Can You Make Your Teen Get a Job?
If your teen is perfectly capable, and you would like them or need them to find employment, but they are uninterested, there are some effective options besides demonstrating your frustration and anger.
- Stop paying for their stuff. Teens love their cell phones, computers, video games, driving the car, and looking cool. These things may be called essentials by your teen, but in reality, they are not. If your teen refuses to look for a job, stop paying for their stuff. It's amazing how motivating taking away their luxuries can be.
- Make their life at home more work. If your teen refuses to help you out financially, then perhaps they could help you out manually. Give them some added chores. Perhaps if they clean out the garage they can take the car Saturday night, or being in charge of garbage and recycling may earn them a month's worth of texting privileges. Allowing your teen to do nothing is not only unfair to you and your family, it is unhealthy for them. How can a teen learn to be a contributor to society when they haven't learned how to pull their weight within their own family?
- Show them the harsh realities. Talk to your teen about the realities of having no money. Share your paycheck, bills and your budget with them. Find the costs of attending college at their dream school. Volunteer as a family at a homeless shelter or food bank. In other words, it's time to let them in on what all adults know, money is important and it takes hard work to get it, and even harder work to keep it.
- Find out if they're lazy or scared. Teens love to play it tough and act as though they're rebelling when in reality they may be apprehensive. Finding a job for some teens is a scary thing because they realize they have to grow up, talk to adults, take responsibility for themselves, and generally leave their comfort zones. I had really great students in my classes who completely shut down when the topic of jobs comes up. Discuss with your teen why they don't want a job. Let them know you are there to offer suggestions, find resources, research possibilities, and help them through the process of getting a grown up job.
Most teens I've taught can't wait until they're old enough to get a job. But for those few who seem uninterested despite the pushing and prodding from their parents, there is hope. Parents can't make their teens get a job, but they can employ strategies to motivate employment aspirations.