Why My Teens Can’t Get a Job

I’m venting tonight because I can, and because I know that I am not the only parent who has dealt with this particular set of problems.

You know what makes my blood boil?

Teenagers who beg you to let them get a job somewhere, but then only halfway do their work around the house. (Don’t even get me started on slacker attitudes toward school work…)

Not only do they half-do the work, but they won’t take the initiative to notice that it needs doing. (Even though they know what tasks they’re assigned to each week.)

Spaghetti sauce splatters on the stovetop? Why, yes–cleaning them up is actually part of cleaning the kitchen! So don’t tell me you’re done when you clearly aren’t.

Boxes, bottles, and bags stacked beside the trashcan, ALL DAY LONG, and you just walked right by it a dozen times?

Fine. Then don’t get huffy with me when I make you go out in the dark at 10:00pm to carry out what you should’ve done on your own at noon.

Then, when you remind them that the act of working responsibly is simply a “Life 101” lesson, (because a boss isn’t going to let them ignore or half-do their jobs) they have the audacity to reply:

“Well, they’ll be paying me, and I’m not getting paid to do this.”


Did you eat today? How many times? How much of that food did you pay for?

Were you warm? Where did that heat and those clothes come from?

Where are you sleeping tonight? Oh, yeah– in that bed that belongs to me.

Who paid the for the electricity powering that Xbox you’re so eager to get back to?

How much did you contribute to the Internet bill that connects you with your friends?


You get paid.

You get “paid” more than a student your age will be able to earn at some little part-time job.

You want to work somewhere outside the home? Fine. Bring your grades and your chore performance up to my (very realistic) standards, and we’ll talk seriously about it.

Until then, remember: you keep approaching work like a little kid, you’re going to be treated like one.

And little kids aren’t allowed to work retail.