Having a part-time job can be great for a teen, but it's important to ensure they have enough time in their schedule. Think about the demands your child has with school and extracurricular activities to decide if they have enough time to devote to a job. Be sure they also have time to devote to a social life. Working less than 20 hours per week is recommended; a Washington State Department of Labor & Industries study found that teens who worked more than 20 hours per week were more likely to experience a drop in grades and demonstrate negative social behaviours. If you're unsure how many hours of working your teen will be able to tolerate, have them start with just a few hours, and increase the number of hours when you're satisfied they're keeping up with their school work and social life. Or have them take a summer job so school won't be a factor.
Having a job can help your teen become more independent and self-confident, but they need to possess a few qualities. Your teen must be able to be committed to the job, and a good way to judge this is to look at their commitment to extracurricular activities. Your teenager should be able to follow instructions without direct supervision. Can you trust your teen to do what they are asked? Look at the logistics associated with having a job too, and talk to your child about how they will get to their job and home again. Decide if you want to let them work on school nights. And discuss with your teen what they will do with the money they earn. If they don't already have a bank account, this might be a good time to set one up.
We all know how short-fused teens can be, but they need to control their emotions when at work. Think about how your teenager reacts when something goes wrong, and evaluate their problem-solving skills. If your teenager isn't able to problem-solve on their own, they might not be ready for a job yet. Another good way to evaluate your teen's readiness is by looking at their relationships with other adults. If your teenager shows respect for teachers at school but sometimes gets frustrated with you, then they might be able to control their emotions with other adults at work.
Talk to your teen about why they want a job. If they're just looking to earn some money, you could encourage them to do more casual jobs, such as babysitting. If your teen is looking for a job that will help prepare them for a career, help them look for an entry-level job in the field they're interested in. Encourage your teen to visit their school career office for job postings for teens, or use a job-search site for teens, such as Government of Canada's Services for Youth. Visit the location where your child will be working so you can be sure it is teen-friendly and safe for your child.
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