Summers As A Teenager

I don’t know about the majority of teenagers out there but when I was 15 years old I started to work every summer. I saved money to supplement my parents putting me through four years of college, and after I graduated with a B.A., I worked full-time to put myself through grad school.

My son, who is 20, works part-time during the school year – 20 hours a week – to pay for his car insurance and any extras he needs for eating out, going to the movies, things like that. He takes 12 units per semester which is considered full-time. This summer he’ll be taking one or two classes, one online class and one regular class, for six weeks. I mentioned to him that when I was his age I worked full-time in the summers, i.e. forty hours a week, though I wasn’t going to school. I suggested he take on more work hours to supplement his income.

Well, I doubt THAT’S going to happen.

I’ve read a ton of information about how young kids today expect more for working a lot less, but I never have been faced with this in my own family. I don’t like to make generalizations because that’s just what they are – oversimplified deductions about an issue that’s not true in all cases. But it seems that in this case, the generalization may fit my son to a tee.

Does he actually expect us to pay for four to six years of college all by ourselves? We don’t qualify for financial aid and guess what? We don’t have 100,000 dollars in the bank just waiting to be spent on sending him to college and living in the dorms either.

What do you all think?

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Posted on May 30, 2014, in Blog Posts. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Holy Cow, Patti. I love when you and Christy talk teenagers. What the ??? So maybe you are a boomer, maybe some of you are boomers or Gen-Xer’s … you never heard of pay forward, teach them responsibilities?? I mean taking out the trash, dishes and doing their own laundry is a given, work is a must. You are not doing any of them a favor and being a full time student and a full time single parent … I was grateful that my parents gave me the boot as a teen to get out and earn my keep.

    Lots of parents start the kids out with jobs like paper routes, babysitting, fast food joints, and by the time they have half an education,they could have have a thinking job.

    Sorry, but I can’t help myself. You and your husband should have talked about this with them when they were in grade school. It’s not only about money … it’s about learning to be responsible … to be a productive member of the village that’s raising them … and if you truly love them … teach them how to survive without you. Or you’ll end up like a good friend of mine with a forty-year-old bachelor in your attic, still waiting for mom to delivery his laundry and raiding your frig at 3am.

    Love you and want to see you and the hubby enjoy those golden years. Start immediately, if not sooner, and get him out the door. It’s like the writing … show not tell. Don’t ask … tell 🙂

    • Thanks for the advice, Florence. As Janna says, there is most definitely a sense of entitlement going on with the upcoming generation. (My daughter isn’t like that, but she’s just different from my son.) My son has been fighting the “chore thing” since it was instituted way back when and the only reasoning I can give for that must be that entitlement thing My husband and I do work around the house obviously, but for some reason that didn’t make a difference to him all those years that he’s been watching it. I must say, there’s no book for raising kids!! I was raised “not” doing chores. My mother handled literally everything in the house, yet I don’t have that feeling of entitlement. Go figure, right? An interesting dilemma. My son IS doing what we asked him, I must say. We told him that he had to work and get a job and that’s what he’s doing. But there most definitely is an “attitude” that we’re putting him out! What does not help is that all his friends’ parents are paying for their kids’ car insurance (we make our son pay for his) and all his friends’ parents bought their kids cars (we did not) and on and on. Makes it very difficult to raise him the way we want to, for sure.

  2. Janna Qualman

    I don’t have any decent insight, since my own kids are young and I haven’t put significant thought into their working and college years yet… I don’t know what the right answer is.

    Times are definitely different, and I think the biggest part of that difference in a sense of entitlement in younger generations. How did that happen?

    • You are so right, Janna. My husband and I have been talking about this “entitlement” thing for years. As I said to Florence, our son makes us feel as if we’re “putting him out” when we have him do simple things like chores. And paying for things is very hard (though we’re trying!) because of the way all his friends’ parents are raising their children. AACK!

  3. Patti, my son starts his first job on Monday at Dairy Queen. I can’t wait for him to work hard, earn a pay check, and then use that pay check to fill up the gas tank and buy his own goodies. I also can’t wait until he sees how much money is taken out of his paycheck.

    Here is a link to a message from Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs. I think this applies to this generation and could help. http://profoundlydisconnected.com/mike-gives-dear-abby-advice-to-a-fan/

    Our kids are spoiled–no question. The earlier they work, the sooner they realize life is tough and they need to be able to count on themselves.

  4. Wow, while I was reading that post, I could hear Mike Rowe’s voice in my head. He has an amazing voice. Okay, off topic… 🙂

    Sometimes it’s just a matter of tough love, Patti. Our boys HAD TO do everything around the house. They started doing dishes and vacuuming at 4 & 5 (no, I wasn’t a mean mom, they just wanted to help), but later when their desire to help faded, they HAD TO continue to share in the responsibility of the household chores. It’s important, whether or not the principle caregiver (usually the mom) works in or out of the house b/c it teaches them responsibility, and someday when they find the person they’ll spend the rest of their life with, how to exist as a couple.

    And will you feel like the biggest meanie in the world? Absolutely, which is really sad, but oh-so-true. There’s a lot of guilt that comes with “forcing” your kids to do something, but in the end, when they’ve actually matured (which, even though they’re capable of taking care of themselves in their late teens and early twenties, actual maturity really doesn’t set in until somewhere around their mid-thirties), they begin to understand WHY you did these things to them.

    As long as they know you love them, that’s the most important thing in the world. 🙂

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