How NOT to help your kid find a summer job


With the rising unemployment rate sending experienced adults into the hunt for entry-level jobs, many teenagers are having trouble finding the summer jobs that used to be their birthright. The Associated Press offers three winning ways to help your teen find a summer job:

To boost her odds, Jennifer Wagner is already scouring Web sites for her son Justin, a 19-year-old sophomore at Northeastern University in Boston. She wants him to get a job related to his graphic arts major, but wonders if that's possible anymore.

Hmm. . . Does Justin have some sort of disability that makes it impossible for him to scour websites for jobs? If not, why isn't he looking? Why does he need his mother's help?

The piece has a few well-intentioned tips for helping your teen find a summer job, but the most important thing to remember is this: Whether your teen is able to find a job this summer will probably have a relatively minor impact on his life course. But the tough job market offers him a chance to develop job-hunting skills that he wouldn't have developed otherwise, skills that will prepare him to achieve greater career success than those who grew up in better job markets.

I know you want to help your kids find work, but try to avoid becoming recession-wary helicopter parents. Limit your help to advice, moral support and resources. Leave the grunt work to your kid. In the long run, he'll be better for it.