 million youth had jobs in the summer of 2014. But what happens when school starts? Is it a good idea for a teen to work during the school year or will it only lead to exhaustion and meltdowns?

In this episode of Parental Guidance, we’ll answer that question and help you decide if a job is the right choice for your child.

“What’s appropriate, wise and helpful for one kid, may not be for another.

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You as a parent will have to carefully examine your son or daughter’s commitments and priorities but I believe it’s a good idea for youth to work during the summer and during the school year. Here are the three reasons why:

1. They’ll learn to associate money with work and effort. Your teenager(s) will soon be independent and they will be in a position where they’ll need to understand this simple truth: if they don’t work to get money, there will be no money.

I highly recommend teens learn this while they’re still at home. It’s much easier to help them navigate the lessons, work out the kinks and learn from their mistakes while they are still under your roof. Every child, no matter how terrific, will have learning lessons when it comes to money, it’s most helpful if they can learn those lessons with your help.

2. Work is a chance to learn and figure out what they are good at. How many hours and what they do is up to you and your family. What matters most is that your kid gets a chance to figure out what they’re good at and what they’re not good at, and earn a little money in the process.

Having a job is about learning, far more than it is about earning. They’ll have to show up on time, possibly wear a uniform, and be accountable to a boss.

3. Work is a low-risk opportunity to learn how to manage money. In high school in particular the risks are low because if you can teach your kid how to manage $500 a month, those same disciplines apply when you are trying to manage $5k a month.

They’ll also learn about patience, delayed gratification, and taxes, all things that don’t change regardless of the dollar amount. It’s never about the amount of money, it’s about the habits you are helping your child to create for their future.


BOOK: “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen

SUBMIT A QUESTION: Ask Josh Your Question


  • Should your teen have a job while in school?
  • Should they work a little or only during the summer or not at all?
  • Have you allowed your child to work during the school term only to have it backfire, or did it work out well?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below…

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