The historic day of September 11, 2001 was the day I was to start my first job. I was so excited to have learned that I was hired and could finally make my own money. I was 16 at the time and I felt “it was time” that I had a job. My mother was not for it or against it. To be honest, it was very common at my high school for teens to work. What really heightened my excitement was I would soon have a car, independence, I have arrived!
Fast forward to present day and I have a teenagers myself. The conversation regarding working in high school had come up with my daughters and to their surprise, we have a no working in high school policy. The girls were shocked and asked why, desperately at first, and seemingly in awe at this rule they had no idea existed.
So, here is the deal...
I actually, don’t have horror stories from being employed in high school (wait there was this one supervisor and she was horrible! I actually see her in Target all the time now because she works there.) and I am actually not opposed to others making that decision for their children or with them to explore working during high school.
Our reasoning is not complex or scholarly, it's pretty simple. We would like something different for our children. I want my children to focus on academics, extra-curricular activities and enjoying the privilege of what it means to be a child coming of age. I don't want them to worry about the highs and lows of what it means to work a job. It's a simple reason. They have their entire life to work, literally! However, I do understand these benefits:
This is where the situation can become challenging, when your child (yes 15 - 17 yrs is a child right?) begins to have the burdens of workplace woes, it adds an additional element to their lives that may impede some of the basic things that children enjoy doing and can’t afford to sacrifice. These include but not limited to; extracurriculars, hanging with friends, getting rest and homework time allocation. These are the fundamental basics of what childhood is about during those years. Because we know, once it's time to be an adult, there is no turning back.
I am not against all children working. I do believe there are some unique situations where children are required to assist with the household and to provide themselves with additional funds for things they need. As for me, I would like to circumvent the thirst for growing up fast because I experienced what working and going to schools was like for many many years.
Volunteering. I believe volunteering is a great experience for a child to be exposed to. It teaches them to be fortune for what they have and it simply gives them a foundation to be a good citizen. Additionally, I agree with my children working for the family business. You may be thinking WTF? She has a double standard! Here is the gag, when it's the family's business, you are in complete control. This means as a parent, you have the jurisdiction to call the shots, dates, times and locations. You are the person that has to approve the changes and there is no minimum or max required. Basically, helping out sporadically, with the business does not have to impeded anything scholastically at all because as the parent, you have complete indemnity.
I am not trying to cottle my children but we live in times where distractions are at their fingertips and its difficult as a parent to keep children focused. This doesn’t mean the children will be perfect or do no wrong, that would be silly to suggest. Its just trying a new philosophy in hopes that it keeps them focused and enjoy the luxurious life of being a child, coming of age. I mean come on, don't you miss those days?