A new study published in the journal Child Development examined the impact of getting a job among middle class teens in 10th and 11th grades. Researchers found that working more than 20 hours a week was associated with a decline in school engagement. Millions of teens juggle work and school, and many describe the stress it can cause them.
Casey P. an 11th grader of Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach said that she finds it very difficult to balance her school work as well as her community service hours and a weekend job at a local store. “I know that colleges look for a variety of extra-curricular on the applications. That is why I continue with community service hours and working. I definitely need the extra money and feel productive at my job, but there is a part of me that wishes I didn’t have to work as much.”
Educators call it the fatigue factor.
“It’s a fatigue factor. The student ends up being too sleepy or too tired the next day. They’ll fall asleep in class or just simply not pay attention,” says Joe Phillips, a high school principal according to a Connect with Kids report. (Watch the video on the sidebar.)
As the report continues, researchers found teens working for more than 20 hours a week showed increases in behavior problems, including using drugs or alcohol. Dr. Richard Winer, a psychiatrist, says that some kids end up experimenting in ways that their income earned is not going toward beneficial outcomes.
Experts say parents need to keep a close eye on where the money is going, and how the job is affecting your children.
On the flip side there are teens like Ryan, a senior at St. Augustine High School, that feels that finding the right balance has helped him complete all he needed to get into the college of his first choice and also have the benefits of extra income from a local restaurant he works at.
As summer is approaching, many teens will be looking for a job. This is not the same as during the school year when the pressure of studies is on them. Having a job is about teaching our teens responsibility and accountability early – since their future will highly depend on it.
Be an educated parent, you will have successful teens!