What’s Wrong With Children Working?


Look children working. Don’t be alarmed. Its ok. you see they are not being paid to work. So we are not doing anything wrong here. Its only wrong if you pay them. At least according to our warped sense of morals.

As adults we expect to get paid for the labor and work we perform. We work hard, have skills that are marketable and expect to be compensated for the work that we do, Yet if someone were to suggest a child younger that 15 or 16 should be treated the same way it is suddenly child labor and evil, wrong and immoral.

More and more young people are living at home. current reports indicate that over 50% of young people between the ages of 20-29 are still living with there parents as they are burdened with debt, no jobs and no work experience and poor financial management skills. some reports indicate only 47% of people living at home between 20-30 years of age are working in a paid position. So not only are the majority at home but the majority are not working and are living off there parents. The majority also have not had a job in the life I would wager. The majority that are not working are either unwilling to work menial jobs or have no skills so are unable to work menial jobs like McDonald’s.

We have created a culture of lazy, unemployed and unskilled young people that don’t understand or value hard work. We have created an environment where it is considered taboo and wrong to make a child work and be paid for it. If a business such as McDonald’s for example, were to employ a 10-12 year old kid they would be frowned upon, and face consequences for hiring someone who the state has decided is not old enough to do that work. A child is permitted to volunteer and performs tasks and labors for a variety of organizations but if you pay them the law has been broken.

Children are taking longer and longer to grow up. They take longer to get a first job, spend more time in school taking university courses and programs with little to no job prospects. They have less work skills and are often living at home.

So why is it that it is illegal to hire a child to work for you but if they volunteer to do that work without pay this is perfectly moral and OK? I confess I really don’t understand this bizarre double standard. The only time a child is permitted to work and be paid for there work is in the entertainment industry. Child actors and singers work all the time and they get paid to do so in some form. Yet if you hire them to work a cash register at a restaurant or hire them to clean tables or mop floors that is somehow immoral and wrong.

How do children learn the value of work if they are not permitted to do so. How can they gain important work skills if they are not given the chance to do so? But this goes beyond just learning valuable skills. If we permit younger children to work and earn money they will learn much more important skills than just marketable skills. They will learn that when you work for something you will value it more. They learn how to work with others, time management and can begin to build a strong work ethic that will serve them for life. They will learn the importance of responsibility and how failing to meet those obligations affects others, and will have consequences for themselves as well.

Are younger children really 2 immature to work and earn money at a part for full time job? Or are they only that way because  have we spent there whole lives telling them that and so they believe it as well? We have created the immature child who can’t handle a job and can no longer help provide for there family’s. Household chores are one thing, working in the world and learning the value of that work is another

J Richard Clark said: Work is a blessing from God. It’s a fundamental principle of salvation, both spiritual and temporal. When Adam was driven from his garden home, he was told that his bread must be produced by his physical toil, by the sweat of his brow. Note carefully the words: “Cursed shall be the ground for thy sake” (Moses 4:23; italics added), that is, for his good or benefit. It would not be easy to master the earth; but that was his challenge and his blessing, as it is ours.

Not to long ago in the history of this world it was not uncommon for children to be performing hard labor for the support of there families. Children still do this on farms for example. If that same child were hired out to another farm and paid to do the same work he does on his home farm that would be a violation of law. Does that make sense? Because it doesn’t to me.

How can we teach our children the value of work in the world if we bar them from the opportunity to gain that valuable work experience. The trends make it clear that we are failing our children as more and more of them fail to move out and get gainful employment. Is it any wonder so many young people are having trouble finding work when they have no marketable skills they could of spent 10 years acquiring if they had been permitted to have a job and a younger age?

CBC news had reported that in 1990 just over 50% of people under 30 had completed post secondary education compared to now over 75% have. Its interesting to note that in 1990 the amount of young people living at home was significantly less than it is now. People would actually go out of there way to get jobs and become independent and learn the skills necessary to support themselves and there future families. Now we have become so obsessed as a culture with getting and education that learning marketable skills through employment and work has become a secondary priority. The results speak for themselves. University graduates living at home with over 50% of them unemployed and carrying massive debts. Getting and education is a worthwhile goal but there are many ways to become educated without spending 10’s of thousands of dollars on post secondary education and no job. The Education we receive from real life work experience pays us in more ways than financially. I have learned more working for a living than any university ever taught me. And yes I did go to university and graduated in communications in 2010.

Much of the post secondary education that is taught today is out of date within only 1-2 years of graduating from the program, and in some cases before graduating what you learned in your first year is out of date by the time you get to your final year. No amount of education can replace or prepare you for real world experience. So why not start young. Get your real world experience and have marketable skills to back up your piece of paper than said you went to school to learn the theory. You can then say I know the theory from school and I know application from 15 years of work experience. How much better would the 25 year old university grad be if he could say that?

Education is a vital part of a child’s learning process and I would never advocate that children should work at the expense of there secular education but rather compliment it. Use work experience as integral part of there education and they will be more successful adults throughout there life. If these 20 something still living at home with useless university degrees had 10-15 years of work experience to compliment there education they would be a lot more successful obtaining employment even if it is not in the career field they had chosen.

We have effectively taught our children to go to school and  just expect to have a good job, lots of money, and have everything taken care of for them and given them this sense of entitlement but we have done nothing to help them acquire the skills necessary.

As a father I can only do so much in my home to teach the value of hard work. I can’t pay my children because I simply cannot afford to do so. The rewards I can offer them for a job well done can only go so far to teaching them the value of work. Teaching them responsibility and accountability can be challenging at times. When you are held accountable or lose the benefit of the work you are doing it becomes a much more effective teaching method. My children will always have a home with me, I can’t simply fire them from being my kids and they know it. Having a job and knowing they can be sent away and told not to come back can go a long way in teaching them to be accountable and responsible adults. That is something I just don’t have the luxury of doing in the same way. Doing dishes at home and vacuming at home are not exactly things prospective employers are looking for on a resume. In other words prospective employers don’t care what your chores are they care what your work experience is.

With God’s help me and my wife will succeed in teaching our children these things. With any luck we will succeed and prepare them for success in there future roles in our society. With God’s help we can teach them to be successful adults with a sense of responsibility to themselves and those that depend on them.








By Andrew McLean Posted in Orginals