The Pros and Cons of Juvenile Employment
Juvenile employment can aid families in meeting monthly bills, give kids great real world experience, and allow them to learn responsibility. However, afternoon jobs can also lead to strains on school and family life that parents and kids alike might not anticipate, so before deciding whether to allow a juvenile to begin working, a parent should consider a few things.
Although many teens and tweens do manage to handle afternoon jobs well, teens have various levels of relative responsibility. A teen who is having trouble in school for example, because they have difficulty dealing with academic rigors of school life, may try to talk a parent into letting him or her have a job, believing that this will allow them to escape school responsibility. The job, however, may then become an excuse for not doing schoolwork. It may also lead the teen to believe that they do not actually need school since they can earn money with the job. Both can have harmful effects on the teen’s future ability to successfully achieve his or her greater life goals.
The nature of the teen’s job may also take into consideration whether or not your family needs your teen to work in order to help pay for family expenses. In these days of high unemployment and stagnant salaries, more and more families are finding it necessary to have multiple incomes in order to sustain their lifestyles. There is certainly no shame in asking a teen who is able to work to help pay for his or her own expenses; the idea that young people should be spared working is a relatively modern one. A look at history reveals that families have always asked young people to help sustain families through labor either in the family business or outside work.
However, if there is no pressing need for a teen to contribute family expenses, then the choice of the teen’s job can involve benefits other than salary. Ideally, a job will not only be a money earner but will allow a teen to gain familiarity in a field that he or she may one day hope to pursue. Thus, a teen considering being a veterinarian might be better served from a low paid internship at a zoo than he or she would be from a better-paid job as a cashier at a restaurant.
Another consideration when it comes to young people has to do with the context in which the teen will be working. Some jobs may place teens in situations they may not be prepared to handle. If the teen wants to work as bus boy at a restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages or where the waitresses dress in provocative outfits, you may want to consider what influences your teen may get from such exposure. Even in a part time job, your teen may find him or herself exposed to adult influences that they may or may not be ready for. You should consider these influences carefully from the beginning.
A very important consideration also has to do with time and timing. Although a summer job will probably have little to compete with, juvenile employment during the school year will require careful scheduling and will force the young person in question to choose between different options. A teen may not be able to take part in sports, for example, because the practice time may conflict with the work times. For this reason, parents and teens should carefully consider what the opportunity cost is when it comes to juvenile employment. Will the benefit of the job outweigh what is lost in order to maintain it?