Should Teens Have Jobs in High School?

Posted on Feb 24, 2013 by 4 Comments
Should Teens Have Jobs in High School?

I don’t see many teenagers working anymore. I don’t know if employers are choosing adults over teens because the economy is so bad, or if teenagers just don’t feel the need to work like they once did.

I worked full time in high school. I got on a half day program where I was able to leave school at one in the afternoon and head to work, where I stayed until nine or so.

Since I worked full time, I was able to buy my own car, make my own insurance payments, and buy my own clothes. My parents provided a roof and a certain amount of guidance and protection. My grades dropped slightly, but most of that was because of attitude rather than a result of overextending myself.

Having a job forced me to grow up. I had responsibilities and adults to answer to that were not my parents. You don’t get defiant with your boss if you want to continue to pull that paycheck. I did homework on my breaks and lunches. Although I didn’t graduate in the top of my class, I wasn’t in the bottom either.

I have heard people say that they don’t want their teen to work in high school. The parent believes that working will keep the teen from concentrating fully on his (or her) studies. I don’t know about that.

Most of my experiences with high school kids (including myself) lead me to believe that 16 to 18 year olds don’t concentrate fully on their studies anyway.

I think that in many, if not most cases, kids will be playing video games, texting, and watching television during the time that they would otherwise be working at a job.

My thought is that learning responsibility and a good work ethic is as important as good grades. What is your opinion on this one?

photo credit: martinak15 via photopin cc

Posted in: Parenting
Marye Audet

Marye Audet is an author, freelance writer, and editor. As a work at home mom she has a unique perspective that encompasses the overwhelming deadlines and commitments of the professional woman as well as the constantly changing needs of a homeschooling mom with a large family. She is the author of one cook book and the creator of Restless Chipotle Media, a network consisting of two food based blogs, a blog for “women of a certain age”, a video site on Youtube, and upcoming blog on kitchen decor, and downloadable eBooks. Marye also is a freelance writer, editor, and book reviewer.

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  • Kari

    I really think it depends on the teen. My oldest son is now 19. Academics were not his thing – he hated school and had his struggles. He did get a part time job his senior year (where he went to school half a day then left for his job). That was the best option for him and helped him save money for a car and earned him spending money. My daughter is now 16. She is a straight-A student, takes multiple advanced and college level classes, participates in school activities (holds leadership role in one club), and does numerous volunteer endeavors in our community. She is working hard toward earning a full college scholarship. For her, I wouldn’t want her working a job during the school year. Something part time during the summer might be okay, but otherwise she is just too busy. I agree that it’s a great way for kids to learn responsibility but I think each kid is different and has to weight their options. Good topic!

  • MomHomeGuide

    I agree — it probably depends on the student. I worked part-time in high school — I think a part-time job would be fine. Many kids these days have lots of activities after school.


    I had a job in high school too, but I am not sure just any job would be good. I think a job for your child should be carefully chosen to make sure it is a good environment and your child isn’t being mistreated or exposed to negative elements on the job.

  • Zaina White

    i don’t think my daughter can handle it. she ask me yesterday i just want her to focus on school.