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Should Your Teen Have an After-School Job?

October 22, 2014

By Nely Bergsma

Should Your Teen Have an After-School Job? | A teen wearing a uniform smiles behind the counter at work.

When your teenager reaches the legal working age, he or she may be eager to get a job. The decision to start working is mostly likely economically driven. Teenagers tend to love money and they love to spend money even more. As a parent, perhaps you would welcome the additional income to the household. But should your teen have an after-school job? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Are you and your teen ready for the extra responsibility?

There are many advantages to a teen working an after-school job, beyond earning a few extra dollars for either him or herself or for the household. Working during the school year would allow your teen to learn to balance responsibility, socialize with others in and/or outside of the community, and learn a new skill or task while building his or her college résumé. It is also an opportunity to learn financial responsibility and the value of saving. All of these advantages can serve to empower your teen, helping him or her grow and demonstrate what “real life” will look like one day.

While working during the school year could be advantageous for your teen, there are a few considerations to ensure he or she makes the correct decision and succeeds in this endeavor.

  • Is your teen aware of the employer’s expectations for the job itself, dress code, and code of conduct? 
  • Will the amount of time at the job take away from the expectation of school deadlines, studying, and projects? 
  • Will his or her grades suffer? 
  • Will his or her home life and household responsibilities suffer? 
  • Will your teen need to give up extracurricular activities in order to meet the expectations of a job? 
  • Is your child physically ready for the additional responsibilities of an extended day? 

As you have from the beginning of your child’s life, you can continue to support him or her with this choice. Helping your teen weigh the pros and cons of his or her decision before accepting a job will ensure that he or she feels successful, empowered, and supported.

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