working teens

My teenaged son has a job. He works just about every moment he's not going to school or doing homework. I'm not sure where the balancing line is in this whole area of kids working. What do you think?

When it comes to teenagers having jobs, there’s a few questions we need to ask first, like: Why do they need to be working? What is he/she going to be doing? How does this effect other relationships and priorities?

A teenager already has a job, it’s called school. Their job is to show up to school on time, prepared for the day, and turn in a complete day of work. They also have to make sure they get their homework done properly. Their report card is one of several job reviews they have during the year. This should be their primary area of activity. And for most kids to do this well, it takes most of their time. Any job they might have after school or on weekends shouldn’t undermine their primary job of being a student.

Lot’s of kids work to finance their cars. This has been statistically proven to be very detrimental to them. You may be surprised to know that teenagers with jobs have a higher sexual activity than teenagers without jobs. Often they have these jobs to finance a car (which affords them freedom they are often not ready for, and has always been used as a substitute for a cheap hotel room when they are dating). Jobs have not been proven to make better kids. So before I’d have my kid working at a regular job I’d ask why they are working? The reasons may not add up.

A second consideration is what they are going to do. We have to make sure the environment they are working in is not exposing them to more complex situations than they are ready for. Most jobs are harmless, but some are threatening to their moral and spiritual life. We need to be honest with ourselves about this.

Lastly, does their job take them out of the family circle so much that it’s hard for you to maintain a healthy level of connectedness with their emotions and spirit. How does their job effect their relationships with their friends? Are they neglecting good friends too much? It may not be worth it. And the final thing you have to evaluate is how their job effects their relationship to church. If it is pushing the church’s influence into the background, the money they make may not be worth what they are losing.

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