How Much Should I Get Involved in My Teenagers First Job?

girl teenager wearing headphone stands in library holding red cover document smiling
The Author
Sacha Kaluri

Your teenager has their first job – How much should I get involved as a parent?

As a parent, it’s hard to let go and let your child figure out their own way. Let’s be honest—especially your first-born. They are the ones that are holding all the influential landmarking “first times” as a parent.

So your teenager has their first job and they are thrown into the deep end. What’s meant to be their school holidays, they are coming home from work exhausted and of course, barely has the energy to empty the dishwasher.  

 They are finally learning the real meaning of hard work and the value of a dollar.

You are feeling proud of their commitment and enthusiasm but you can’t help but get a little too involved.

As much as they are independent with their school holiday job, you can see they need a bit of a helping hand with how to handle all the things that go with the job.

Here are the Do’s and Don’ts for parents:

Don’ts

  • Don’t you personally call their boss if they are sick or can’t make it to work—This is when they need to step up and take control and make the call.
  • Don’t lie on their resume and give them skills they don’t have.
  • Don’t turn up to their work to say hi and call them during their shift unless it’s absolutely urgent. Look at it, like they are at school. The last thing they want to do is have to say to their boss. “Mum’s on the phone…again”
  • Don’t ask them to take off days just to attend events you think they should attend. You both need to understand their work is a priority.
  • Don’t speak negatively about their boss if you think they are working them too hard. They need to learn to respect the boss and work colleagues.
  • Don’t have high expectations of them that they should be getting a promotion straight away. Remember they are just learning. Mistakes are inevitable.
  • Last but not least this is not your job, so asking for a discount at their place of work is a big no-no.

Do’s

  • Do rehearse or create some role-plays together to show how they can best approach their boss if they have something difficult to express
  • Do teach them how to deal with clients and understand why customer service is so important
  • Do try giving them a slight break on their chores around the house for the few weeks of their job. Just because they are learning the juggling process.
  • Do remind them how proud you are of how hard they are working.
  • Do help them get to and from work as much as you can. Especially if they are finishing work late at night during the Christmas long hours. Try not to complain and just get in the car and do the pick up even if you are secretly wearing your Pj’s.
  • Do encourage them to take on extra shifts. Hard work never hurt anybody.
  • Do remind them to save their money, but a little splurge on something that makes them feel rewarded for their hard work is a good motivator.

This is a big learn curve for your teenager. So listen to their stories and keep them positive as much as you can. The aim here is to create a good work ethic for their future endeavours.

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