For the longest time, my teen daughter Delila thought I was her personal ATM. I take part of the blame for indulging her since she was a toddler and able to bat her adorable eyes at me. Now that she was well into her teens, I felt it was time she started learning one of the fundamental pillars of teen independence—financial independence.
I encouraged her to look for part-time gigs or summer jobs and was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. My daughter went from spending hours in front of the TV binge-watching her favorite shows to learning the ropes of holding down a job. Gone was the teen who used to ask me for cash, and in her place was a young adult who was slowly learning new ways to save her own money.
The experience hasn’t been without stress, as she’s now more tired and somewhat moodier than before. Out of concern, I asked if she felt that the stress of the job was taking a toll on her and whether she wanted to pull the plug. To my surprise, she declined and said that she was loving the experience, fatigue and all.
As a parent, I couldn’t be more proud as I watched her develop through her work. Here are some of the key changes I noticed after she started her first job.
She became more resilient.
Watching my daughter negotiate the drama of working with others and juggling the demands of a job in the service industry, I’ve noticed that she’s become a more resilient young adult. She has this newfound confidence and spring in her step that comes from facing challenges and dealing with them.
She learned new skills.
Jobs help young people to develop a range of skills and Delila was no different. From learning how to get along with others and working as a team to dealing with conflict and answering to authority, she’s learning as she goes.
She saw—and understood—the value of money and branding
My daughter has gone from throwing a tantrum when I wouldn’t give her cash for the latest sneakers to reconsidering dropping $60 on a new pair of pants. Recently, she surprised me by saying how some branded items were just the same as their generic counterparts, only with fancier names. It seems that getting a job made her a savvier consumer—something I’d been trying to do for years.
She developed a strong work ethic.
Previously, I couldn’t get Delila to commit to any task without enduring a lot of grumbling. These days, she does her share of household chores and even takes on more responsibility. Additionally, she loves not only showing up to work on time but also talking about her job to anyone who’d listen.
She became a role model for her younger siblings.
I used to worry about the example she was setting for her younger siblings but not anymore. After watching their sister going to work and seeing the rewards, my younger kids want in on the action, no doubt spurred on by the thought of having their own money to spend. But I’m not complaining—especially not after I overheard them budgeting their allowance.
Watching my daughter bloom into young adulthood courtesy of getting a job has been a rewarding experience, and I can’t wait to see how it works out for the rest of my brood.