Does your teen have a summer job?

Canada
April 16, 2007 10:29am CST
My older daughter has been a babysitter for the past three summers, taking care of her young cousin every weekday from about 8AM-4PM. She was paid well and also had the benefit of being at an air-conditioned home that also had an in-ground swimming pool. Not such a bad deal :) Well, over the course of last summer, after she turned 16, she started making a bit of noise about it being her last summer of babysitting. She was anxious to get a job somewhere else (in a store or an office or something) like some of her friends had done. My sister told her it was entirely her choice - she just wanted enough notice to line up a new sitter. As it turns out, my younger daughter is going to step into her older sister's shoes and take over this year and she is thrilled! It's her first summer job. Problem is, my older daughter is now balking at finding a job. I helped her prepare a resume and my husband volunteered to drive her around wherever she wanted to go to apply. She has made it clear, in recent days, that we are "forcing" her to get a job. She has told both of us, on separate occasions, that she doesn't "need" or "want" a job and she doesn't understand why we are "making her get one." When I reminded her that she gave up her babysitting because SHE wanted to find something else, she had the nerve to tell me that she "gave it up because her sister wanted it." This is so far from true! Her sister was never even in the picture until she, herself, made the decision that she wasn't going to babysit anymore. She wasn't pushed out! She's a GREAT babysitter and she would still have that job if she had wanted to keep it. I don't understand her resistance. She was really excited about finding work at something new. She is very financially responsible and still has some money saved in the bank from her past summers! She was looking forward to adding to her nest-egg and has often said she wants to buy herself a laptop for college. Now, all of a sudden, out of the blue, she doesn't "need or want" a job. I have a sneaky suspicion that her boyfriend (who is supposed to be her ex-boyfriend - but we know she is still in contact with him at school) is putting pressure on her not to work. He doesn't like her being anywhere that other guys might see her or even speak to her :( He also doesn't have to work... his mother doesn't "make him" get a summer job. He is already past his 17th birthday and has never yet earned any money on his own. His cash comes from either his mother or other family. He drives now but it's his mother's car and he doesn't pay any of the expenses. I don't want this influence for my daughter. I have no intention of letting her sit around all summer doing absolutely nothing. She is not going to be allowed to see this boy over the summer (and she KNOWS this). She is almost 17 years old. Am I being unrealistic in expecting her to find something productive to do with her time? I'm not expecting her to work 60 hours a week!! Yeesh. I just think it's important to start accumulating a bit of real world experience as she is entering college.
2 people like this
4 responses
@wmaharper (2316)
• United States
26 Apr 07
I think she's definently old enough to be working. Honeslty if it was me, I would tell her, that if she doesn't get a job, she cannot have access to the car. I would tell her, you have to prove that you can be responsible, part of that is having a job, earning money, and saving some up for something. If you want a laptop still, you will have to work to get one, as we will not be buying it for you. You are old enough to start making your own money, and if you are unwilling to work, we will be unwilling to buy things for you. (yes, I know, it's a little hard, but she'll get the point, that things in life are not handed to most people, and to those whom it is, life is actually much more difficult for them in the long run). Now, if she thinks she can handle, not getting new clothes for school next year, riding the bus to school, (or being dropped off) for the next couple years, and never having any spending money, then she should deal with those consequences, but if she's like most teens, that would seem awful to her. Then when she gets her job, I would continue buying the things you've always bought for her, or at least the more expensive things. I know alot of parents who will tell there kids, your making money, so you can buy all of your clothes now, which I think is unfair, thier money should be reserved for the things that they want, but you wouldn't buy for them normally. (for example, the very expensive Ipod, or Nike shoes they HAVE to have). Having a job also helps them keep things in perspective. They may be much more hesitant to blow 20.00 on something when the realize it took them almost 3 hours to make that money. A side note, I think baby sitting is such a great first time job. Especially for young girls, as it will show them the reality of kids and babies. Especially with a little cousin, where they will have a close-knit relationship for years!!
1 person likes this
• Canada
26 Apr 07
I agree with you 100%, wmaharper! As a parent, I will always be providing her necessities (as long as she is productively in school and pursuing her education). I don't want her to work so that she can carry a chunk out of my budget -- I want her to save that money for her own benefit. I don't know why she's not grasping that (or at least why she is fighting it so hard!). You're very right that a job gives them perspective on spending. I give her credit that she is conscientious about what she spends from her bank account but it still won't last forever. Babysitting is definitely a great first job :) She has solidified a terrific relationship with her cousin (the little one just idolizes her! LOL) and, now, my younger daughter will get the chance to do the same. It's so weird to have the younger one who can't WAIT to start her summer job and the older one who couldn't care less about finding one. Ugh. Parental frustration LOL Thanks again for your feedback!! :)
@wmaharper (2316)
• United States
1 May 07
Thanks for the best response!!
@babystar1 (4236)
• United States
23 Apr 07
My daughter started working when she was 15, went to college and now is a RN. But her daughter that will turn 17 in May will not try to fine a job.She wont even babysit for her own sister.I just dont no why some kids are like that. I sure hope your daughter goes out and fines herself a job. When kids are old enough they need to learn how to go out and work they can't always depend on there parents. good luck.
1 person likes this
• Canada
26 Apr 07
I really wonder, too, babystar. I hope we don't have a generation of demotivated young folks on our hands. Thanks for your good wishes... I keep hoping every day that the phone will ring in reply to one of her applications!
• United States
22 Apr 07
My oldest daughter, just turned 18 in March is a senior this year and has held a job since she was 16. Her brother and sister both want jobs but since they're only 15 and won't turn 16 until November they can't exactly find much. My son will go mow lawns and stuff to make a few extra bucks and my daughter babysits when she can or when she can find someone that needs her. My oldest was lucky enough to find the job via her co-op program with school because she was in pre-vet studies and they found her a job in a vet office. The office hired her for the summer too and she's worked ever since for about 2 years now. I personally think that kids do need to learn responsibility and as long as it's reasonable for them to get a job and something that she can earn some spending money they should be held responsible to do so. I agree, if you're not expecting a 40 hour work week out of the kid that you're far from being ridiculous in your expectations!
• Canada
23 Apr 07
Thanks for backing me up, hockeygal! I really don't feel unreasonable about asking her not to have the expectation to sit on her rear end all summer. I mean, I worked in the summers, when I was young, and I also held a job while in college to pay for my car. I never felt any animosity about it. It was just something that you did! I think your kids sound very enterprising and that's great! A couple that we are friends with, their sons have always mowed lawns and they've made a really nice sum doing it. I'm glad that at least my younger daughter is jazzed about having her first babysitting job LOL One of them is rarin' to go!
@Augustta (1860)
• Poland
16 Apr 07
Last summer my daughter wanted to take a job in summer because a friend of her just do it...But i think she is too young to be able to do this,and i expect she get more older for do this... I will agree for sure to have some experience and to know how the money apear...lol
1 person likes this
• Canada
16 Apr 07
I agree, Augustta... it's definitely a case-by-case basis, depending on the teen, their age, their maturity level. I know of families that make their teens pay "board" once they start earning any kind of money -- and I wouldn't do that at all. I just want her to learn the responsibilities of working for someone who is not family and, yes, knowing where money REALLY comes from is good too LOL Thanks for responding :)