The girls fall sports recently ended. We really wanted to avoid the isolation they felt when life shut down in March, so we talked a lot about them getting part-time jobs.
The pandemic created a mental health crisis among teens. At a time when they should be in school building their social skills, they were stuck at home with limited ways to interact with other teens, no way to predict the pandemic's end and ongoing instability.
We were headed into spring and summer when we shut down in March. The isolation was tempered with the understanding that warmer weather was coming, which would give them new options to see friends. They could hang out on patios or in parks during the summer when it was easier to social distance and warm outside. Now they were headed into the dark and cold.
Heading into winter is always hard. It's dark most of the time. It's cold, sometimes bitter cold. Seasonal depression is a real problem during normal years.
Daddy and I had lengthy discussions about the risks of them getting jobs during a pandemic and the risks of them not getting jobs. In the end, we decided that they needed to get out of the house for their mental and physical health.
They really needed the social aspect of a part-time job. Normally we'd have emphasized the important of taking responsibility, earning money and developing professional skills. Of course those things were important, but more important to us was that they would be out, interacting with the world.
The jobs have been really good for both girls. We see a big different in their attitudes. They come home from work with funny stories about customers and/or co-workers. They talk about what they like, and what they dislike, about their jobs.
We've worked with them to establish some good financial habits. They save some money and have some spending money. We told them that they could spend their money however they wanted to, and we've let them do it. We try not to judge their purchases, although some opinions come through.
The girls are teens, so there are days when they really don't want to go to work. They whine and fight about going. They try to convince us they should stay home. They always end up going because they do like working.
We like the positive ways we've seen them blossom since they started working and feel good about their experiences. Their employers are doing a good job with their Covid protocols, keeping everyone as safe as they can. In the balance between risk and reward, the jobs have been a reward.