Checklist: Finding a first job that fits your teen

By Peg Rosen

Expert reviewed by Jim Rein, MA

Landing that first job can be a major confidence boost for teens with learning and thinking differences. It says, “I believe in you and value your efforts!” But as empowering as a good experience can be, a bad match can be a blow to your teen’s self-esteem. It may even keep your child from looking for another job. This list can help you make sure the fit is right.

The position

  • The job is realistic.
  • The duties are suited to my child.
  • My teen likes or is interested in the job.
  • The job is one where my teen is likely to stay focused and on task.
  • There is the right amount of variety to the job.
  • The job plays to my teen’s strengths.
  • The schedule works with my teen’s academics and outside activities.

The workplace

  • The boss or supervisor is patient and friendly.
  • The company or boss knows about my teen’s learning and thinking differences and is accommodating.
  • The boss is willing to find ways for my child to work around more challenging tasks.
  • The physical environment is a good match.
  • There is sufficient structure in the job.
  • My teen has a clear list of responsibilities.
  • The social demands of the job suit my teen.

The payoff

  • My teen is likely to gain confidence and self-esteem from this job.
  • The job gives my child a chance to be empowered and successful.
  • The job is a good first step on my child’s career path.

About the author

About the author

Peg Rosen writes for digital and print, including ParentCenter, WebMD, Parents, Good Housekeeping, and Martha Stewart.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Jim Rein, MA has lectured on postsecondary options and summer programs for kids and young adults with learning and thinking differences.


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