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Sheri Wohlfert outlines five ways parents can help their teens get ready for the world of work.

I don’t think anyone would argue that raising teens who are responsible, hard-working, and confident is a noble and vital task. One of the ways high school students can develop those and many other important skills is getting a job; however, balancing family, work, and school can be a tricky thing. Here are five ideas to help parents guide teens who are looking for work. 


Take it from the top:   

Sit down with your teen and look at the pros and cons of getting a job. Obviously list toppers on the pros list would include developing a strong work ethic as well as gaining confidence, cash, responsibility and communication skills. On the con side are less time for study, social activities, family time and time management stress. The list will look different for each child, so it’s the perfect way to voice some of the concerns or excitements you have. 


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Examine the why:   

Sometimes we do the right thing for the wrong reason. Being clear about the why will help make sure the match is a good one. If the why is to gain experience in a possible career field that might look different than if the why is to earn spending money. A good match helps with job commitment and prepares your teen to ask the right questions as they look for a job that’s a good fit. 


Lay the foundation:   

Our mission is to help kids be safe, healthy, and holy. Before they take that first job, help them succeed by setting up a structure with that mission in mind. Make sure the schedule allows them to attend Mass and participate in faith-based activities. Their first “job” at this stage in life is to be a student, so be clear about academic expectations. Discuss the number of hours they can work, the times they can be available, and the family events that take priority.   

First-time jobs don’t tend to be glamorous or high-paying, and they often involve doing the “new guy” things that aren’t always too appealing. Spend some time talking about how to handle that, because quitting isn’t the best option. 




Share it:  

All of these ideas and expectations need to be communicated to the employer. You may need to role-play this discussion, but it will build great skills and bring peace to the process of balancing school, work and family. It’s OK to lose (or not get) a job if it doesn’t allow your teen to keep themselves and their family a priority.  


One more thing:  

Do a little homework about the place your teen might work. We have to be aware of the people and places that will influence them. It’s so important to do all we can to make sure our kids are surrounded by people and experiences that will help them become the saints God made them to be. Have the conversation about handling situations in the workplace that might contradict faith and family standards and beliefs.  


Click to tweet:
Before they take that first job, help them succeed by setting up a structure with that mission in mind. #CatholicMom


Copyright 2023 Sheri Wohlfert
Images: Canva