Summer Jobs for Teenagers – Should they Work?

Encouraging your teenager to get a summer job often leads to building a sense of responsibility, the value of the working dollar, and of course, the consequences of being unemployed or underemployed. What you want your teenager to get out of the experience may determine which type of summer employment you encourage them to apply for.

Some families feel that it is important for their teenager to experience hard work, typically minimum wage employment, in order to gain perspective of what it is like to get up and go to work even when the job isn’t something that they find enjoyable. Many new age psychologists feel this isn’t the best way to introduce your teen to the working world unless there is a specific reason for it such as your teenager has a bad attitude about people in minimum wage positions or tend to be rude to cashiers, gas pump attendants, and general service people.

Some people feel that it is best to start your teenager off in the working world by offering them the opportunity to work in a field they are likely to enjoy or to even start their own business. Lawn businesses tend to do very well in the summertime, although they are likely to have few clients without a means of bringing their own equipment.

For an ambitious teenager, there are ample really cool jobs out there for their talents and enthusiasm. Unless you live near one of these fabulous jobs, there is the likelihood that you will need to allow them to spend their summer vacation away from home. These jobs include everything from internships at zoological parks to an MTV correspondent to a fun kids’ host on a cruise ship. Some of these jobs are open to various applicants with desire while others require a certain amount of experience, but through online access, these jobs are a lot easier for kids to land than they were when the later half of generation X was growing up. There are websites dedicated to helping kids find these summer jobs, way too many to list, but I was particularly interested in the get that gig website. Be forewarned before allowing your teenager to get their heart set on a particular job, as some only pay in experience and may end up costing you money rather than being relieved of spending money. Sometimes experience is more valuable than a paycheck, sometimes the paycheck is more valuable. It all depends on your child, your circumstances, and what you are looking for them to gain from their working experience.

Kids with a lot experience in a particular sport can often offer their services as an assistant coach. They will have to be willing to work with very young children and often need to be able to prove their knowledge of basic skills, but if they have it in them, a lot of teenagers find coaching a very good experience. Depending on the sport, it can also mean a pretty good paycheck without too many hours.

With the completion of a Red Cross Certification course many teens 16 and older can grab a cool job as a lifeguard either at the local pool or along several of the beaches down the eastern seaboard. This is only a job for responsible teenagers who understand that they are there to do more than just work on their tan. Parents have to be able to look at their teenager critically before encouraging them to apply for a position as a lifeguard. Most life guarding positions require some form of swimming test before being permitted to apply.

Talk to your teenager and find out what motivates them, money or prestige. Try to help them find experiences which will help provide a well rounded experience for them, where they can learn the value of earning money and the responsibility factors that come with earning a paycheck, while at the same time opening up their world to something new and challenging them to grow. Don’t encourage them to work at the local grocery store just because that’s where all their friends work. It’s tempting as a teenager to allow friends to influence their decisions quite that radically. It is more important that they value the experience of working than it is to hang out with their friends. The majority of teenagers are not yet mature enough to effectively work with their friends and still perform admirably at their job.

So much happens between the ages of 14 and 20, and your teenager will change so much on so many levels during these ages that it is hard to keep up with what their likes and dislikes are. They may very well start out at a summer job loving it and by the time late August rolls around the only thing they can think about is leaving their job and returning to school. It happens. Allowing your teenager to try out various jobs from summer to summer is not a bad idea. Allowing them to go through multiple summer jobs in one single summer may prove to be detrimental when they reach adulthood and no longer have the option to simply quit a job because they lost interest.

Working through the summer months can prove to be an invaluable experience to your teenager. Knowing their strengths and how to help them build up their weaknesses is the best way to know which jobs to encourage them to apply for. Too much pressure to come home with the exact right job can lead to resistance, but being supportive and encouraging and allowing them to know how proud you are when they land a job, any job, is a good way to instill good work ethics and kids who are capable of turning into adults who can take care of their own needs.



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