The Gerber Life Parenting Blog

Is Your Teen Ready for His or Her First Job?

April 3, 2015

Teen working at movie theaterBy working outside of the home, high school students can develop real-world experience, independence, time management skills and responsibility, as well as earn money. Is your teen ready for a job? Following are some surefire signs:

  • Balances school and friends: Is your teen effectively balancing schoolwork, social life, home life and extracurricular activities? If so, then a job might be worth considering, but if he or she is struggling with the daily essentials, then it may not be the right time, notes Dr. Jennifer Powell-Lunder, a New York clinical psychologist who specializes in children, adolescents and their families.
  • Interest: One of the first considerations is whether your teen wants to get a job. If working is your teen’s idea, then take note and find out why. Does he or she want or need money to save toward a goal? Is he or she seeking to learn something new or pursue a passion? Understanding your teen’s motivation can really help you to determine how prepared your child will be to take the plunge.
  • Logistics of transportation: Wanting to work and being able to handle the time commitment are great, but how will a job actually impact your teen’s day-to-day life? Where will he or she work and how will he or she get there? For younger teens who don’t have a driver’s license, or in cases where your teen will need assistance getting to the job, you may need to think through the costs and benefits to determine if the timing is really right.
  • Maturity and trustworthiness: Getting a job, and doing and keeping a job, requires maturity, reliability, trustworthiness and various skills. Does your teen have the necessary traits and skills? Once employed, your teen needs to be capable of understanding the impact that his or her contribution will have on the employer, the customers, and other people involved. You can guide your teen on these matters, but a certain level of developmental growth is required for him or her to fully comprehend them.

If your teen displays the interest and personality traits necessary to succeed in a work environment, then he or she is probably ready for a job. If something doesn’t seem quite right yet, then you and your child could collaborate on setting goals or milestones to help him or her prepare. For example, you could guide your child on methods for balancing school work and other commitments, explore how to assist your child with transportation, or give your child household tasks to help increase maturity and trustworthiness.

With some time and practice, your teen surely will be ready for that first job.

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