Kids Who Work During the School Year

Teenagers at Work

I have a 21 year old in college and another ready to graduate from high school.  I just ran across an interesting report recently dealing with kids like mine.

According to a study published in the February issue of the journal Child Development, high school students who work more than 20 hours a week at part-time jobs during the school year may be more likely to have academic and behavior problems.  The study was based on information collected in the late 1980s from 1,800 middle-class teens in grades 10 and 11.

I was not surprised to read that students who worked more than 20 hours a week were less involved in their school.  I mean – duh!  What really concerned me was that these same kids had lower expectations for further education and an increase in illegal activities including stealing, carrying a weapon, and using alcohol and illicit drugs.  Even after the teens reduced

Frustrated Student

their work hours, these negative behaviors persisted.

“Although working during high school is unlikely to turn law-abiding teenagers into felons or cause students to flunk out of school, the extent of the adverse effects we found is not trivial, and even a small decline in school engagement or increase in problem behavior may be of concern to many parents,” said study leader Kathryn C. Monahan, a postdoctoral research scientist at the University of Washington.

But guess this:  their recommendation was that parents, educators and policymakers monitor and limit the number of hours worked by high school students.

Brilliant conclusion, huh?

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