There are many pros and cons to teens working. If your kid wants to join the workforce, you should definitely be aware of the challenges that may arise. That being said, the benefits can far outweigh the costs. Teens earn more than just a paycheck from part-time work. When it comes to discussing work with your child, think about all the benefits they could be reaping.
Landing that first job can give your teenager a huge boost of confidence, but part-time work can also build confidence over time. Providing valuable service helps kids feel capable and skilled. It teaches them that they can contribute to society in a tangible way.
Teens who work are given many new responsibilities. Simply maintaining a work schedule makes teens more responsible for their own time. On top of that, many jobs available to young people require handling funds, supplies, or goods. They may even be given the responsibility of opening or closing a store on their own. When given more responsibilities, most kids will step up to the task.
Kids learn to cooperate early in their development, but collaboration is a more elusive social skill. Being able to contribute to a group effort with the group’s benefit in mind is challenging. Work can be a low risk environment to learn collaborative skills first hand. In order to be successful in a job, your child must learn to balance their own needs and ideas with those of the company. They also develop the confidence to speak up and share their ideas! A part-time job is a valuable environment for these lessons.
Work/Life balance is a challenge for most adults. We struggle to establish boundaries and set priorities. Balance isn’t a magical destination that you reach after years of working, it’s a skill that you must learn and practice. Teens who work get early lessons in balance. It’s important to remember that school is already a full-time commitment for most kids. Add the extra time and effort of homework, extracurricular activities, and a social life; it seems impossible that a teenager would have time in their schedule to work. A job helps teens develop their ability to balance commitments. They learn how to say no to overtaxing requests, and how to plan ahead for busy times.
As they work on balancing school, work, and life, teens will start to develop their own priorities. Those difficult conflicts between commitments and desires teach teens to reflect and consider before making choices. Important decision-making skills are developed by making these choices, like picking up an extra shift rather than studying for a test. Or vice versa.
6. Financial Education
With a job comes money! With money comes bank accounts, college savings, expenses, and so much more. The financial world is not an easy one to navigate. A part-time job allows kids to learn about money. As soon as your teen gets paid, take them to the bank to start their financial master class. Encourage them to set big spending goals for things they want, and help them save money.
There are many ways that a part-time job can help your child with college. The most obvious way is saving money. College is expensive. Having a part-time job in high school may not earn your kid enough to pay for four years of school, but it will help contribute. Incentivize saving by matching what’s in their college account.
Work isn’t just a source of money, it’s also a resource for college application time. Working helps to round out your child’s application, and may even lead to recommendations or scholarship opportunities. Some companies even pay tuition for workers who are in school!
8. Professional Connections
Networking is a valuable part of developing a career path. As a teenager, professional networking can open doors. Professional relationships formed in early work experiences can be called upon decades later. Teens may call on their former employers and colleagues for recommendation letters, job leads, or business tips. The earlier that young people can create these connections, the more benefits they will see at the beginning of their careers.
9. Explore Careers
When your kids are little, they know what they want to be when they grow up. Firefighter, vet, dancer; the scope of professions is pretty narrow. As they get older, they will need to draw on more than that narrow list to find a good fit. The best way to know if a career field is right for them is to spend some time working in that field. The job market for teenagers is much broader than it used to be, thanks to technology and new markets. Kids as young as 15 years old can explore nearly any career that interests them. Even in part-time positions, teens gain valuable experience in a variety of fields.
10.Transition to Adulthood
Perhaps the most valuable benefit of working is the smooth transition from adolescence to adulthood. Working teens are treated more like adults, have more responsibilities, and considerably more freedoms then their peers. Part time work can act as a simulation of the real world, giving teens life experiences while still in the safe environment of your home. These experiences help transition teens from high school to college, and on to adult life. The culture shock of being out on their own is lessened, and they are more confident and capable.
Working teens face unique challenges, but also gain unique benefits for their efforts. The key is to support their journey and help them gain the most from their experiences. Talk to your teenager about work. Help them look for the right positions that will support their goals. Let them reflect on work experiences to develop social and professional skills. Working will help your kids grow into capable adults.
Ron Stefanski is the founder of JobsForTeensHQ.com and has a passion for helping teenagers find jobs. He created the website because he feels that teenagers need to focus on their professional passions much earlier in life and aims to teach them how they can do that. When he’s not working on his website, Ron is a college professor and loves to travel the world.
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