What to do When Your Teen is Too Young For a Job
I think the most frustrating ages for teenagers is between thirteen and sixteen. At sixteen most teens can get a driver’s license, they can get jobs and the amount of freedom is increased as is the amount of responsibility. You’re so close to being an adult that you can almost taste it.
At thirteen you are still trying to lobby for a later bedtime, a curfew, and you’re still largely relying on your parents for nearly everything you need; including money.
I remember being able to work my first paying job. It was pretty fantastic to get a paycheck with my name on it. I was still too young for a checking account and having a debit card was largely unheard of then so I depended on my dad to cash my checks for me or to deposit them into an account for me – even still, having money in my hands was (and still is) a beautiful thing.
So it comes as no surprise that being 13, 14 and even 15 can be downright frustrating for some teenagers; Too young to really have your own money or direction with life and feeling too old to ask mom or dad for everything.
That’s where we are at my house right now. Bug is 15 and a half (don’t forget the half. Very important). He is ready to get his temporary driver’s license, he won’t be the last man on the food chain at high school this year, and he’s itching for his own money; yet without a work permit or being 16, he’s too young for most of the job opportunities available to teenagers. He is the proverbial rock and a hard place.
We’ve never given our kids an allowance for household chores as we don’t believe they should get paid for helping to make the house run smoothly; the care and keeping of the house is the responsibility of everyone (though we may be changing that model soon). But because he is the oldest and there is a lot of responsibility on the oldest (including the care and sometimes feeding of the younger children), we’ve started paying Bug for things that we really do look for his help on. This helps us and it helps him. I’m a firm believer that a partnership can be paid.
I’ve also encouraged him to offer his talents to other people we know. He’s a good babysitter (even if his younger siblings don’t always listen to him). He’s got great landscaping skills, and he’s good with animals; our livestock appreciates him taking care of their sleeping quarters and making sure they’re fed and watered. He’s also just handy around the house. He can move furniture, tighten down bolts and screws, clean gutters, and do many household chores.
When it comes to helping your younger teen find work, it’s important to look beyond the typical teenage summer jobs and look to the skills and (unpaid) things they may be doing for you and see how they could be paid for doing those things for others.
What types of jobs do you recommend for young teens?