7 Tips for Motivating Your Teen to Get a Summer Job

Motivate your teen to get a job
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Many parents find themselves frustrated by their teen’s lack of motivation to get a job. Not too long ago, the majority of teens were either employed or looking for work. But times have changed and part-time jobs are no longer the norm for teens.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 40 to 50% of teens were employed in the 1980s and early 90s. But, only about 25% of today’s teens have jobs. If your teen isn't excited about looking for work this summer, these strategies can increase her motivation to get a part-time job.

1. Explain Your Expectations Early

Start talking to your teen as early as possible about her summer plans. She may be envisioning herself lounging on the beach and spending time with friends. If you expect her to work, make that known before she gets her heart set on sleeping until noon every day. 

2. Invite Your Teen to Talk About the Downside of Work

There are lots of reasons why teens don’t want to work. While some of them are a bit lazy, others are fearful about handling the responsibilities of a real job. Talk to your teen about her concerns and you may find there are some easy solutions or simple strategies that can help increase her motivation.

For example, if she's embarrassed to ask for a job application, go with her. Or, if she's worried she won't know how to do the job, explain how employees are trained.

3. Talk About the Benefits of Work

Emphasize all the benefits teens gain from part-time jobs.

Discuss what your teen can do with the money, such as save for a car or set aside money for college. But make it clear that there will also be some money available for fun too.

Share how employment can prepare your teen for the future as well. Make it clear that the benefits of getting a job stem beyond the financial aspect.

 Discuss the skills that can be gained from part-time employment and how holding down a job looks favorable to college admissions officers and scholarship committees.  

4. Share Your Concerns About Not Working

Talk to your teen about the reasons why you want her to get a job. Are you concerned that she’ll sleep all day if she’s not working? Are you worried that she’ll get into trouble if she doesn’t stay busy? Do you want her to help pay for some of her own things? Talk to your teen about the drawbacks of unemployment.

5. Provide Support for Getting a Job

When it comes to getting a job, many teens don’t know where to begin. Show that you’re willing to help your teen find a job. Offer to help complete the job applications or a resume and prepare your teen for a job interview. A willingness to help can go a long way to motivating a teen to find work.

6. Discuss Alternative Ways to Make Money

A lack of job opportunities, age restrictions, and transportation difficulties are just a few of the barriers teens face when it comes to finding a job.

If your teen isn’t likely to find a traditional job, help your teen start a business. There are plenty of free and low cost businesses teens can begin on their own.

7. Establish Clear Rules if Your Teen Refuses to Work

You can’t force your teen to get a job. But, you can establish rules and set limits that would make a job more appealing than staying home. If your teen isn’t going to work, assign daily household chores that need to be complete before your teen can go out with friends. Set limits on how late she’s allowed to sleep. Limit the spending money that you give her and help her see that getting a job, isn’t so bad.

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