Many teenagers gain valuable experience, learn skills, and improve self-confidence by working. In the meantime, working teenagers also face some risks. Because working teenagers are young and have no or less social and work experience, they are more likely to get hurt at work than adults. Parents, employers and young workers should work together to ensure that work is a safe and positive experience for teens.
Here are some suggestions parents may take to help your working teenagers stay safe and gain good experience at work.
Before teenagers starting work
1. Learn the child labor laws and make sure the teen knows them well
Federal and state child labor laws are designed to restrict the working environments, tasks and hours that teens work. They act as a basic rule to protect working teens. However, different country, different state has different laws. Parents should do research carefully.
2. Decide what kind of job is acceptable
Depends on each teen’s individual and family needs, bottom line is safety and health first.
3. Set limits on working hours
Studies have shown that working teenagers who work more than 20 hours a week or work late at night are less alert in class and less prepared, which lead to bad school performance. Working long hours and/or late also affects teens’ health.
4. After the teen passed the interview, talk with him or her about the job
For example, ask the teen about what tasks he or she is asked to do? Whether the teen will be trained to do the assigned tasks safely? Whether the workplace looks safe?
5. Go to the possible workplace and meet the supervisor
Walk around to confirm it is a safe place. Ask the supervisor of your working teenagers where he or she is while your teens are working and get his or her contact information. If possible talk with the future co-workers as well.
After teens started working
1. Remind your working teenagers safety rules frequently
For example, to follow federal and state child labor laws and other safety rules and tips.
2. Talk about his or her job and feeling about the job frequently
For example, whether the employer follows federal and state child labor laws? Whether the teen gets along with co-workers?
3. Go to your teens’ workplace when he or she is working several times
Confirm that he or she works safely and observe the teen’s workplace, be aware of any unsafe factors.
4. Talk about your working teenagers’ concerns
For example, whether he or she feels overloaded? Is there any difficulty?
5. Contact related agencies if need additional help
Government and law offices have more assistance to protect working teenagers.
To learn more about protecting your working teenagers and improve your parenting skills, please refer to great parenting books.