22 answers

Teenage Son Needs a Summer Job and Is Not Motivated

Have 3 teen age boys. First 2 have part time jobs in summer. Work hard, save money, have learned a lot since being in the working world. My husband and I have just told our 15 year old (youngest) he needs to think of a part-time job he can hold this summer.

Needs to work for someone besides us (b/c we argue a lot and he needs to report to another adult) and has to work at least 15 hours a week, so he doesn't sit around all summer in front on the computer. He is a great swimmer and could get trained & lifeguard, but he balks at any suggestion we make. (after all, we are stupid)

He doesn't receive an allowance from us, and the thought of not having fun/ clothing money or money for savings doesn't bother him. He says he'll just stay home, if he doesn't have money. He is a very good student and athlete, but is pretty shy and we wonder if the job search/ talking to strangers is what is making him resist. Or is it?

Any ideas on motivating a talented, but very introverted teen to get a first job?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks, everyone, for the help. We have done some research together and have come up with a list of 4 options for my son for summertime. As a 15 year old, by law, he can lifeguard, or teach swim lessons as an employee for someone else. The classes begin in 3 weeks, so we have a time element here, even though it's still winter. (Son #3 needs to work for someone else---he worked for us last summer and that was horrible.)
So he has until the last day of Spring Break to decide: lifeguard, teach swimming, volunteer in the nursery at church, or attend summer school! Thanks for all your help.

Featured Answers

Maybe he could be a camp counselor for a day camp with city parks and rec. dept. He'd get to be in charge of a bunch of younger kids who would look up to him and not be hovered over by the boss, as those people are usually back at the rec center office or something. Just a thought. Good luck!
(I'm the mom of three boys as well...yikes!)

2 moms found this helpful

Now I think my son was about 18 years old, and I was a single mom of 3 teens, when I had that problem. He's very intelligent, shy and lazy. But the only thing that motivated him was getting a speeding ticket that I wouldn't pay for!!!

He's now a 30 yr old married Network Administrator that travels the world and he's expecting his second child. Hang in there, this too shall pass!

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Dr Phil says, "If you don't have a job for the normal
8 hours in a work day, then looking for a job during
those 8 hours, is your job." Good time to think about
what his dream job would be and start planning to get the proper training or education for it. Also, good time to be
an apprentice to get the first hand experience and training in what he thinks he might want to be his chosen field.
If he's not earning money, learning skills is like "the
only alternative". Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Tell him he has 2 choices
#1- get a job
or
#2- go to summer school!
A lot of kids go to summer school to get ahead.
It is usually from 6 weeks and classes are usually from 7;30-1;30.
Tell him those are his choices.
Check on line at the school district you are him b/c summer school registration starts soon.
Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Now I think my son was about 18 years old, and I was a single mom of 3 teens, when I had that problem. He's very intelligent, shy and lazy. But the only thing that motivated him was getting a speeding ticket that I wouldn't pay for!!!

He's now a 30 yr old married Network Administrator that travels the world and he's expecting his second child. Hang in there, this too shall pass!

2 moms found this helpful

I think it's time for Mom and Dad to do some homework and be ready for a "teaching season" with son #3. I look back at my life with my two grown boys and see the teaching seasons (term coined by my older son). The seasons were/are harder with the younger.

First, gather all your information: Lifeguard classes times, cost, etc, as well as available lifeguarding jobs. This is something that your son would do ideally, but he is seeming hesitant, so you can do this much for him.

Second, find a good location for volunteer work that is "real" work. (ie: we donate to a food bank and resale shop that is always in need of dependable workers, rather than the drop in workers). Visit with the person a volunteer would report to.

Third, locate all the employment opportunities that you think he might be able to qualify for. Talk to your friends and see who knows of opportunities for kids his age.

Fourth, present it all to your son. "Staying home all summer is not an option. You are too gifted and capable to waste your mind and body. Are you going to A) go to lifeguard class and get a lifeguard job? B) work at one of these jobs (with forms in front of him) or C)volunteer 15 hours a week at the food bank/church/school (organization you have already located).

Even though he is old enough for all this he probably still feels like a 6 year old inside. (afterall, I still feel 12!) Don't let this become a parent vs. child issue. Developing a good work ethic is too valuable for that. Let him know that you are in it with him and that some employer will be lucky to have him as he works hard for them.

2 moms found this helpful

My mom made me pay half for any extra curriculars that I wanted to do. She ended up keeping and saving the money for me and I got it at graduation, but I didn't know that at the time. If I wanted to swim, or dance I had to work in the summer to pay for my "fair share."

I was a lifeguard. It was fantastic and actually how I met my husband. It is a good gig if you can get it.

I too was painfully shy. Sign him up for the class and drop him off. He will be forced to make friends and they will want him to work with him. It is a step that you can force him into that will break the ice.

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

Maybe he could be a camp counselor for a day camp with city parks and rec. dept. He'd get to be in charge of a bunch of younger kids who would look up to him and not be hovered over by the boss, as those people are usually back at the rec center office or something. Just a thought. Good luck!
(I'm the mom of three boys as well...yikes!)

2 moms found this helpful

You might want to give him the option of volunteering or working at a paying job during the summer. Both will get him out of the house and he can find something that interest him. Tell him that picking an activity is not optional, but he can decide if he would like to work for money, or volunteer his time with something that interest him. Maybe the fact that he gets to choose wil make him more likely to pick something without a fight because he has more control and options.

2 moms found this helpful

Life Guarding is a great way to meet (watch) girls all summer. He may want to rethink that one..You can practice the interview with him.. Also he could ask his friends that have jobs to recommend him to their boss. this also makes it easier to apply when you already know someone working there.

When I was 14 and 15 I used to watch children for a few days a week. I would prepare meals and walk them to their swimming lessons. We would play games and go to the library. My daughter has fed peoples pets for weeks at a time. She charges 10.00 per day per pet. She makes really good money. This includes bringing in their mail and newspapers, sometimes even watering a plant or too. This has even turned into a holiday thing for her. Since all our family is in town, we tend to stay here while everybody else goes away.. They know to call her.

My mom did a really funny thing when she wanted me to get a job.. One night when I had plans, she told me I could not leave the house till I filled out a few forms. She laid out 5 applications for jobs at Highland Mall. I filled them out so that I could go out with my friends.

The next week on a morning when it was a school day off (teacher wk day) she called me and told me to get dressed, nice, because she would be picking me up in 45 min, to take me to the mall for some interviews! I got dressed, she picked me up and dropped me off in front of the mall with my filled out forms, asked if I had money for lunch! Then said, call me when you get a job! No Kidding!

I went in and my first interview I got the job! I called my mom at work to tell her I had gotten a job, she had not even returned yet! So I told her secretary to tell her the good news and got some friends to take me home.. I loved that job. I learned so much..

My mom asked me if I wanted a car! I said yes, that would be great. She said "good cause I want you to have one, so I will make you a deal, you save money, as much as you can, and when you think you have enough, I will match it."(up to a certain amount, she was a single mom)!

I thought this was all very clever of her..

I am sure you have told your son this, but on his college applications, Volunteering and having jobs looks really good. Our daughter was a Presidential Volunteer for 4 years. She volunteered at her old elementary school during their summer camps. That alone was 3 weeks and between 90 to 120 hours of volunteering every year... She is now a freshman in college and has already contacted the school to volunteer this summer again.

2 moms found this helpful

It sounds like he's pretty into games ... if it were my son, I might suggest that seeing as he's living in my house, he's not allowed to be on the computer for the hours that he's supposed to be working, maybe even some time more than that, until he can grow up and do it.
Of course, he may like you to help him at first, though seeing as he thinks you're stupid, perhaps not.
Either way, find something that motivates him. If money isn't it, try to find other things that he enjoys and limit his time until he can find the motivation he needs to take the step.
Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

S.,
I don't think he is lazy, I think he is scared. I was at that age. And I failed at my first 2 jobs. Life as an adult was much easier.
You might want to look at his career interests and arrange for him to volunteer in an area that interests him. He could teach computer skills, teach swimming, work in a hospital. My son loved a TV show which revolved around hospitals and he volunteered in every capacity from patient transport to billing department and loved it.
I do agree that sitting home isn't an option, but with the economy so bad, he may not be able to find a paying job. My son was 15 during the last downturn and that is why he was a volunteer.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,
and yes, you are right- it does not get any easier when they are older. I thought the "terrible twos" went away aournd 3 or 4 but with most of my boys (all 8 of them) it lasted until they wer 22- no joke...........but for your 15 year old- some are just late bloomers- I would give him some "house duties" like keeping the yard mowed, kitchen cleaned and teach him to do his own laundry (if you haven't already)- run the sweeper and keep the garage cleaned- take out all the trash- basically take over most of the household chores for the summer- (he will balk) but he really can't get a job until he is 16 I don;t think- and by then he will be more ready- give him money for his efforts- he will "wake up" soon enough and get summer jobs- but it looks like right now he is just not ready to "become responsible" ..........the light will come on next year- and you will see a difference in his attitude.
It appears to me, since he is the youngest- he wants to just stay the youngest .......
he will be fine
good luck and
blessings

1 mom found this helpful

It's really hard when there isn't anything you can use as a "carrot". I have a 16 year old who has a lot of the same characteristics as your son, and we are hopeful he will get a job this summer. Will his friends be working? I found last year (when mine was 15) there aren't very many places who will hire at 15. I did hear that Amys Ice Cream would hire them. My son thinks he would like to learn to drive this summer and so, if I can find a driving school I can afford, it will be a motivation for him to earn part of the money. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Don't give his a choice. Tell him he has to have a job and set a deadline. If he is such a good swimmer he shouldn't have a problem getting certified as a life guard. With the job situation what it is, he might have a problem there, but there are lots of working parents who do not get off work in time to take their little ones for swim lessons. He could give private lessons. You said he's a good athlete...in what sport? He could also give private lessons there. Little boys in (or little boys dads) are always looking for someone who can work with their child on a one-to-one basis. Tell his to get off his lazy butt and get a job, that he has no choice. If you're so stupid, how do you manage to provide for him and his two brothers? He'll live off you as long as you let him.

1 mom found this helpful

It is possible that he may be developing some anxiety. He's getting to the age where any disorder may surface. Be sensitive to the fact that he's going through a tough time himself (puberty and all those weird first feelings) BUT still enforce the part time job. It will help if he is feeling anxious or depressed. Maybe make a deal with him..ask him if he'd like to have someone to talk to (besides you) and that you'll give him access to that resource when he gets a part-time job (unless you think he needs help stat but I don't think you do..He sounds like a great kid!) :) Good luck! Sounds like you're doing excellent for a mom of three!

1 mom found this helpful

WELL I AM NOT SURE WHAT TO TELL YOU CAUSE BOTH OF MY KIDS HELD JOBS ALL THRU HIGH SCHOOL & STAYED ACTIVE IN ALL SCHOOL FUNCTIONS. WORKED AFTER FOOTBALL PRACTICE TIL 6 OR 7.& ALL OR MOST WEEKENDS. BUT IF YOU COME UP WITH A SURE CURE PLEASE LET ME KNOW SO CAN HELP MY DAUGHTER BUILD A GOOD FIRE UNDER GRANDSON. HE IS 16, BARELY, & THINKS HE CAN JUST WORK WITH GIRLFRIENDS DAD A FEW HOURS ON WEKENDS & ALL WILL BE OK. HAS OWN CAR BUT IS SURELY NOT LOOKING !!!! NOW MY GRANDDAUGHTER WORK @ BROOKSHIRES & LOVES IT. THEY WORK AROUND ALL SCHOOL FUNCTIONS TOO. YOU MIGHT GET HIM TO TRY THERE, THEY PAY RATHER GOOD ALSO.
GOOD LUCK,
D.

1 mom found this helpful

I remember my mother pushing me to get a job as a teen, and it was very overwhelming. I am an introvert and a bit shy, so it was really hard to force myself to put in applications and speak to people about working for them. What finally became the answer for me was taking a vocational office education class at school my junior year. I learned skills and they sent me on the interviews; it really boosted my confidence because I got every job I interviewed for. I know your son probably doesn't have time for that during the school year, because of athletics, but if you could find some kind of course for him to take on Saturdays toward the end of the school year--something to teach interviewing techniques and perhaps some in-demand skills--it could really be a confidence booster for him. However, keep in mind the state of the economy at the moment; it probably isn't going to be as easy for him to find a summer job as it was for your older two. A friend told me her son, who is a high school senior, applied for a job at a new restaurant that hasn't opened yet. They told him they had received 1000 applications so far! There are a lot of people out of work right now, and a lot of recent college grads who can't find work, and they are all taking the jobs that would perhaps ordinarily go to teens. So don't be too hard on him if he gets discouraged. Also, an allowance might not be a bad idea...I have found with my older two (12 and 9) that giving them a bit of 'pocket money' every week has made them eager to figure out ways to get more money. I don't have any problem getting them to do extra chores if I tell them I'll give them a couple of dollars for it! Money can be a great motivator. Finally, all children develop at a different pace...while your other two sons may have been mature and responsible enough to hold down jobs at age 15, your youngest may not be quite ready. That's not his fault, it's just his developmental timetable. Does he have a girlfriend yet? That is usually a big motivator for boys too...when they start needing money to take their girlfriends on dates. You may just need to give him a bit more time. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like me when I was younger. Tell him he must get a job by such and such. If such and such is getting closer tell him you have a great job cleaning church toliets or picking up garbage on the side of the road. Something he wouldnt want to do. He could even get a yard mowing job. But he has to get something. I ended up working at a pizza place with a bunch of guys it was the funnest job I ever had!

1 mom found this helpful

Does your youngest look up to his older brothers? Maybe they can give him some suggestions and talk to him about what they did to prepare for their first job. You could talk to the older ones and give them the information that you would like to have passed on to your youngest so he won't know that it's coming from you. Maybe since they are closer to his age, he won't think they are as "stupid" as he thinks you are. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I didn't even read past Tara E's suggestion. That's pretty much it for me too. Got call the Red Cross Lifeguard course and certification (doesn't take anything to pass if you are a good swimmer, but he needs to have it layed before him. One fun day of that, you won't be motivating him anymore. He'll do it himself.

1 mom found this helpful

I think that expecting a 15 year old to work during the summer is unrealistic. I can understand wanting him to do something productive with his summer, and perhaps suggesting various local charities he can donate time to would be a better alternative. That would be a whole nother mamasource post because I'm sure there are lots of ideas out there! He should check the YMCA for their junior counselor program and their other youth work programs- the YMCA is a lot of fun to work for and he gets a free membership!

My mom got me to work by saying if I didn't pay $200 a month rent I couldn't live there. She also wouldn't take me anywhere (even Walmart to buy necessities) unless I paid taxi fair. That's a negative way to motivate, but it did work.

Maybe he's not ready yet. There is still a few months until summer maybe by then he'll find something. If you push to much your going to make it worse! He is after all 15, would you expect him to find his own apartment as well? If you expect for him to be "typical teen" he will be. Just treat him with respect and he will return it.

Morning S.;
At this point I think the law is in his favor. It seems to
me that they passed a law (stupid) that a kid has to be 16
to work in an organized jobs, like grocery story, McDonalds,
Windy's ect.
I started working at 13 in a grocery store for 30cents an
hour plus tips! Of course there are no tips today for grocery boys but it still was a great learning experience!
Talk to the grocery store manager where you buy groceries and ask him, most use extra help. But, that 16 law may get
you!
Also, does he have a Social Security number, that is necessary!
Good Luck,
B. C.

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