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    A Job Can Help Your Teen Learn Responsibility

    By Darlene Zagata     

    Does your teen spend all of his or her free time playing video games, talking on the phone or hanging out with friends that don’t really meet with your approval? Is your son or daughter always nagging you for money? Perhaps it’s time to tell your teen to get a job. You might counter such as suggestion with logic such as, “But he’s still in school and if he gets a job his schoolwork might suffer.” There’s no argument there but ask yourself if his schoolwork is suffering now. How much time does he currently spend doing his homework or studying? How much time does he spend watching television, playing games, talking on the phone or just hanging out with friends?

    Does he have a cell phone or want one? Does he have a car or want one? Are you going to buy it? Are you going to pay the monthly phone bill or car insurance? If you are, that’s your choice but it might not be the best way to teach your teen responsibility. Helping kids out on the path to maturity is teaching them to be independent; buying them whatever they want and paying the bills for them is the first step in creating a dependent adult. This process if often referred to as enabling. You might ask, “Enabling them to do what?” The answer is enabling them to depend on others throughout their lives rather than themselves. Teaching them to be self-sufficient is the best alternative.

    Parents may argue that it is their responsibility to support their children and it is true that as parents we are obligated to provide for the needs of our children until they reach legal age but part of responsible parenting is preparing our children to be responsible and self-sufficient as they move into adulthood. When teens get their own jobs it gives them a sense of accomplishment. It also helps keep them out of trouble since they have less time to be tempted by peer pressure. They are making their own money, which allows them to make purchases such as cell phones and pay the bill on their own rather than depending on their parents. Allowing them to pay their own bills also gives them a sneak peek into the world of adulthood.

    All too often, teens view adulthood from the perspective of being old enough to drive, have sex and drink but they overlook such aspects of adulthood as working, paying bills, saving money, budgeting and managing expenses responsibly. When your teen gets a job you should encourage him or her to open a bank account with the first paycheck. It may be best to suggest a savings account at first since balancing a checkbook may lead to problems for those who are not conservative spenders. Encourage your teen to spend money wisely. Believe it or not, it really does make a difference to them when they’re spending their own money rather than yours.

    Written by Darlene ZagataRate this article:

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