What Do You Do When Your Teen Won't Get a Job?

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I blame myself.

No actually I blame people who are parenting kids born in the early to mid 90's.

We messed up. We did it wrong. We shouldn't have listened to the "experts." I think we should have parented more like our parents did than how we were told was a "better way." I am of course speaking about the way we have parented our children who were born between 1992 and 1996.

Those who are legally able to work and who have either graduated from high school or will shortly graduate from high school. I have to first say I Googled, "What do I do when my teen refuses to get a job." The websites I found were not much help. A couple said things like, "You need to give your teenager positive motivation and explain to them the benefit of having a job." I don't think this will work, in fact I think that kind of "only positive reinforcement parenting" is partly what got us into this mess in the first place.

 

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We have become a society that coddles its kids. We never let them fail, we never let them scrape their knees, we never let them fall. And by doing this we never teach them how to be self-reliant! How can they learn to recover from a setback if we never let them have any setbacks?

I experienced this firsthand with Bluebell's daughter. She was struggling in school. Mainly because she didn't do any work. And I mean to say she really did not do ANY work. She was in danger of not graduating high school. At the very last minute so that she would graduate, one of her teachers changed her grades from 0's to 50's so she would indeed get a passing grade. I have to say honestly that I had mixed feelings about that. On one hand I wanted her to be held accountable for her lack of action, however, on the other hand, I didn't want her to have to spend another year in school, and I knew she would end up dropping out and would not have her high school diploma. In the long run, not having a high school diploma was a far worse thing than not being held accountable for ignoring your schoolwork. So she was "passed" and graduated.

With my own children, especially with Joe Cool, the older of my two, I have noticed that I let him slide on some things and he doesn't always learn about accountability. Looking back at it now, I realize I have been too much of a "helicopter parent," and need to back off some so he can learn to make his own decisions, bad or good. I think it is not too late for me as he is only 15, so I am taking on this challenge for the good of my son.

I have digressed some, so let me get back on track. I think that somehow we as parents have imparted to the youth between the ages of 16 and 20(ish) that they can pick and choose what jobs they want and that they are entitled to always being taken care of. We did such a good job caring for them that they haven't learned how to take care of themselves.

These are some of the things I hear from Bluebell's son The Hunter who is 17, "But I don't want to work in the fast food industry." "I applied online, that is good enough." "Why should I call the manager?" etc etc etc.

Bluebell's son is 17 and has been "looking for a job" for about 6 months. His looking consists of applying for jobs online. He has called a few of the places he has applied to, and they tell him to call back next week. He does this usually two times, then gets frustrated and gives up.

I have tried to tell him that he should not be picky when looking for a job. I have told him to apply everywhere. I have told him to walk the mall to look for a job. The answer I received regarding that suggestion was, "I don't want to go to the mall by myself." I was like, "What are you talking about, this is not a social excursion. You are looking for a job. That is a one person thing to do. NOT a group."

I have told him to borrow my car and go to the places he has applied to and meet with the manager. That way the manager can see that he is a clean-cut, polite teenager and it will give him a leg up on his competition. Has he done it? NO!! Are you kidding? I am offering the kid my car to borrow to do this. Most teens would JUMP at that opportunity! Not him...

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