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Job at 14 - Good or Bad?

I -think- I was 13 when I had my first job in rural Indiana.  Might have been 14, but think 13.  My grandfather put me up to it.  I wanted a snow mobile.  Remember snow?  Anyway, my grandfather said he would match me dollar for dollar as long as I earned my dollars.  Couldn't be from my parents or a gift.  First I shoveled neighbors driveways that winter.  The in the summer, I got a job detastling corn for Pioneer Seed.  I think since it was agricultural work and during the summer / school break there was an exemption for the regular age limit.  I remember I needed a work permit from the school and parents.

One of the farm bills under the last administration would have severely limited agriculture exemptions.  The Future Farmers of America 4 H, and other like organizations got it amended but it almost went threw.  It had so many rules, kids would have been about unable to work the family farm. 

I get it.  They want to protect the children.  But do you suppose all these rules on kids having jobs might actually be doing more harm than good?  Hate to say it, but it is not out of hate, my brother is about useless when it comes to anything labor intense.  He had a different youth because my father got sick and died while I was off in the military.  Not trashing him.  He was there for my mom.  The man of the house and all.  But he did not labor as a child.  As a result, he is not much of a work horse today.

So what do you think?  Work is good for a kid?  Asking because evidently in Kentucky the only thing that keeps a kid from working at 14 is that the schools usually say no.  My 14 year old wants to work at a local ice cream shop.  She is home schooled so the school ( me ) can easily approve the work permit.  No in truth, between driving her there for four hour shifts and other considerations it will probably cost more for her to have a job, but from her perspective it is earning.  I think that might outweigh the bad.

Thoughts???
 
I detastled in Nebraska at 13 and was emancipated at 15 so I could get exemptions to work because my mom was a junky and I needed a way to fend for myself. My parole officer helped me through the process and even helped me find places that would give me a chance. Its super hard to get a job thats not fast food at that age. Even McDonalds didnt want me.
 

Edmick

Staff Member
Moderator
Extreme Member
I was working summer and winter break jobs since I was 14 for friends and family. It teaches kids good work ethic. I was able to buy the bicycle I had my eye on and able to buy all my family Christmas gifts. It was a very rewarding feeling for me. It made me feel really proud to buy my own stuff and be able to buy my family presents around the holidays.
 
I grew up a city boy, but I spent a few summers between 12 and 15 working on my grandfathers dairy farm, baling hay, milking cows, general farm stuff.
 
Had a 100 customer paper route for a year at 14.
 
I think all kids should hold a job as soon as they're mature enough to understand the responsibility. It does so much more than just build work ethic, it also builds communication skills, helps with decision making, learning to deal with the public, builds confidence and a feeling of self worth. The biggest thing she'll get is pride and a sense of accomplishment knowing that she earned that paycheck.  
 
You're right about the cost to get her there compared to the money she'll make but consider it well worth the cost.
 
Cut her loose, your little girl is growing up!! Enjoy the journey!!
 

salsalady

Business Member
I worked in the fields (berries, bulbs) probably starting at 11 or 12.  Technically started in a café as a dishwasher when I was 13 years old, 2 weeks before my 14th birthday.  Worked up to a picking job on a cucumber machine...that was definitely a step up! ...at age 14-15-16-ish.  Rode my bike to most jobs until I got my drivers license.  Fortunately, most jobs were within a couple miles of home.  
 
Evan wanted to work as soon as he could and got himself a job in a dinner restaurant 10 miles away before he could drive.  So...he took the bus there after school, and Mom (me) picked him up sometime between 9:00 and Midnight.  Yea, it sucked having to sit there and wait until he was off shift.  But it was temporary, and he moved on to other and better jobs...and a Driver's License!!  :woohoo:
 
If you can swing it, let her work.  She may not like the job and quit, might get rides from other workers.... 
 

Sawyer

Extreme Member
I agree with everyone else; let her work.

I know there must have been a time I didn't work, but I don't remember it. I pretty much grew up in the tomato fields during summer vacations. Rode my bike to collect bottles from the road ditches for the deposit. Saved all my allowance (25¢/week... yes, I'm old) that wasn't given, but earned by doing chores. Drove an old Ford 9N tractor as soon as I was big enough to stand astraddle the gear box, snaking sawlogs out of the woods. (Legs weren't long enough to sit in the seat and reach the pedals.)

Bought a Shetland pony for $50 when I was... well, I don't remember, less than 10, I imagine. Bought my first center-fire rifle for $125 when I was 12. Winchester Model 94 Teddy Roosevelt commemorative. Still had it until a few years ago when someone kicked in my front door while I was away and stole it.
 
We are too rural for newspaper delivery, but I remember before we moved out here they were getting rid of kids.  Someone in Ohio decided it was too dangerous for kids to deliver the newspaper.  It really does seem like society is hell bent against kids having jobs.
 
D3monic said:
I detastled in Nebraska at 13 and was emancipated at 15 so I could get exemptions to work because my mom was a junky and I needed a way to fend for myself. My parole officer helped me through the process and even helped me find places that would give me a chance. Its super hard to get a job thats not fast food at that age. Even McDonalds didnt want me.
 
I grew up working the farm in Nebraska.  Never detassled - I was always walking bean or milo fields, cutting shattercane.  A knife in each hand, long sleeve flannel, start at first light, done by 11 am, when it was unbearable to be out any longer.
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The question was, "is having a job at 14 good or bad?"  My reply is, why would anyone wait so long to work?  A culture is defined by its work ethic.  We used to be hard workers.  We're not anymore.  Correlation?
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I have had a paying job in some capacity since I was about 9 or 10, when my father and I used to raise vegetables, and sell them to local markets.  We split it equally.
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When I think back on that experience, what came out of it for me, was that although I always keep hard work as a back-up option, I ultimately went to school, and got degrees in mathematics and engineering, because I never wanted to HAVE TO work that hard.  On the flip side...  I work a lot of contract jobs.  I like seeing and doing new things, all the time.  I like traveling to places away from my home to work, so that I can vacation and experience places that I might not otherwise have the time/money to experience.  BUT... between jobs, when I get bored, I often still pick up a shovel, and go work my buddy's Mexican/Haitian crew, moving plants, installing landscape, hardscaping, etc, etc.  I always have it in the back of my mind, that I have all the tools that I need to ALWAYS be able to make some kind of money.  I can never use the excuse that, "there's no work for me".  If I don't have work, I can either invent it, or lower my standards. 
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When you ask if my experience was good or bad, I'll tell you that I've worked hard enough to not want to work hard - but I'm not afraid of it, either.  Verdict: good.
 
It's funny this came up...  Had the money talk with my daughter yesterday.
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I started telling both of my kids at age 10, that they had better start saving ALL of their money for a car.  Because 16 comes quick, and I don't buy my kids things like that.  My son didn't listen.  He ended up not having a car until he was 17.  And he worked for every penny of it.  Now, he's amazing with money.  He had to think about what I said, how it played out, and realizes that he never wants to have to play catch-up again.
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We are not uptight parents, and like to mix a bit of humor with reverse psychology in our parenting method.  In that vein, I keep telling my daughter that trailers (in the trailer park) are cheap but not free, and she'll have to start her stripping career early, if she doesn't start saving soon. :D 
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Am I a jerk for being hard with the kids?  Maybe.  Let's ask everyone involved when they're 30.
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Your life's rewards tomorrow, are dictated by the choices you make today.  And nobody gets anything for free!
 
We were poor.  I started roofing houses to help my family when I was 12 because I was big for my age and "don't ask don't tell" is standard practice in cash businesses with a lot of migrant labor.  ;)  They didn't have the conveyor belts back then, so every day after school someone from the crew would pick me up and I would haul 88 pound bundles of shingles up a ladder on my shoulder until dark.  By the time I actually was old enough to work on the books, I already had marketable trade skills, was carved out of freaking stone, and had purchased/rebuilt my own car.
 
I started working at 14. My parents didn't force me, but they said "if you want stuff, you need to work for it." I worked during the school year and every summer starting from that point - I loved working in the summer because I got great jobs - helping janitors at my local schools, working on an army base (later on). It gave me a good work ethic. My daughter is 11 and she told me she wants to work. While I appreciate her desire to work for the things she wants, I told she needs a few years. 
 
Same here! My daughter is eleven and keeps saying she wants a job. I told her to write a letter to her congressman telling him she doesn't like child labor laws.
 
Ghaleon said:
Same here! My daughter is eleven and keeps saying she wants a job. I told her to write a letter to her congressman telling him she doesn't like child labor laws.
 
There are lots of clever ways that kids can eek out discretionary incoming, without falling afoul of child labor laws.
 
Suggestions:
 
garage sales
personally made crafts
resale of items purchased at wholesale
craigslist sales (from reclaimed items - i.e., dumpster dives)
tutoring
babysitting
etc, etc, etc.
 
I taught my kids at a very young age, to make money in the easiest ways that they can, using only the skills that they have, at a given point in their life.  When they were really little, I taught them to look for change on the floor at the grocery store register.  Stupid little thing, but it primes the pump.  Then, when they got older, I taught them to sell the things they don't use anymore on Craigslist.  Once they got familiar with that system, I taught them to keep an eye out for things that wasteful people throw away.  (I live right on the edge of a very upscale community)  Then, when they both displayed a propensity for art, I suggested that they hire out their talent.  Making gifts, custom cards, etc, etc.
 
I really don't want children begging me for money when they're 30.  :D
 

Edmick

Staff Member
Moderator
Extreme Member
A lot of the christmas tree farms around here have kids that work for tips carrying trees out to peoples cars. I made a few hundred bucks just in one week doing that when I was a kid. You can pretty much come and go as you please but the more you come, the more you make. Interesting concept huh?
 
We do a yard sale with the toys they don't play with anymore and, since it came from their stuff, the money is theirs.
 
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