There are benefits, but also potential hazards, for teens who work. Parents should help their teen make the right choices and monitor the impact of work on their teen, as well as the conditions of the workplace, to make sure it is nonhazardous. Teens who earn money to pay for at least part of their expenses gain a sense of responsibility and pride, and many can face the challenges of work and school with no problem. However, school is a full-time job, and teens need to accept that as a top priority that can't be affected by their other activities, including work. Make sure your teen's job isn't too demanding, and that academic achievements aren't suffering. Teens who are too busy with their work responsibilities may cut back on their schoolwork and that can have a negative impact on their future. Teens should not work more than 20 hours per week. Working too much not only affects achievements at school, but also can have a social impact. Family relationships and communication can suffer, as well as extracurricular activities. Teens who work long hours are more likely to be involved in risk behaviors, including alcohol and other substance abuse, as a result of older coworkers who may influence them, and too much available spending money of their own.
Teens can look for summer jobs or work part time during the school year. The benefits of work for teens go beyond earning money. Teens can gain experience and learn skills that will help them in the future. They can learn how to manage their time and their money. Work is an excellent opportunity to explore career options, as well. Federal law limits children under the age of 14 to specific jobs and hours that they may work. Teens can work any number of hours at any nonhazardous jobs, but it is up to the parents to supervise and guide their teen in work-related issues.