Sports, drama, church activities, and a variety of organizations keep students busy during high school. Where do they find the money to do these things? No, not everyone gets it from Mommy and Daddy. Most have to work for at least some of the money to pay for these activities. Some adults question if high school students should have jobs on school nights but I say yes, they undoubtedly should.
Some people worry that teens with after-school jobs will struggle to find time for homework. Actually, the responsibility of having a job helps teens prioritize their time. Many jobs are only a couple of hour shifts on weeknights. According to an article on snagajob.com, 86 percent of high school students have an after-school, weekend or summer job and “students who work between 10 and 20 hours per week during the school year have statistically higher grade-point averages than those who do not work at all. Those who work in high school are more likely to work in college, and financing their college education is a top reason for undergraduates to look for employment.” Instead of considering jobs a hindrance, employment should be looked at as real-world education.
Other people think that work adds too much stress, which may be somewhat true, but regardless of having a job or not, there is always going to be stress. Better to learn how to cope with busy schedules in a controlled environment like high school than to be out on your own and alone, experiencing stress for the first time. I personally would be more concerned for the teenager who has to become independent without having any familiarity with working.
The biggest reason teens should be allowed to work on school nights is it is a healthy way of earning money. There are many things teens need to pay for and they cannot do it out of their own pockets if they don’t have a job. Not all parents can pay for these activities. My dad told me, “Having a job is a good way to save up for things you are going to need or want to do. You get a lot more out of things if you are financially responsible for them.” Kids need the freedom to choose how to spend their money. The sooner they have an income, the sooner they can learn how to use money wisely. If they are not allowed to work in high school, they may be handicapped in the future. Teens should, without a doubt, be allowed to work on school nights.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.