- The gap between their needs and wants is widening. For example, it is no longer enough to buy them "sneakers." They need to have Nike Air this-or-that and adidas Prime Knit something-or-other. And they wear man sizes (one of them wears a 14).
- The two drivers are responsible for their car insurance.
- My oldest is actually an adult now, so it's time for him to pay for his own gas and cell phone.
- I no longer want to hand them cash every time they go out with their friends. However, I did help my middle son extensively with his prom expenses.
- They don't do significant chores, so I don't give them an allowance.
- My older two have both worked full time in the summer; last summer they did not, even though I suggested adding hours, repeatedly. I have snooped into their bank accounts and talked to them about budgeting, which brings me to another reason: they need to learn how to manage money. Fine, if you don't want to work full time: you'll have to cut back on your expenses. You might have to get a job at college.
- My youngest gets paid to cut his dad's lawn. He will be old enough to referee hockey games or work at McDonald's or a supermarket next summer. And since he seems to have outgrown summer camp, I will be "strongly encouraging" a job to ensure he's busy and productive.
- They need to learn a sense of responsibility and to balance school, work, and leisure.
In many cases, their jobs have taught them lessons about how to deal with the public, how to manage conflict, how to get along with people they wouldn't normally hang out with (other ages, other cultures, people with special needs), and how to advocate for themselves.
Then, there's also that special sense of pride you get when you've earned your own money. Money is power -- not in terms of the wallet bully, e.g., he who has the money is the boss -- but in the sense that when you have money, you have choices. They have choices about their needs and wants and whether they want to go out to eat with their friends or buy that new Xbox game. Are they okay with the cheap sneakers I'll pay for or do they want to add on the extra $40-plus for the name brand?
These are some of the reasons my teens have jobs. Do your teens have jobs?