Within Reason: The Shock of New Responsibilities


A young man serves customers in a food establishment. Photo labeled for reuse by photosforclass.com

Entering high school is a milestone in every teenager’s life. It’s the bridge between childhood and adulthood. For some, it can be a huge success in life, but for others, it can be a nightmare.

Some parents have clear expectations of their kids once they reach high school. Whether it’s learning to drive, getting their first job, or even just babysitting younger siblings, students tend to get a lot more responsibilities once they’re high schoolers.

For many students, these responsibilities can be a great addition to their lives. Some Air Academy parents fully embraced giving their child more responsibilities outside of school, either trusting their child would be able to handle it or that they’d learn to.

But this way isn’t the go-to for every parent. Some, like senior Kera Nelson’s parents, took a different approach. Rather than doubling down with new responsibilities, they decided to let her choose to get a job or wait.

“I was never told to get a job because I always wanted to get one for myself. I’ve worked as a lifeguard and as a courtesy clerk in a grocery store,” Nelson wrote.

The idea behind giving teenagers plenty of things to be responsible for is nice in theory, but it could affect their performance in the classroom. While some teens are more than ready to take on more work, others aren’t quite as eager. Many Air Academy students made it clear that they would rather wait until they were ready to handle doing both. Giving children a choice on the matter seems to be the way to go for many parents unless of course, it has negative effects.

Getting a job or even just babysitting may seem like a good idea for teenagers on the surface, but parents might need to consider whether or not their own teenager can handle it. Sometimes, these expectations need to be reconsidered, especially with multiple children in a family.

“My brother is given different responsibilities because he’s older,” Nelson added during her interview. “I never had to drive around younger siblings.”

Nelson fully agreed, like a few other students, that getting a job while in high school could be important and very beneficial. Despite that, there are many opposing opinions. Some arguments consider that high school shouldn’t be spent working and that teenagers should fully enjoy the experience while it lasts.

On the other hand, having a job in high school can make students more prepared after college when they have to start working for real to make a living. Having job experience can make teenagers look better on job applications in the future.

While some parents might be a little pushier on the subject, the benefits are real. If having a job is something you want for yourself, then by all means go ahead. New responsibilities can make high school harder than it already is, but one day students might look back and thank their parents for the experience.