Wow! For a few years now we’ve been reading story after story about the dismal economy. And yes, I am concerned enough about myself. But I feel confident that if I continue to show my value to my employer, things will be just fine.
It’s my children that I really worry about. With a son in high school and a daughter in middle school, I worry about them making all the right moves to make their career starts successful.
So what can a concerned parent do? Well, here are a few things my wife and I have done, and a couple of added factors leaning in their favor:
- My wife and I have very closely monitored our kids’ progress in school, from grades K-6 specifically. After that, they have shown the discipline instilled in them to pretty well succeed on their own.
- Make the kids do chores on a regular, set schedule. Yes, we do give a modest allowance, but nothing exorbitant. I think this helps to instill a work ethic and learning the value of a dollar.
- We do not buy our kids whatever they want on a whim. We do treat our kids now and then, but not every little (or big) thing they ask for. Also, if they want something expensive, ridiculous, or both, they have to save their own money to make the purchase (e.g. a two-wheeled skateboard, expensive gym shoes).
- We laid down the ultimatum that they must have some kind of job (working for family or relatives doesn’t count) by age 16. If they know this several years in advance, they know that it is a reality that WILL happen, without exception. Some parents would argue that 16 is too young, others too old, which is okay. We just felt that we needed to make our expectations very clear on this. And no, playing sports does not excuse you from this expectation. Even mowing the lawn for a neighbor counts as a job, and any teenager can squeeze that in during summer vacation.
- My kids’ competition for jobs is pretty light, I think, judging from the lazy and spoiled attitudes of their counterparts.
- Beginning when they are very young, keep talking to the kids about school, work, careers, and work ethic.
- Keep abreast of the trends in careers with growth potential, and give that information to your kids. They need to know what careers and college majors have the most potential, and which ones are dead ends.
And so here we are at the point when my son, after much nagging, finally got his first “real” job, so I consider that to be the first big step behind us. And his much younger sister, who is more desirous of money, is working on her babysitting brochure as we speak.
If you read the following articles, and others like them, things do not look good for today’s youth. But I will never give up on the idea that if they want to work, and have a strong work ethic and character, kids can succeed even in these trying times.
Employment Rate For Young Adults Lowest In 60 Years, Study Says – Huffington Post – 4/12/12
25 College Majors with the Highest Unemployment Rates – CBS News – 11/16/11
The 10 Fastest Dying Industries in America – Business Insider – 4/11/12