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Family Money

With homework and extracurricular activities, is there enough time left in the day for an after school job, too? There are several things to consider when helping your teen decide if an after school job is right for them. Be sure to hash out the pros and cons before saying yay or nay.

I remember when I was in high school, I thought about getting an after school job. I scoped out jobs at an ice cream shop, grocery store and dry cleaners in the local strip mall within walking distance of my house. After much thought, I took a job at a Chinese restaurant as a hostess on the weekends.

While I wasn't expected to work, I liked the idea of financial independence and prided myself on taking the initiative of being more responsible. When I started working, I only worked 4 hours on a Saturday evening, but by the end of high school I added more hours on Friday and Sunday nights. Twelve hours on the weekends was plenty of time and the pay was pretty good for this teenager.

When deciding on a job, I figured out that an after school job would not have been optimum for me since I was juggling practice, tutoring and clubs. And the days I didn't stay after school, I still had a heavy homework load and a 30 minute bus ride. It really didn't leave much time for anything else, much less an after school job.

That being said, points to consider when talking to your teen about getting a job:

• Will it interfere with their course load and/or after school activities?
• How will they get to/from work?
• What are your expectations for spending, giving and saving for your teen? How do they plan to divvy up their paycheck?

It is also important to discuss if they have to get a job to help with family finances and/or do they want a job and why. Allow your teen the opportunity to argue their case and either way support their decision. They may surprise you!

My job may not have been a great choice for my social life, but it certainly kept me out of (some) trouble and helped teach me punctuality, reliability and financial prowess.

Nikki Ducas is a Fredericksburg mom of two boys, a 5-year-old and 18-month-old. She is always thinking about economics and uses her time as teachable moments.

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