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The Important First Summer Job

Updated on July 2, 2014

"Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing."

Theodore Roosevelt

Facts About Teens and Ethics

Reasons to teach adolescents the value of work:

  • Over forty-two percent of 30,000 high school students across the US sometimes lie to save money, of this population, forty-nine percent is male.
  • Twenty-three percent said they stole something from a parent or other relative and twenty percent said they stole something from a friend. Boys were nearly twice as likely to steal from a friend as girls.

Source: Joseph Institute, Center or Youth Ethics, The Ethics of American Youth, 2008

The Summer Job Offer

Our grandson expressed an interest in purchasing a popular online game to play on our computer while visiting this summer. The price was reasonable and we could have easily volunteered to purchase it for him but we also recognized he was reaching the age where knowing the value of money and hard work needed to be understood.

We discussed with him the opportunity to work around the home to raise money to purchase this game. He was empowered by the idea and asked what he could do to begin earning money. His grandpa soon had him scrubbing the backyard pool area, washing the car, helping with the yard work and other minor tasks. He worked at it with diligence and did earn every bit of the money to purchase the game.

Cast Your Vote

Did you have a summer job as an adolescent?

See results

Fresh air and Muscle Building on the Job!

Lawn mowing is so popular as a first summer job.
Lawn mowing is so popular as a first summer job. | Source

Why Working A Summer Job Is Important

Young adolescents experience physical and mental changes during this time period. They often wonder if they are normal and seek out information on how to handle the emotional roller coaster they ride during this life-growth stage.

Understanding what a young boy or girl is going through may help parents to provide advice and offer jobs around the home or community to help mold their identity and work values.

The characteristics below are evidence of growth in a child and are ones that should be considered in mapping job offers and chores. Providing a job that will help a child to gain some identity or self-esteem by successful completion will help to establish a sense of worth and responsibility towards doing a good job. Jobs also give a child a sense of independence and encourage wise use of personal spending money.

  • Struggle with sense of identity
  • Focus on self, alternating between high expectations and poor self esteem
  • Complaints that parents interfere with independence
  • Mostly interested in present, with limited thoughts of the future
  • Intellectual interests expand and gain in importance
  • Greater ability to do work (physical, mental, emotional)
  • Rule and limit testing
  • Development of ideals and selection of role models
  • More consistent evidence of conscience

Source: American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Normal Adolescent Development, Part 1, Vol 57, December 2011

When an adolescent continues to experience how a job well done is rewarded, he will see how his daily work builds into future rewards. Thus, it enables him to plan for the future based upon current circumstances. This is important in helping a child to understand how life choices affect future events.

As they are guided through positive role models, they will gain an understanding of the value of work. My grandson asked how much he would be paid after his first day of work. A good question! His mother overheard the inquiry and responded quite well, "Sometimes your pay is knowledge. Learning how to work and the value of a job well done is priceless." Although he was rewarded well, this piece of advice will probably stick with him for the rest of his life.

Summer Job Pleasures!

A good lunch break makes a summer job experience much more enjoyable.
A good lunch break makes a summer job experience much more enjoyable.

Appropriate Summer Jobs for Adolescents

Summer jobs are great ways for pre-teens and teens to earn money. There are certain jobs that require more supervision than others. Additionally, some within the community and work force require permission slips and legal applications. Parents should make sure the job is appropriate age-wise for their child, of interest to the child, and one that will add to the child's positive success in acquiring good work habits. Safety and supervision is key and is not to be taken lightly.

Discuss the job requirements prior to beginning the task with your child. He is now an employee and should know what is expected of him and what your responsibilities are as an employer. Be sure to cover hours, breaks, pay, job details, tools needed and how to use them and length of time to complete the task.

Important in training anyone, regardless of age is to:

  1. Talk about the job
  2. Discuss the job and demonstrate how to do the job
  3. Have them tell you how to do the job
  4. Have them show you how to do the job
  5. Allow them to work and give them positive feedback at timely intervals.

Summer Job Suggestions For Adolescents

Around The Home
In The Community
Yard Work
Local Movie Theater
Babysitting
Fast Food Restaurant
Mowing Lawns
Paper Route
Dog walking
Babysitting
House Sitting
Library: Stocking books/Shelving Books
Federal and State Laws have restrictions on the number of hours a teen can work. Make sure your child is aware of this so that they may schedule their time accordingly. Babysitting Training is offered through the Red Cross and other Health Agencies

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    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Our children can learn valuable life lessons through a bit of hard work when young. Thanks for your valuable input, Better Yourself. Keep safe out there.

    • Better Yourself profile image

      Better Yourself 3 years ago from North Carolina

      I enjoyed my first job as a cashier at the grocery store and appreciate all I learned about working hard. These days I think its even more important for adolescents to learn the value of working, I've seen so many kids today with a sense of entitlement to have anything they want without an ounce of effort to earn it which also leads to a lack of appreciation for what they have.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Getting a child started early in understanding responsibility will help him or her to understand what it takes to make it in life. A job is a great way to start. Thanks for your add to the hub, ignugent, it is valued! Enjoy your day, friend.

    • profile image

      ignugent17 5 years ago

      Excellent ideas. This will really improve the self confidence of the child. So many things to gain in summer jobs. Learn to be responsible in handling money, in doing the job well and most of all learn to appreciate the goodness of the grandparents.

      I really enjoyed reaing it.

      Have a good day!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Hello, Eddy. Thanks for your supportive visit here. BE well and strong today!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Brilliant teaches and also useful; great work and here's to so many more by you.

      Eddy.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Cebutourist, you have reminded me of the joys I experienced collecting bottles for money. The grocer would buy them back for small price and the savings was good for buying small gifts. I am so fascinated by your experiences as a child. Do you have a hub about this? It would be so interesting to read. As you say, by working when young, the value of money is a lesson well learned.

    • cebutouristspot profile image

      cebutouristspot 5 years ago from Cebu

      I did odd job when i was little in order to earn a little bit of money. Odd job like

      Collecting bottle, metal scrap, plastic scrap, etc.

      Calling passenger to Jeepney

      Selling Cigarettes

      But my first adolescent job. I work at a rattan factory in order to get enough money to buy some books that I wanted. It was rough back then but when I look back those experience made me value money and how a good financial planning can give you a better peace of mind :)

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Teachable, I agree. Children as young as five can help out around the home (with simple jobs or chores like putting toys away) to gain some work ethic. What a wise parent you are to want to establish this in your child's life. Thanks for your visit and share. Have a great holiday and enjoy your little girl.

    • TeachableMoments profile image

      TeachableMoments 5 years ago from California

      Another fantastic hub. Very informative with useful tips for parents and educators. You've given me a lot to think about as a mother. Although my daughter is only 5, it is never too early to lay the foundation for a strong self-identity and work values. Once again I will share your knowledge.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Having a job is a great experience at any age. Your parents must have really appreciated your working on the farm during summers. What an interesting place to work! Thanks for stopping by, Vinaya. Take care, friend.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      I did not have job until I was graduated. Not that I did not want to work, but jobs were not available in my place. But I went to my parents farm and worked during the summer.

      This article will surely help parents and the children to find jobs.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      When you have to work for something you really do appreciate the value of time and money it takes to acquire it. You see them taking better care of the item as a result, so true Krsharp. Thanks for coming by and you be careful out there.

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      teaches, Great advice for parents. My kiddos have been working since they could push a vacuum and carry dishes. The value of money is much different to a child when they have to work for it and they take much better care of their special belongings when they pay for them with money they've earned. Wonderful hub. -K

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I don't know if paperboys positions exist these days, but I know many successful people who started out as one when a youngster. It is a job that reaches responsibility and the value of dedicated hard work. Guess you prove that one!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I got my first job at 14, though it wasn't just for the summer. It continued through most of the year. I was a paperboy and it taught me a lot about the value of work and a dollar. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Adjkp25, those of us who took on a summer job when young learned life skills way in advance of others who waited until after high school. It's an option, but glad that I also made the choice to start early. Thanks for the votes and comment on this hub.

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      I still remember my first summer job. Sure it was work and I sometimes didn't want to go but, looking back on it now, I'm glad I had the job and I am thankful for the lessons it taught me.

      Voted up and useful

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Ken, you are exactly what I was talking about in the hub, a responsible & successful product of early work habits! Thanks for stopping by here. Great add to the content.

    • ken blair profile image

      ken blair 5 years ago

      Life bores me if I don't get myself busy, I also went through such an experience back in my teenage years. It's great to be earning money because it results to self-satisfaction and self-esteem. I agree with everything you mentioned in this hub. Thanks for sharing!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Billips, I know my first job was one that gave me lots of experience in dealing with kids -- a hint of my future. Thanks for your visit, B.

    • billips profile image

      billips 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Nice article - I don't think anyone ever forgets their first earning experience. - what was memorable and what they would like to, but cannot, forget - lots of good information here - B.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      So sorry this happened to your daughter. It was unfair. I agree a summer job can be a good experience if guided by caring adults. Starting at home at Pre-teen is best, the real world is sometimes harsh - even for adults. Thanks, Rosemay, for your add to the topic. Have a great weekend!

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      It is good for a teenager to have the experience of working a summer job, not only to learn the value of money but to also build up self esteem and confidence. It eases them into an adult world without being thrown in at the deep end suddenly having responsibilities and making on the spot decisions and dealing with people.

      My daughter had a terrible experience with her first summer job. She was taken on at a local zoo, she had to pay for the warm jacket they supplied which was deducted from her wages and cost 80% of a weeks wage. 1 week later they laid off all 20 kids that they had taken on but refused to refund any of them for the jackets. Not only was her self esteem wrecked but she felt ripped off too. It made her very synical about applying for another job.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Vellur, summer jobs will do all what you say for children. I learned much from my babysitting job at the age of 14. I appreciate your visit and for leaving a comment. Take care.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Summer jobs help children to learn many useful aspects of life, that will help them in the long run. Children will also feel proud and their self esteem will increase in leaps and bounds. Great hub, very useful .

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Pollyannalana, you certainly did start young learning the facts of life -- great way to acquire skills and knowledge of good work habits. Thanks for your share and insight. Have a great day.

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

      That is a great idea. I started working when I was about 10 for pay that is (4 younger brothers!) and full time the summer I was 16. I think there is nothing like earning your own money and surely kids today need to learn that more than any with all the things they must have. Great hub!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Girishpuri, small steps do prove to teach concepts with greater understanding. I'll bet your anchor job was an exciting one. Thanks for your input, share and support.

      Drbj, I'm sure your sons have proved learning to work early in life valuable to them. Great job in raising those boys!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      My sons always worked summers while they were in high school and never regretted the experiences nor the money they earned.

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 5 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      very true Teaches, small accomplishments teach you better responsibilities and experience towards life, i remember my summer job was as an anchor in radio station and i learnt a lot, useful share, thanks.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Lindacee, summer jobs are great ways for kids to learn responsibility and the value of money. Working around the home, teaches basic skills and will help when they land a job outside the home. Hope that teens will find better options in the near future. Thanks for your support here.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      I lived in a rural area when I was of age to begin working, so my summers consisted of helping my friends' families cut and bail hay for the cattle. Not like working in McDonalds, but I guess the lessons in hard work were just as valuable! Hopefully, summer jobs will be more plentiful next year. From what I understand, teens looking for work are one the hardest hit demographics. At least there are always plenty of chores to do at home!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Alicia, my first job was babysitting when I was 14. It really was a great experience for me and made me learn responsibility and work values. Thanks for the visit and support -- take care.

      Blawger, your parents were wise to help you understand the value of money and work. As you know, it does develop important leadership skills. Thanks for your input and added insight on this subject. Always a better day when you stop in!

    • Blawger profile image

      Bahin Ameri 5 years ago from California

      Great advice to parents! I started working at a very young age. From 13-16 I did odd jobs around the house and from 16-21 I worked in salons. At the time I thought it was totally unfair since my parents didn't need the money. But I now realize how beneficial it was. Besides learning responsibility, the main thing I learned was the value of money. Understanding the value of money at such a formative time in life truly sets the tone for lifelong spending and saving habits. I am so thankful to my parents for forcing me to work even though I constantly bitched and complained about it.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I still remember my first summer job and getting my first paycheck. It was a fun and rewarding experience. As usual, this is a very useful hub about child (or teenager) development, teaches.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Becky, it's a fact that adversity does force you to accept responsibility, which does benefit many in the long run. You have had an enriching childhood experience. Thanks for your contribution of interest to this topic.

      TeacherJoe, working outdoors is always a great way to start a career. The natural setting must have provided a relaxing learning environment. Thanks for your support. Be blessed today.

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 5 years ago

      Hi teaches.

      Great advice,

      My first job was picking strawberries when I was eight. It was fun and a good lesson in earning. As well it teaches about the value of working for what you want.

      God bless you.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      My mother thought it was good for me to learn those things. She insisted or she would not let me work. My dad was disabled at the time and trying to get his disability. It was my responsibility to help them by providing my school clothes as they could not have done it at that time. Adversity breeds responsibility.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Becky, you were very mature at such a young age. Experts suggest that money earned by set aside for savings, etc. You were way ahead of the pack! Love your work example and ethics. Be strong and well.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      You put it together nicely, Genna. Thanks for coming by and you take care, dear friend.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Glimmer, Wow, what a great summer job! You were in the limelight and earning money. I am sure your daughter will follow through from your example. Thanks for visiting here. Be safe out there.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Moonlake, good job in teaching your kids the value or a hard work. They are already reaping the benefits. Thanks for your votes. Have a great evening.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I love your thoughts here, Faith. I think parents sometimes make it too easy for children to neglect the value of working for things. Thanks for your add to the topic. Blessings!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Janine, thanks for sharing, voting and your sweet visit. Teens will learn life lessons that will make an impact over the years when they work responsibly.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Pamela, I think when teens are involved in earning the money to purchase an item it makes it more valuable to them. They then will care for it better and take more responsibility. Thanks for your kind compliments. Be well and safe.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Unknown spy, thanks for your support and visit here. I appreciate it very much.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      TToombs, you have really hit the nail here with you "teaches a lot of life lessons that aren't covered in school". Jobs teach great character values and ethical principals not found in textbooks. You enjoy your day!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Mama Kim, you were quite focused and driven at such a young age, which is always indicates great character. I agree during school, they need to focus on education. Jobs can wait until summer. Thanks for your comment and support.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Not only did I have a summer job but I had to save 2/3 of my pay to buy school clothes with. I also had to pay for my yearbooks and class ring. I would not trade the good times I had working for anything. I worked at a large commercial laundry with most of that shift, which only ran in summer, being other kids my age. I was raised in Reno where the tourist traffic was high. We folded and ironed towels and sheets used by the hotels. We worked hard but had a lot of fun while we did it.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I remember those summer jobs I had as a teenager…they build character, a sense of worth, and a glimpse into the ‘real world.’ Excellent hub!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 5 years ago

      Your hubs are always right on the mark. Summer jobs are important and I loved working. I wasn't the most outgoing teen so it was a great way for me to meet new friends and since I was a lifeguard I got a great tan and was outside most of the summer. My daughter isn't old enough for a "real" job yet, but will be sooner that I think. Interesting hub!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      All of our kids had jobs as teens. I can tell how it turned them into hard workers. When the boys were here last week to help inlarge our living room. They knew what they were doing. They worked good together and figured out how to put the large beam up. One or the other will always figure out the problem.

      Our oldest granddaughter has always been a hard worker and always had summer jobs.

      Voted up and more on your hub.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      Very insightful and useful hub for sure! Yes, summer jobs are necessary for young persons to get on out there and realize that their parents money did not just fall of the tree, they had to work for it too. So, it does build character and responsibility, etc. It seems today's youth think they just deserve whatever it is they want, and just cannot grasp the concept why do they have to work when their parents can easily provide. They just want to text all day or play games all day long without contributing to society. Well written and informative. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Dianna, I couldn't agree with your article more that a summer job is a must and so important for teens. I totally agreed with and loved your daughter's line to your grandson, "Sometimes your pay is knowledge. Learning how to work and the value of a job well done is priceless." So well put and succinct!! Have voted and shared too!!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      I think this is a awesome hub for several reasons. Something has been lost where so many young people are concerned and earning the money to purchase something is a good lesson for a teen. Also, the list of what a teen is going through is very thorough. It helps to understand these things. It sounds like you and your husband are great grandparents. Awesome hub.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Well written and very informative hub. small things done responsibly can mean a lot

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Great information and advice on the importance of summer jobs for teens, Dianna, and oh so true! I worked summer jobs where my brother didn't. I have to say that it definitely made an impact on how we handled life after school and being out on our own. It really teaches a lot of life lessons that aren't covered in school. :)

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 5 years ago

      Wonderfully informative hub. Voted up, useful and shared

      I had odd jobs speckled in my childhood and then got my first real job the month I turned 15 and continued working year round all through high school. During the summers I would take on a second job. It made my social life almost non existent but I believe it taught me the most important lessons. I'll certainly be encouraging my children to find summer jobs. Not sure about during the school year though that was just too hard and I want them to experience after school clubs and sports.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Josh, you gave me a chuckle with your, "they will find out the hard way that life is not just a box of chocolates." I find that kids do expect life to be easy these days also and teaching them that we do have to make our way through life by good hard work is a valuable lesson. I appreciate your sharing and support of the hub. Take care out there!

      Skarlet, thanks for your visit here. You are truly a positive feedback for me on this. BE well and safe.

    • Skarlet profile image

      Skarlet 5 years ago from California

      I truly enjoyed this one teaches. You are so right, small accomplishments promote self esteem, and teach the all important responsibilities of life.

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Dianna,

      Very informative hub on summer jobs! Kids these days, unfortunately, sit around too much playing video games or on the web. They need to get out and work and begin to earn their own money. Or else, when they get out into the real world they will found out the hard way that life is not just a box of chocolates. Great hub, interesting and definitely useful for teenagers! I am sharing!