From time to time as a teen counselor, parents ask me whether their teenager should get a job after school. There's no clear answer to this question. It all depends on specific teen and their unique situation.
For some teenagers, a job after school is a great idea. For others, a job after school could have a negative impact on their academic performance and emotional wellbeing.
What I suggest to parents in teen therapy is, before your teenager applies for a job, sit down with them and explore all the pros and cons of employment. This is a conversation that would be helpful to have with a teen therapist.
A teen counselor will be able to understand everyone's perspective and help weigh the pros and cons of pursuing a job. If the teen therapist has worked with the teen before, they will have a good sense of their strengths and weaknesses and whether a job will be a positive or negative thing.
Cons of Getting an After School Job
The pros and cons will vary from teen to teen related to getting a job after school. Some of the more impactful cons will be discussed below.
Extra Stress for Your Teenager
The number one con for many teens is the extra stress an after school job can create.
Most teens are already maxed out trying to balance school, a social life and any extra-curricular activities. Adding a job to the mix could push your teenager to their breaking point.
Negative Influences on Your Teenager
Another con is potential negative influences. As a teen therapist, I've worked with teens who started a job with young adults that were a bad influence.
These young adults were not in school and were not driven to make much of their life. Teens were around these influences and started imitating some of their poor habits.
Loss of Social Experiences for Your Teenager
Another con is the loss of social experiences. Teenagers who work nights and weekends often miss out on games, parties, and other important social experiences in high school.
Interfering With Teen Therapy
If your teen is seeing a teen therapist, chances are there are good reasons. They have encountered struggles in their life that they have not been able to overcome alone.
Seeing a teen counselor is a short term journey. On average, teens who are successful in therapy, are in teen therapy for about 4-5 months. This 4-5 months is an investment that can pay off providing amazing, life changing dividends.
Sometimes a job can interfere with therapy. Prioritizing teen therapy can help your teen overcome teen depression, anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, ADHD/ADD, trauma, PTSD, and other life challenges.
Once these obstacles have been removed, they are then able to face the challenges of life with confidence, motivation, and happiness.
Getting an after school job can be an important element in your teens social and emotional development. If your teen struggles with emotional or behavioral challenges, prioritizing work over therapy may be inadvertently setting them up for failure.
Pros of Getting an After School Job
Along with cons for your teen getting an afterschool job, there are also some very beneficial pros to doing so. Below are several that I have come across as a teen therapist.
Cultivate Life Skills for Your Teenager
A job after school can help advance your teenager's life skills. Your teenager will learn how to look for a job, complete an application, complete an interview and conduct themselves in a professional environment.
A job also teaches teens how to communicate with adults, manage their time and begin thinking about money.
Your Teen Avoiding Trouble
A job can help a bored teen avoid risky behavior. A teen who stays busy may have less time to get into trouble.
Although a job can have negative influences, it can also have positive role models. A teen may work with a boss that teaches them about self-discipline and pro-social behavior.
Your Teen Learning More About Themselves
As a teen counselor, I talk to teens about how a job can help them learn more about themselves. A job can help them figure out how they relate to people who are very different from them.
An after school job can help them discern how they think handle personal responsibility.
An after school job can also help a teen develop confidence and a clearer sense of what they want to do with their life.
To Work, or Not to Work?
Every teen is different. There are clear pros and cons to getting an afterschool job. Before making this decision sit down with your teen and have a conversation with them.
Run through all the pros and cons and determine what will be the best decision.
If your teenager is seeing a teen therapist, include them in the conversation and determine what is the best option for them.
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About the Author
Quique Autrey is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Quique specializes in teen therapy and helping teens build upon their innate strengths while developing skills and tools to overcome depression, anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks, ADHD, and more.
Quique views each individual through that lens and provides therapy for the family system which includes: teen therapy, young adult counseling, family counseling, marriage counseling & couples therapy.
Quique also has a passion for helping teens, young adults, and adults who may be on the Autism Spectrum. He has a talent for connecting with and helping people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
If you're ready to start your healing journey in teen therapy, you can call us at 346-202-4662 or email us at email@example.com.