When children reach the age of fourteen, they are allowed to work. Therefore, many of them decide that they want to because they would like the money. Some also do it for the work experience. However, as parents it can be a dilemma as to whether sending their child out to work is a good idea or not. There might be a few questions that you should ask yourself when you are trying to decide.
- Do they need the money? – money can be something that teenagers really want. They might nag their parents for it all of the time and if they do not get it, they could be miserable. Parents might not have the money available to give them, perhaps they are struggling to earn enough or they have a loan to repay or something like that. It will be up to parents though, to decide whether their children really need the money that they are asking for. It might be that they will just spend it on rubbish like sweets or luxuries but if they need the money for school things or fun hobbies then you might decide that they will really benefit from having extra.
- Will they enjoy it? – it is worth thinking about whether they will enjoy the experience of being at work. If they are only doing it because they want the money then it may not be a good reason. The type of work that they choose will determine whether it is something that they are likely to enjoy. Therefore, they will need to think about the different things that are available to them at their age and whether they feel that it will be fun. Although, as adults, we often do jobs which are not fun, it should be fun for a young person as they do not really need to be working in most cases.
- Is the work experience really useful? – for many young people, the work experience can be useful for them, but it depends on what they want to do in the future. Sometimes just showing that you have done a job on your CV can be a reason for you being accepted into a university or college course. It might also help them with getting a job in the future. However, they do not really need to do a job for that long to be able to list that they have done it and for it to show they have some experience. Therefore, just doing a few hours a week or even some temporary work less often could be enough to just show that they have a good attitude towards work. It can be worth thinking about their future career and whether that specific job will be of any use for that or whether there might be something else that they might be able to do that would be more relevant.
- Will it distract from their studies? – it is really worth making sure that the child gets a good balance between school work, leisure and work. If they are working too much, they may not have time to fit in their school work or they may not have enough leisure time and this could lead to them being stressed. It is more important for them to get the grades that they need as teenagers than getting work experience or money. If they fail to get the grades then they will not get to college or be able to do the job that they want. However, if they need work experience to get on a course or get work, they can always do this after they have finished studying, perhaps during the school holidays or after they have finished their exams. This may mean that they have to take a year out before moving on in their career, just to show that they have the relevant work experience, but if it means that they will be better able to get the grades that they need, then it will be worthwhile.
So, as much as your children might beg you to let them get a job, it is really important to make sure that they really should be getting a job. Think about the reasons why they want one and talk to them about whether it is the right sort of job for them as well as whether they are sure that they have the time to do it. It is worth explaining that they have their whole lives to work and that they might want to take advantage of being able to have a bit of fun while they can, rather than thinking about working already. As they get older they may need the money more, such as if they are planning on going to or are at university and need money to support themselves.