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Asking Parents For Money: Should Teens Get Jobs?

Dear Your Teen:

My 17-year-old doesn’t want to work and is constantly asking for gas and spending money. She is a senior in high school and only has class from 9 a.m.—1 p.m. She gets upset every time I ask her about working and she said she doesn’t have time and can’t work weekends. How should I handle this?

Answer:

I hear you here. I am a huge fan of teens having jobs instead of asking parents for money. In my experience, I have seen this build a sense of responsibility and improve self-esteem. In addition, teens learn about money and budgeting. Learning the value of money and fiscal responsibility are very important life skills. I understand why you want your daughter to get a job.

Clearly, your daughter is resistant to getting a job. Perhaps, she is anxious about entering this arena of life. Or perhaps she is accustomed to getting money from you and doesn’t understand the many ways that life will improve for her when she is working and making her own money.

Teens and Money: Should Your Teenager Get A Job?

Perhaps, a bit of negotiation may work with your daughter. Talk to her about finding a job that doesn’t involve weekends (at first) so that she feels that her concerns are being attended to and that she doesn’t feel dismissed. Teens like to feel that they have some control and input. You already know this. Then talk to your daughter about the kinds of jobs that might be available to her. Finally, you do have the right to make money less available to your daughter. When she has a need for gas and spending money she will be much more inclined to consider getting a job. After all, paying our bills motivates most of us to work, right?

Your daughter may initially be upset with you but it is okay for teens to be angry. My hope is that your daughter’s anger will dissipate when she has her own money. I wish you luck and patience with this process. You want the best for your daughter and it will, of course, take time until she realizes that.

Good luck!

Dr. Barbara Greenberg

Dr. Barbara Greenberg is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of teens, children, and families. She is the co-author of Teenage as a Second Language. She writes and consults for several publications and frequently appears on TV. You can find her work on her website drbarbaragreenberg.com.