Our teens and young adults are now busy trying to find work for the summer. If you are like most parents, you have a number of reasons to hope they find work.
They will learn valuable life-long skills. They'll improve their resume. And you will know that they are involved in constructive activities during the summer months.
Maybe, just maybe, they won't be bothering you for money every two minutes. And even if they do, you can remind them that they are now wage-earners.
All of that is true and those are good reasons to encourage your teen to join the thousands of young people finding work. But it doesn't end there.
Parents need to do more than encourage their teens. I strongly recommend that you encourage your child to find work. But they must also be aware that there can be dangers in the workplace. With knowledge of the possible problem areas, they will be safe.
Young people believe they are invincible and they just will not be hurt; they're inexperienced, are unaware of their rights on the job, they lack confidence and they're afraid to ask questions.
They are unprepared for the workplace.
Bored kids often don't pay strict attention, which leads to accidents. Unless they've been taught how to handle physical jobs, they are likely to be hurt lifting or pulling. Also, some supervisors don't take safety seriously and may not have any safety training themselves.
That's the bad news. The good news is that we can inoculate our children and help them prepare for their first foray into the world of work.
Our job is to help prepare them to be safe. Modelling safe practices at home is the first and most important step.
When you are cutting the lawn do you wear sturdy footwear? Do you wear a helmet when cycling and a lifejacket when in the boat?
Are you careful with knives in the kitchen? When lifting a heavy object, do you use your legs instead of your back and ask for help if it's too heavy? And do you talk to the kids about what you are doing and why?
Young workers are most likely to be injured lifting objects, working on elevated levels such as ladders, using knives, working with hot substances, using mobile equipment such as riding lawn mowers and working around equipment or machinery with moving parts.
It sounds frightening, but if they are careful and choose a job where they get training they will be fine.
When your child goes for a job interview, let her know that it's OK to ask questions. She can ask about risks on the job and about the safety training she can expect.
Once they have the job, talk to them about it. Ask about their duties, and listen carefully. For example, if he is a cook and handles grease, have him describe what they do to stay safe from burns.
Probably the most important thing you can do is educate your child about his rights. Kids are afraid that if they ask for help or training they will be fired.
Worksafe BC has a site full of information for young workers and their parents. Go to work-safebc.com and under "Safety and Work," click on the topic "Young Worker." Visit this site with your child and talk about it. Then relax knowing that your youngster is ready for her new job.
. Tri-Cities resident Kathy Lynn is a parenting expert who is a professional speaker and author.