Summer jobs for teens, a good thing?

Filed under: Teens, Day Care & Education

By the time U.S. teens reach the age of 16, nearly half of them enter the workforce during the summer months. Many parents think this is best for their kids; it teaches them a work ethic and how to budget and save money. No necessarily so, according to Janet Bodnar, author of "Raising Money Smart Kids: What They Need to Know About Money – and How to Tell Them". Often times a summer job is merely a means to an end for a completely disposable income for teens. Some teens are able to spend all of their summer incomes on clothing, music and accessories; Bodnar states that this approach only feeds an insatiable hunger for more material items. This sort of approach can backfire later in life when, as an adult, a child ends up with unrealistic needs and demands.

A better approach, says Bodnar, is to limit the number of hours a teen works. By doing so, parents will know how much their child earns. The parents should then limit the child's spending habits and require them to put funds in a savings account or even require them to contribute to the household expenses. These actions will help the child learn about budgeting, saving and the reality of contributing to a household.

I am in agreement with Ms. Bodnar. While I can see the beauty of my kids having summer jobs, I also want them to enjoy their childhoods. On the other hand, the wisdom of learning about financial responsibilities earlier in life rather than later, is a much needed lesson. What do our readers think? Did you work as a teenager? Do you want your kids to work?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.