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Teens, Jobs and School: The Pros and Cons
Most teens realize the old adage “money equals power” at an early age. Money equals designer clothes, cars, insurance and, in many cases, a degree of freedom. To earn money, many teenagers look for part-time jobs.
While the benefits and/or disadvantages of teens and part-time work have been studied, researched and debated since at least 1979, the jury is still out on teens, work and the impact on academics. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, by age 12, 50 percent of U.S. teens are in informal work, such as babysitting or yard work. By age 15, nearly two-thirds of American teens had some kind of job. Many researchers, including members of government groups such as the National Youth Council, have praised part-time work, saying it helps with the transition from youth to adulthood.
For decades, parents and educators have said that part-time work can teach children how to be responsible and manage their money. But Temple University researcher Lawrence Steinberg found that only 11 percent of students reported saving most of their money for college, and only 3 percent contributed to family living expenses. According to a 1998 study published in the Harvard Educational Letters, “Adolescents spend the majority of their money on clothes, cars, entertainment and, in some cases, drugs and alcohol.”
“Students who worked longer hours reported decreased school participation, lower academic performance, increased psychological stress, increased drug and alcohol use, increased crime rates, and increased autonomy from parental controls,” said Steinberg. University of California A 1997 study by David Stern, director of the National Center for Vocational Education Research at Berkeley, backs up Steinberg’s point. In more than 20 years of research, students who work more than 15 hours a week have lower grades, less homework, a higher dropout rate and are less likely to attend college than students who work less than 15 hours a week .
But Gerald Bachmann of the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future project cautions against jumping to conclusions about cause and effect. “I think most of the problems associated with long hours are caused by more fundamental causes,” he said. “It can lead to a vicious circle, but I think when they choose to work long hours, the vicious circle is running smoothly.”
While there are many downsides to a busy part-time job, there are also many upsides. A job for teens can teach them job skills that are not available in school, and it can instill a newfound confidence, responsibility, and independence in teens. Earning money will allow your child to buy things and manage money. After school work can also provide adult supervision, especially if your hours are longer than typical school hours. The right job may provide networking opportunities and set your child on a rewarding lifelong career path.
But before your kids get a job, there are a few things you should know. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industries, “No child under the age of 14 shall be employed or permitted to be employed in any occupation except a child employed on a farm or in domestic service in a private residence.” Children under 14 You can also work on a farm, as a golf caddy, a paper delivery boy, or as a teenage performer in the entertainment industry. But special permission may be required.
Additionally, under many state labor laws, teens aged 14 and 15 are not allowed to work more than 4 hours a day during the school year, before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. ) For example, Pennsylvania law prohibits children under the age of 16 from working in bowling centers (except as snack bar attendants, scorekeepers, or console clerks), construction heavy work, highway work, anywhere that sells or distributes alcohol, manufactures , on scaffolding or ladders, and cleaning windows.
For teens ages 16 and 17, some state laws state, “Minors may not work before 6:00 a.m. on school days or after midnight on school days and after 1:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.” Additionally, no more than 8 hours per day, Not to exceed 28 hours per school week. (The only restrictions on 16- and 17-year-olds during the summer are that they may not work more than 8 hours a day or 44 hours a week.) Young people under 18 are prohibited from working in pool rooms; working in electrical work; operating elevators ; performing crane and lifting operations; excavating; operating machines for carpentry, bakery mixing, cleaning, oiling or stamping; roofing; welding; and doing demolition.
Finding a job for your child is a big step on the road to maturity. Be sure to discuss the pros and cons with him or her. You may also want to agree to a job on a trial basis, e.g. “You can work x hours per week during this grading period and we will then use your grades to decide if you can continue working.” Keep up the good grades, continue Participating in extracurricular activities and maintaining a social life are important to your child’s mental health and development. Also, create a budget with your kids, set spending limits and implement a policy of saving a percentage of paycheck. Good financial skills learned at a young age will last a lifetime. With the right supervision and parental guidance, part-time work can be a wonderful experience.
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