Why My Teenager Should Learn To Earn: A Parent’s Decision


My son is 17 years old and because of my Hubby’s hard work and commitment to making sure our Kiddies can have the things we never did growing up he hasn’t had to work a day yet.

I would say I am saying this with a bit of pride that we are able to provide his needs and allow him to focus on school and the things Teenagers should be enjoying in life.  Yet, there is a drawback to having a Teenager who doesn’t truly know the meaning of earning what he wants.

Both my Hubby and I worked all throughout our High School days. I was working as soon as my Grandmother could take me to fill out my Working Papers and my Hubby was earning some sort of income even if it meant working side by side with his Dad since he can remember.

As a Teenager, I was always aware of what the value of things were.  My Grandmother was not a rich woman and trying to survive while raising a Teenager wasn’t easy.  When I wanted something she was not shy about telling me what it would take for me to get it.

Once I started working, I would always set a goal for the things I wanted to buy.  Still, I also had bills that usually came along with those wants.  My first pager (yes I’m that old), my first cell phone and even my own clothes.  I knew what it meant to work towards getting something and very rarely was any of it simply given to me.

The same goes for my Hubby.  So when I look at my lovely Teenager now and think back on the 5-6 cell phones he has either lost or broken in one way or another, the numerous jackets and hoodies he has carelessly left somewhere or even the sneakers that have mysteriously disappeared I wonder if our desire to give him what we didn’t have may be a bit damaging.

When you don’t have to work or put anything into getting something you are more likely to disregard it’s value and take less care to keep it.  We have come to a point where we are making a conscious decision to teach my Teenager to learn to earn.

When he dropped his latest cell phone and the screen was shattered beyond use, we didn’t simply replace it as we usually do.  Instead he has been without one for almost a month now until he can earn enough money to help pay for it’s replacement.  Trust me a Teenager without a cell phone finds a lot of motivation to earn even if it means shoveling the 2 inches of snow that’s in the walkway 😀

After he ‘forgot’ his $40 hoodie at someone’s house he had to walk around for 2 weeks wearing one that he didn’t consider to be ‘in’ until he could remember which friend he left it with.  Needless to say I don’t think he will be as careless the next time.

How have you taught your Teenager or children the value behind the things they receive?

Do you believe a Teenager should work through High School or wait until they graduate?

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Tiffany is the ‘ Tee’ behind TheMrsTee.com - a Lifestyle Blog created as a place to share her love of all things Faith, Family, Fashion, Food, Fun, Tech & Travel. Tiffany has established her influence within both the Blogging and Vlogging Communities. Tiffany has extended her presence beyond her URL to Television as a Panelist for the MomsEveryday TV Show for 2 Seasons and to the stage as a Cast Member of the Finale Season of The Listen To Your Mother Show. A 2016 VOTY Award Honoree, Contributing Author with iBlog Magazine and BlogHer.com growing herself as a Brand and Influencer are always at the center of Tiffany’s passion.
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Tiffany is the ‘ Tee’ behind TheMrsTee.com - a Lifestyle Blog created as a place to share her love of all things Faith, Family, Fashion, Food, Fun, Tech & Travel. Tiffany has established her influence within both the Blogging and Vlogging Communities. Tiffany has extended her presence beyond her URL to Television as a Panelist for the MomsEveryday TV Show for 2 Seasons and to the stage as a Cast Member of the Finale Season of The Listen To Your Mother Show. A 2016 VOTY Award Honoree, Contributing Author with iBlog Magazine and BlogHer.com growing herself as a Brand and Influencer are always at the center of Tiffany’s passion.

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29 thoughts on “Why My Teenager Should Learn To Earn: A Parent’s Decision

  • ssgannett

    Another amazing post, as always, Tiffany! And so very true! I watched so many of my oldest son's friends, during high school, break and lose phones, every other month. My oldest never had anything beyond a pre-paid flip phone, because that was all I would pay for…period, and it was that one or nothing, so he new that he had better take care of it. I, too, grew up in a family with very little money. My mom was a single parent of 2 and neither father ever paid child support.

    I have continued to be short on money and will likely always be and the kids have learned from a very early age that we just can't afford all of the "wants" that they have. My oldest started babysitting when he was about 16, then he went to a part time, evening job, then on to working a full time and part time after high school, and finally to a full time, factory job, with available overtime. He loves tattoos, and music, and being able to grab some Mc D's if he gets hungry, but because he has always had to work for what he wants, he is willing now to work 16 hour days in a row just to get that green so that he can enjoy the things that he wants. My lil man is a major video game junkie and is always wanting the latest game, but on a single income, they only come from me on special occasions…so he has started baby sitting a boy from church with Down's Syndrome, to make some extra money for himself and now he is even talking about paying for his own trip to summer camp this year. Lil man is also getting some on the job training by filming our church service, and he has been able to do volunteer work in varying degrees as preparation for the real world and the adult life.
    Have a great week, Tiffany!
    My recent post This Momma’s Meandering Mondays 35!

    • MrsTee Post author

      Thanks SOOO Much Stacey! I truly appreciate our encouragement and the feature opportunity…it means a lot.

      We definitely have given in to our desire to give our Kids More Than we had but I don’t want that to allow us to take away their sense of responsibility, work ethic and independence. This is why I feel the need to make this choice, this decision.

      I think that is so amazing that you have succeeded in instilling money value and responsibility into your son. Kudos to you! His example is surely a positive for your younger son as well. You GO Mom!

  • Julie

    I think this is so important! I worked on some level since I was 12 (started with baby-sitting) and I had to earn almost everything – even including my own driving lessons and, yes, my first pager too. 🙂 While I don't want my kids to be too busy or distracted from their education and such it is so very important for them to know the value of a dollar. I believe this is especially true when they are ready to go to college – I goofed off a lot less in college than many of my friends because I was paying for each and every class.

    • MrsTee Post author

      Haha! The Pagers! When I tell my Teen about having AND Buying my first pager he looks at me like I\’m nuts. \”What\’s A Pager?\” LOL
      You\’re right, I don\’t want work to be a distraction either but I too feel it is almost as an important part of their education for the real world and the school lessons themselves. Thanks so much for coming by Julie! 😀

  • upliftingfam

    I think that if my daughter had the ability and time to work, that I am all for it. This year she got a taste of working because she had to work to pay her band fees. With band and school work there was no time for a job, so we encouraged her to sign up to work at the sporting events hosting by the high school band. She was able to earn enough money to pay her band fees in full and has some carry over towards the next year. I am glad that she has had a chance to work and learn what responsibility is in the real world. I also worked when I was in school and worked under the table as a teenager (at the skating rink).
    My recent post Enter to Win $100 Gift Card From Amazon Ends 2/28/14

    • MrsTee Post author

      Eh! Band Fees! I can so relate to that and that is one of the reasons I didn\’t want him to work during the school year because between Band Events, Rehearsals and Parades I\’m not sure if or what job would even be able to work around all that. I think it\’s awesome that your daughter was able to do something and pay everything herself. What a sense of accomplishment she must have felt. I may suggest our school offering something like that as well. Until then, he will learn by working for me…LOL

  • MrsAngell13

    I don't have kids yet, but I totally follow this sentiment! I got my first job when I was 15, so that I could earn money for the "fun" things. My parents provided everything I needed, but anything extra or special was up to me- and it was a great lesson, because now I know the value of money!
    My recent post Its An Everyday Thing

  • dfgcdg

    There is so much I really want to say about this blog post, but it would definitely turn into a blog post by itself. In fact, I have written an answer to question you asked in a blog post somewhere on my blog already I'm sure.

    In a nut shell, I've been the one who worked all throughout high school and college, and am very independent as a result. I can stand on my two feet if need be. I choose to be a stay-at-home wife because my husband can provide for me. However, if it came down to it I could go get a job of my own.

    My brother was the spoiled rotten teenager and got everything he wanted simply by asking for it. He has been in jail more times than I care to count and feels like the world owes him something. As a result, he won't get off his tail end and make a life for himself. He hasn't achieved anything major in his life and he's in his 30's and still floating between both of his parent's home (my Dad and his mother.)

    So, I guess that gives you a bit of perspective from experience.

    • MrsTee Post author

      I can so relate to this scenario. I know relatives who were/are the same way. I refuse to allow my son to become someone who feels as if the world owes him a life. This is why I am trying to make the decision NOW to instill in him a good work ethic and sense of responsibility. Thanks so much for your insight. It is good to know I am making the right choices.

  • Tonia L. Clark

    I had to earn anything that was a 'want' and not a need since I was fairly young. At the time I thought it was unfair as my friends seemed to have all their wants met without earning them. I did odd jobs, babysitting and than when I was old enough I found summertime employment.
    What did that get me? Well let's just say, every item of clothing I bought, every album I purchased etc. I took REALLY good care of! And those kids who were given everything and never worked for anything ever? Most of them today have no idea what hard work is and have suffered because of it. They can't keep a job, they are in debt, in some cases they have broken the law to get what they wanted….stealing.
    I don't care if I'm a millionaire, my kids will always learn to earn so that they can take those skills into life and not become one of the thousands of kids today who think they are entitled to everything just because.
    My recent post The Best Gift Ever is a MOMS NIGHT OUT! #MNOMovie

    • MrsTee Post author

      I was raised the same way and you\’re right those I knew who weren\’t had no true value for things. This is why I am determined to instill value in my Kiddies even if they may technically have it \’better\’ than I did. The work ethics and determination I learned through my struggles was definitely worth it.

  • Wilma Jones

    I have two sons. My 21 year old didn't work until after he graduated high school. He was a pretty responsible kid and didn't have major issues like that. My younger son who is 16 loses everything. I threatened to make him get a job to make him be more responsible for his stuff. And I took the money for the last replacement phone from his savings account. Now he's broke. So I am with you 100%.

    Stopping by from the SITS girls comment love. http://www.LivingHappierAfter.com
    My recent post Better Not Bitter: Can We Talk About Family Court? (VIDEO)

    • MrsTee Post author

      Thanks Wilma, you’re right in that just like with your sons every child is different. Our middle son doesn’t loose ANYthing and he takes care of his things as if they are gold 😀 Yet the 20 and the 17 year old are on maybe their 5th phones! i think this is why it is so important to know your kids and be willing to adjust your strategy depending on their personality. You can’t have one solution for every issue 🙂

  • Tranae

    Sounds like he is learning a valuable lesson. I work during the summers while in high school but not during the year so I could focus on school. This might be a good compromise for your family. I agree that working while trying to go to school can be tiring.

    Stopping by for SITS GIRLS
    My recent post I Heart Red Velvet Cake

    • MrsTee Post author

      Thanks! He is a Senior so that was my plan initially and I still want him to be able to focus on his studies but I think having no phone for a while is having the impact I need to teach him this lesson. Thanks for coming by 🙂

  • dedivahdeals

    Yes, our youngest recently turned 18 and although he hasn't held a permanent job, he does hustle and works like taking care of the dog for a neighbor while on vacation and has learned how to barter – sneakers and tires are the in thing. We do however give him money for gas and pay for his car insurance and car payment. I just hope he understands that it takes hard work to get what his father and I have because I do tell him enough times!

    • MrsTee Post author

      Aaaah the hustle! God job! That\’s how we grew up too! This kid though..my kid…he sees snow or overgrown lawns and thinks \”hmm those people need to hire someone\” LMBO He is not a hustler BUT we have sent him out there anyway… 😀

    • MrsTee Post author

      Exactly! My son has lost and broken more things than I can probably remember. It becomes annoying after the 3rd cell phone LOL I know that earning what he gets will make the value more of a factor in how he takes care of his things.

      Thanks so much for coming by!

  • Rhonda

    I know we all struggle with this. Many of us are doing better (financially) than our parents are we want to give our kids all the creature comforts we can afford. But you are right, they have nothing invested (no sweat equity) so it's easy for them to shrug off irresponsibility.

    I'm really going to work this, they need accountability. Also they need to know that good feeling of working to get what they want, accomplishment. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • MrsTee Post author

      Yes Rhonda, it can be a true struggle. You want to give your children the ‘better’ things and provide what you may have missed out on but there is such a thin line between giving and actually teaching them how to appreciate what they are given.

      I hope we both find a balance 🙂 Thanks so much for coming by!