Your child’s first job, whether it’s babysitting, mowing lawns, or ordering burgers and fries, can be an exciting experience for everyone.
As parents, here’s how you can support them while they find out about the real world of work:
* Don’t push too hard. Encouraging teens to find a job is one thing, endless nagging is another and can be counterproductive. Pushed into a job they don’t like or want, they may not perform to the best of their abilities. Encourage them to find jobs that play to their strengths or interests.
* Start looking early. Teens should not wait for school to end in June before starting their search. With unemployment at high levels, the competition will be tough, so urge them to get started as soon as possible and be patient.
* Emphasize safety. Approximately 146,000 adolescents are injured on the job each year. and about 70 die. Before your teen starts work, ask about the position and duties, supervision, and amount of training your child will receive.
* Help with budgeting. That first job is a good opportunity for your teen to learn about spending and saving. Ask him or her to set some money aside from each paycheck, and not to spend every dime on frivolous items. Go over their first pay stub with them, pointing out what is being withheld in taxes and benefits, so they understand the difference between their gross and net pay.
* Support your child. A job is a responsibility, so do your best to help. Adjust your family schedule to the young employee’s work schedule. Offer to help out with rides and other assistance as appropriate.
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