How to Motivate an 18-Year-Old to Get a Job

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After 12 years of schooling it can be hard to leave home and break out on your own. In fact, it's not uncommon for 18-year-olds to have poor motivation to find a job, whether the work is part time or full time. Parents may need to prod their offspring into paid employment, and there are a number of ways to do this. Positive motivation should always be used first -- only turn to negative motivation if others fail. The good news is that sooner or later most young adults do get a job.

  • Explain the benefits of having a job -- this can include increasing the teenager's disposable income, saving for big-ticket items such as a car, college or a home, and even having benefits such as health insurance. Include in your explanation the fact that many of the teenager's friends are likely to have, or be seeking, jobs.

  • Help your teenager to find a job. Let all your friends and family members know that your teen is looking for work, and ask loved ones to inform you if they learn of any opportunities for her. Assist your teen in looking online, in want ads or by driving her to job interviews. Practice mock interviews and job-related questions with your teen, and help her write or spruce up her resume. Provide ongoing encouragement if her first few attempts to seek a job are unsuccessful.

  • Provide small rewards when your teen takes steps in the right job-seeking direction. This could be a gift card for going on a certain number of interviews, purchasing work-related clothing, and even a dinner out after a particularly tough week of pounding the pavement.

  • Try negative reinforcement if other methods are not successful. List all the negative things that will happen if your teenager does not get a job. Include things such as the fact that she will eventually have no way of supporting herself, no health benefits in case of illnesses or accidents and no money for "fun" things. Let her know that you will be unable to support her, or provide disposable income, for the long term.

  • Issue an ultimatum if all else fails. Tell your teen that you will not pay for college, her car, her allowance (if she receives one) or even room and board if she does not look for a job. Give her a deadline to find a job (or begin looking) or she will face consequences.

References

  • Hey, Get a Job! A Teen Guide for Getting and Keeping a Job; Jennie Withers; 2009
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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