If you're a parent, you're probably bracing yourself for the summer with your teen. There are so many things to consider: everything from what time your teenager needs to be out of the bed in the morning, how much time they should spend gaming, expectations around the house and curfew, just to name a few. And typically, the teen’s perspective is vastly different from your point of view.
Obviously, the school year can be very taxing and it’s nice to have less stress during the summer. But experts encourage you to avoid throwing structure out the window as your kids rest up for the next school year.
One way to keep your teen constructively involved is to strongly encourage them to find a summer job. While 13 or 14 may be too young for employment, they do have other options. It isn’t too young to do yard work, babysit, clean houses, or some other type of work.
Teens can learn so much from a job experience. In fact, it can help prepare them for life. Actually going through the interview process is a serious accomplishment, as many young people struggle with conversations that don’t involve texting. Learning how to look someone in the eyes and answer questions about yourself is huge.
Once they have secured a job, they typically have the chance to learn a few things, like how to:
Get along with a diverse team of people,
Manage their time,
Deal with authority figures other than their parents,
Engage with people who are rude and difficult,
Build relationships with kind and encouraging people,
Develop an understanding of a work ethic, and
Handle the money they earn.
One teenager accepted an 8-week job as a summer camp counselor. The job was not glamorous and many of her co-workers were challenging, so the teen frequently talked with her parents about the difficulties she was experiencing. Halfway into her commitment, she told her parents that four other camp counselors had just quit. The parents felt like the teen was looking for a way out as well.
Both parents strongly advised her not to quit, reminding her of the commitment she made. She stayed, and to this day has never forgotten the lessons she learned about how to treat people, what respect looks like and that she had it in her to overcome adversity and finish what she started. She also learned a lot about herself that summer, and while she wouldn’t want to repeat it, she would not trade those valuable lessons.
Summer jobs can teach the life lessons most parents want to instill in their children as they prepare for independent living. If you're wondering where to start, First Things First is offering Success Ready on May 31 and June 1 at Chattanooga State. It’s a 2-day networking experience for teens ages 16-18 who are interested in summer employment.
Day one consists of communication skills, going over the basics of a job application, how to prepare for and what to wear for an interview, managing conflict and keeping drama to a minimum. Day two will feature a job fair with a number of employers who are ready to hire for summer jobs. You and your teen can find more information about Success Ready
Your teen may simply want to build their resume for college or prepare to learn a vocation. Either way, securing a summer job can be just the character-building experience they need to give them that extra boost. It will certainly teach them lessons that will serve them wherever life takes them.