What moms say their kids have gained on the job:
- Respect and compassion: "Both of my teens work in restaurants, and now when we go out to dinner they always insist we leave a good tip because they understand how hard some people have to work to live," says Annmarie Ferguson of Pleasant Valley, New York, mom of Hannah, 16, and Matthew, 18.
- Confidence: "My daughter wasn't into sports and didn't do many extracurricular activities at school, but working in a restaurant and being promoted twice has given her an idea of what she is good at," says Heidi Overson of Coon Valley, Wisconsin, mom of Mari, 17.
- People skills: "Alex has had three managers and has dealt with lots of customers in the supermarket where he works. He has learned that if a customer is rude or grouchy, he should never respond in kind, just smile and be willing to carry out their groceries," says Lauren Caldwell of Clifton Park, New York, mom of Alex, 18.
- Responsibility: "From the time he started working at 15, I've never had to wake up Tyler for work. He knows his schedule, and he's got his priorities. He's become very mature about balancing his job and his social life. He knows what it feels like when a place is understaffed because someone called in sick on Monday," says Courtney Edwards of Kittery, Maine, mom of Tyler, 18.
- Money smarts: "When my daughter was 15 and started wanting a lot of extras, I told her she'd have to earn the money to buy those things herself. When she realized how hard she had to work she quickly decided she could skip hair highlights and designer sunglasses. And she's become a good saver too," says Jeanine Trikilis of Canyon Country, California, mom to Olivia, 18.