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Parents believe there are pros and cons to teens having a job


There are mixed feelings when it comes to teenagers having a job, according to over 1000 parents surveyed in a recent C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll.

Teenager working at supermarket | Image Credit: © moodboard - © moodboard - stock.adobe.com.

Teenager working at supermarket | Image Credit: © moodboard - © moodboard - stock.adobe.com.

A recent C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health revealed parents of teenagers have mixed feelings about their child working. Aspects such as money management, self-esteem, social life balance, sleep, and grades were included in the nationally based poll. Results suggest parents’ views on their teenager working vary among age groups, how many hours their teen works and how the money they earned is spent.

According to the poll, the findings were presented from a nationally representative household survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, LLC for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The poll was administered during February 2023 to a randomly selected, stratified group of adults that were parents to at least 1 child aged 0 to 18 years living in their household (n = 2100). The subject sample was selected from KnowledgePanel and closely represents the US population, according to the poll, which was subsequently weighted to reflect population figures from the Census Bureau.

Among panel members contacted to participate, there was a 62% completion rate. This C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll is based on responses from 1017 parents with at least 1 child aged 14 to 18 years, with a margin of error for results at 1 to 7 percentage points or greater.

Parents surveyed deemed several factors as very important when deciding if a job was appropriate for their teenager. Whether hours fit with their child’s schedule was very important to 87% of parents, while 68% felt the convenience of getting them to and home from work was very important. The job providing a learning experience for their child was considered very important to 54% of parents, 34% stated paying rent was very important, and 25% of parents considered potential coworkers of their teenager was an important factor to whether they should get a job. Most parents considered themselves very (29%) or somewhat (52%) informed about state laws for teenage employment, according to the poll.

For parents of teenagers aged 18 years, 53% state their child has a formal job, higher than the 42% of parents of teens 16 to 17 years and 8% of parents of teens aged 14 to 15 years.For parents of teenagers with a job, 26% estimate their child works 20 or more hours per week. When their teenager collects their pay, 82% of parents said money is spent on personal items, 29% said money is spent on activities, 75% state it goes to savings, and 8% say their child helps with family expenses.

Parents believe working during teenage years has a positive impact on several factors. For their teenager’s money management, 76% say a job has been a positive impact. Parents also believe positive impacts from teenage employment are time management (63%) and social life (28%). Parents believe sleep (16%), activities (11%), social life (11%) and grades (4%) can be negatively impactedby their teenagers’ jobs. Teens have experienced a problem on the job according to 44% of parents. Responses state 26% of parents believe their child isn’t getting the number of hours promised, 18% said their child worked more hours or later hours, 14% of parents said disagreements with coworkers or management was an issue, 6% felt there were unsafe situations in the workplace, and 6% cited incorrect or delayed payment was an issue for their teenager.

While there are demonstrated pros and cons for parents of teenagers that do have a job, parents of teens that do not have a job also expressed concerns. Of these parents, 44% stated having a job could hurt their child’s grades, 44% said having a job could negatively impact their child’s activity participation, sleep (42%), or social life (23%).

For parents of teenagers that do not have a formal job aged 16 to 18 years, 42% expect them to acquire a job in the next 6 months. For parents of teens aged 14 to 15 years, 22% expect their child to get a job in the next 6 months. Parents state being too busy (34%), transportation (27%), lack of available jobs for teenagers (14%), helping at home (6%), school (5%), or health (4%) are all factors that could keep their teens from getting a job.


Parents see upsides and downsides to teen jobs. National Poll on Children’s Health. April 17, 2023. Accessed April 17, 2023. https://mottpoll.org/reports/parents-see-upsides-and-downsides-teen-jobs

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