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    Teens and the Part-time Job: The Pros and Cons of Letting Your High School Student Work

    By Sara Richmond Walls     

    It seems like a great idea: your high school student spending a few hours a night at the local grocery store making a few extra bucks. In many ways, it is a win-win situation. They can use the money to help you pay for their college, or to pay for their own gas. Your student, in return, receives the knowledge of responsibility and what it means to earn a dollar. Still, there are pros and cons to letting your high school student spending their time in a part-time job.

    The Pros

    As mentioned above, there are several pros to letting your student tackle a part-time job. The first and the most obvious is the slight amount of stress taken off of your wallet. Perhaps you donít have to pay for their gas anymore, or their i-Tunes downloads. Even if they arenít making enough to pay their way through college, they are helping take some of the financial burden off of you, specifically for perks like dinner and a movie out with friends.

    In addition to the added income, there is no doubt that most individuals do not truly appreciate a hard-earned dollar until theyíve earned it themselves. With your student working a part-time job, you can teach him or her the importance of saving, balancing a checkbook, and setting financial goals. They will have a sense of accomplishment with each paycheck, and chances are, they wonít spend their own money the way theyíve been spending yours!

    The Cons

    Even though the pros of encouraging your student to work are numerable, there are equally as many cons. The greatest disadvantage to letting your son or daughter out into the work force during their high school years is the overwhelming amount of stress this can cause. Letís say your student leaves for school at 7:00 and doesnít get home until 3:30. That is eight and a half hours away from home doing work that would even make your head hurt! (Hey if you donít believe me, pick up one of your teens algebra books and see if you remember anything about it.) In a sense, this is a work day for them. Include homework time and the extracurricular activities that colleges love to look at, and you have a 10-11 hour day. Working on top of that may be too much.

    The second thing you want to consider is what your son or daughter is doing with the money they earn. Are you teaching them the right things by letting them work? Are they saving for college? Fueling up their car? Or are they spending it on frivolous things like CDs and miscellaneous junk that they will end up yard selling ten years down the road? Are you teaching your student the importance of hard work, or are you teaching them that more is better? These are questions that are going to vary with your family and your student.

    How to Decide?

    So how do you decide whether or not it is right for you to let your child work?

    ∑ First and foremost, does your student want to work? That should be the first thing you consider.

    ∑ Second, determine your teens current stress level. Stress can lead to mountains of problems, from weight gain to self esteem issues. If they have high academic goals and are shooting for scholarships, chances are great those scholarships will be more meaningful and profitable to them and to your wallet. Let them devote their time to that which they feel the most strongly, and remember that they need downtime just as you do.

    ∑ Third, determine the need. Some families donít have the option. Everyone simply has to work. And that is okay. But if your family does not need the student to work, should his or her time be spent in other areas such as school, volunteering, extracurricular activities, etc?

    ∑ Fourth, make sure the particular job is lucrative for them emotionally and financially. This may seem silly, but you donít want to teach your teen to settle. Pay is a part of this, but so are the cleanliness of the job, the respectability of the management, the job environment, etc.

    In conclusion, take a moment to remember your teenage years. Chances are great they were filled with joy and happiness, but are also spiced up with doses of anxiety. Remember your own teenage years when helping your son and daughter through their decision to take on a part-time job.

    Written by Sara Richmond WallsRate this article:

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