Should teenagers have to work?

Teenage years are such an awkward time. It’s a time of youthful play yet maturation into adulthood. It’s a time where learning is tedious & decision making can be rather stressful. Emotions are felt in high gear from every end of the spectrum, often without rationale due to the hormonal changes in the body. Teenage years are tough, but they are also years filled with growth and fun.

One of the most important things (outside of knowing Christ) a teenager can choose to do, in my opinion, is to get a job. I think that when you work your way through school and start paying your own bills, you learn what responsibility is. When a parent gives their child everything they want without the child ever having to work for anything, I truly think that it hinders the child (even when the parent has the best of intentions). Children who work for that new shirt they want, their monthly phone bill, the gas money, and the event money typically turn out more responsible in adulthood. Working teens turn out to be independent adults who are financially wise.
Teaching children to budget, to tithe, and to buy their own things is not neglecting parental duties, rather it is fulfilling parental duties of raising a child into an adult. For your child is an arrow in your quiver waiting to be shot out into the world. In order to go far, your child needs to be prepared. One of those ways to be prepared is to be responsible with money and to learn how to pay your own way through life.

Parents, it does not make you a bad parent to say no to that weekly monetary request. It does not make you a bad parent to make your kid get a job. Take your child out to put in applications. Make it a fun thing to do together. Ease them into independence; teach them. It does not make you a bad parent to make your child pay for their own gas, car maintenance, or insurance. Find what works for you and your child and implement it. Teens need this responsibility. They need to understand that money does not grow on trees. They need to understand that the materialistic culture of this world is not “okay.”

Teens, respect your parents and their instruction. Understand that money is not easy. Washing dishes may have earned you a dollar growing up, but there comes a time when you need to understand that household chores are a family responsibility not a job in which you earn money from. It is not your parent or guardians job to clean the entire house. Do they get paid to do chores? I encourage you to get a job. Be persistent in your pursuit of seeking a work place. Ask for wisdom and help in your seeking of employment. Get that job and then take over your insurance bill or your phone bill. Tithe. Give what is rightfully God’s back to Him. Watch it bless you ten-fold and help you to grow in your faith. Learn to budget. Sit down and budget what is to be tithed, what is for bills, what is for your savings account, and what is left over. Do that with every ounce of your income and see the growth in your maturity, your independence, and the respect you earn from doing so. Not only will you realize that the material things of this world are not as important as you once believed them to be but you will gain a respect that is far greater.
Personally, I think that working my way through school was the best thing. I learned to make my own way, pay my own bills, and had a sense of independence that I would not trade for anything. When you start paying for your own things, you realize how much has been sacrificed for you. Store brands work just as fine as name brands. Eating out is a lot more expensive than eating in. Shopping the clearance racks works out a lot better than shopping the regular one’s.
I often hear young people say that they do not want to work at fast food, grocery stores, etc. They have a very select few options they are willing to work at. But here is the deal, when you are young you start out with what you get. You can’t always choose to work at a high end place. Employers want to first see that you will be a reliable employee. Work at the fast food place, gain that experience, prove that you are reliable. If you still want another job, then continue working there until another employer hires you elsewhere.
My husband worked at McDonald’s for five to six years. It was not his favorite place to be, rather some days he dreaded going in. Some days, he would call me on his lunch and tell me how he wanted to quit so badly. The employers are not always fair, but what in this world is “fair”? Your co-workers will tick you off, but that will most likely happen in the adult world as well. My husband never gave up, no matter how much he wanted to give up flipping patties, he knew that to provide for our family until he was finished with undergrad he had to keep working that job.
For me, I worked at McDonald’s for two months. I hated it. Every single day that I went in. I was never trained. The workplace was filthy. The location I was at should have been shut down. But until I got my job at Food Lion, I did not give my notice. Because I had bills, I was learning to make a way on my own. (I was encouraged by my mom to do this, so not tooting my own horn here at all. I was taught these principles.) I stayed at Food Lion for five years. I enjoyed that job for the most part. I transferred to another location when I went to college. Just like Nathan, many days I wanted to quit. Employers are not always fair. Words thrown at you will often make you cry, but eventually you’ll toughen up. Co-workers can make you want to scream. But on the other hand, you will often find the sweetest friends in your workplace. There are people I met at Food Lion who I hope to always stay connected with.
Guys, it is all about work ethic. Your work ethic needs to be strong. Life is not about the material things of this world. It isn’t about the designer hand bag, the name brands, or the best looks. It’s about who you are on the inside.
Teens, do your parents a favor and initiate job searching yourself. Let your parents know that you appreciate what they do for you. Work hard to make your own way.
Parents, encourage your teens to get out there and make their own way. Encourage them to find jobs. Help them find jobs. Teach them how to write resume’s or help them find someone who knows how. Teach them how to budget. Teach them the importance of tithing. Teach them the importance of growing up and becoming independent. There are too many adults still relying on their parents income in today’s day and age. There comes a point and time, where one must grow up.
Friends, teens, & parents, in such a critical stage of life, I encourage you to work. Find a job. Encourage your child to find a job. If it is fast food, retail, or whatever it may be, & see the growth that comes from working as a teen and young adult. What are your stories? What are your opinions on the subject?

2 thoughts on “Should teenagers have to work?

  1. One thing I have noticed, the difference between my youth and those of many today, is the over-emphasis on “feelings”. Feelings are important. But how we deal with the issues of life is equally important. Some parents get their children in sports, and there the kids and teens learn to focus on the work, learning, and their team mates, cooperatively working together against competition. Having chores teaches kids to forego “free time”, learn responsibility, which the job direction can instruct as well. It teaches the youth to be less preoccupied with what they want but to more think of others, but they also learn that with responsibility, they in fact increase their opportunities and find freedom. *I remember one of my teachers explaining to a classmate that if he/she spent less time worrying and focused on the positives, worked hard, and invested more time in moving forward and not the past, he/she would be happier. Only once had I heard a teacher talk this way. The student seemed much happier over the next few years.

    Liked by 1 person

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