Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kids Need To Work

Cute Kids in Children's CostumesImage by via Flickr
One of our duties as good parents is to instill the work ethic in our kids. But how do we do that? In my house both mom and dad go to work everyday to their full time jobs. Teaching by example should be enough but in this world it doesn't even come close, junior is perfectly happy to see others do the work. 
Should there be a certain age for your child to look for work? I believe there is. Each family can determine if the child is physically and emotionally ready to go to a job. We found that around the time they got their driving permit was the perfect time. They were mature enough and were self motivated because they needed money for their own life. 
Also at this time they wanted to have their own cell phones. We were firm in stating they would be paying their own cell phone or they wouldn't have one. So the job was becoming more of a necessity in their minds. 
The amount of money they made was enough to pay the cell phone and give them some money in their pocket. We taught them to save for things they would need in the future. Now all this seems pretty straight forward but with kids there is always some way they mess up. But this exercise is a teaching experience and probably prone to disaster. 
Having a job when your young is good for you. Because it teachs many things. For starters, it teaches you to show up somewhere on time. To have an authority over you that's not your parent or teacher. Also that Work = Money. 
Now all of our children did not all respond the same, with this wonder plan of the parents. More than half of them learned to work. But some of them just never got on board with the plan. The disgruntled children had to be led kicking and screaming down the road to work. But in the long run it worked out for all. 
Everything about work is a lesson in life: 
1. Work=Money 
2. Being somewhere on time is a skill that will be used the rest of your life. 
3. You will always have an authority figure over you in some form or another. 
4. Self reliance is the only thing that will never let you down. 
5. Success only comes after many years of work. 
Parents devotion to teaching their children is a never ending job. But I'm seeing with the oldest one the fruit of all my teaching. Be prepared to see some bare much fruit and some to bare a little. 


  1. Different things work for different kids, that's for sure. I limited my kid's allowance but other than some occasional clever entrepreneurship, he just wouldn't get a job until he was a junior in college. I found it a surprising choice but felt it was his to make. Time will whether or not that strategy pays off.

  2. I used to teach English as a high-school kid. It wasn't too much of pay, but I could still earn something. It helped me see how money is earned and also learn how to manage my "finances"

  3. My oldest is still in elementary school, so I still have a long journey of teachings ahead when it comes to money. I am working to see thats she gets the connection to work and money, in terms of how money is sources. One friend of mine shared a story about how is son told him not to go to work and to be home and play, since Dad could just get money from the ATM!

    The early years, I think, can be building blocks for this knowledge, so that when kids get older, they have a better understanding of what it takes to be able to survive - and the role work plays in it.

    Unless someone has innate, exceptional talent, it takes, disciplined, hard word to make good money and thrive financially. The habits, I hoped, can be learned early.

  4. I used to do a paper route every morning (even christmas) that was a great way to learn the value of hard work. I think you are exactly right, we have to instill good work ethic in our children. We also have to teach them sound financial advice...and that involves staying up to speed with the changing times. We can't do what our parents did to us and simply say "put all you can into your 401k, and you'll be fine" so many people are wishing they could retire right now but because they blindly followed that advice they have to postpone that luxury.

  5. @SimplyForties I got 5 kids with jobs. Three of them do great with their job. One barely works 10 hours per week and the other refuses work altogether. They were all raised the same. Go figure.

    @Ramona Your job seemed like a good starter job. We all have to start somewhere.

    @Squirrelers Yes you have to teach them whenever the opportunity arises, at any age. If you don't they will be financial baby's and always be knocking on your door. I teach my kids because its good for them and its good for me, later.

    @Nick Our greatest gift we can give to our children is our experience. They won't be able to appreciate it until their older, though. They are only under our influence for so long.

  6. Its important to impress upon them at the earliest age as possible that money has to be earned. I think perhaps showing how gratifying it is to earn money is beneficial as well.

  7. @Cambridge Just giving your children money as in an allowance just sets them up later to not make the connection Work = Money. We shouldn't use the word allowance. We should say "Earn".

  8. Agree with you 100% on this. The worst thing you can do is teach a child how not to work by never expecting them to get a job as a teenager.


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