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Is Alan Sugar right? Should parents send their children out to work at 13?

(33 Posts)
Carol Sun 18-Mar-12 07:19:25

I don't often agree with what I see in the Daily Mail, but here's an article in which Alan Sugar says middle-class parents are to blame for buying gadgets for their children, instead of telling them to go and stack some shelves in the supermarket and earn the money for what they want.

My children were encouraged to do things like paper rounds, extra work in the garden and around the house, or for neighbours, to earn additional money if there was something expensive they wanted to buy.

I had a Saturday job at the age of 13, and thought nothing of it - all my firends got jobs, too. What do you think?

glassortwo Sun 18-Mar-12 07:37:05

I think this generation have been given everything on a plate and subsequently dont have the work ethic we have.
If I needed anything I knew my Parents were struggling to make ends meet without me adding to the load, I went out got a job at St James Park selling bovril and pies when the football was on, and then at 16 went out and got a Saturday Job worked weekends and holidays when I went to college to supplemented my trips to the pub lunches, tights and luxury things that I would not have had otherwise.
I brought my DC up the same that if they wanted something other than what we were prepared to give them they needed to go out and get a small job, which they both did.
But my Granddaughter who is 17 1/2 and has only just recently found a job while she finishes at 6th form I am pleased to say!

Greatnan Sun 18-Mar-12 07:37:35

I agree. One of my daughters insisted that all six of her children got part time jobs as soon as they were legally able to do so. They have all done well academically and have a strong work ethic. She herself worked in a local restaurant from the age of 15.
I worked for a very rich man whose only son was the most spoiled brat I have ever met. At 18, he had his own power-boat, car, flat,etc. When he took a van off a drive at the age of 15, 'for fun', his father 'squared' the local police and no charges were brought, even though he was driving uninsured. When his father lost most of his money on the stock market, he had to start from scratch at the age of 28, trying to find a job with no qualifications or experience. There is a saying in Lancashire - clogs to clogs in three generations. Self-made men would take pride in spoiling their children who would often run through their inheritance and see their own children with no ambition.
The children of celebrities are frequently in the news for their immature and/or criminal behaviour, possibly because they have too little to do and too much money.

petallus Sun 18-Mar-12 07:54:48

Oh no!

Greatnan Sun 18-Mar-12 08:07:46


susiecb Sun 18-Mar-12 10:35:37

The most important thing for me is that children should learn how money works and where it comes from as soon as possible and that in some way they do earn their pocket money be that jobs at home or at a suitable point for them a small paid job (as all children are different and mature at different ages and have a variety of home circumstances its not appropriate to set a definitive age for this). In principle I think A Sugar is right.

Greatnan Sun 18-Mar-12 10:42:33

I think a lot of parents are afraid to let their children do paper rounds because of the possible danger from abusers.
When one of my daughters was about 12 she used to babysit for the couple next door - I am not sure it is legal, but she knew she could call on me if she had any problems. I was only ten when my first niece was born and I used to pick her up from the child minder and look after her until my unmarried sister got home from work. I sometimes think that in spite of their apparent desire for early sexual experiences, children today are not as mature as we were.

goldengirl Sun 18-Mar-12 12:20:27

If only! The rules and regulations surrounding children working is a pain in the proverbial. I appreciate it's to stop exploitation but it's not worth it for many businesses these days and I guess some would argue that it would put older teens out of possible employment. There was no risk assessment when I worked in a grocers or a chemist when I was about 15/16. Common sense was deployed but that seems to be sadly lacking these days.

Maniac Sun 18-Mar-12 13:08:03

I knew I had them somewhere.
In a file of family documents from my late aunts' house I have two 'School Leaving Certificates'.(1913 &1919.)They were official documents required when a child left school at 13 to begin full time work,which most of my mother's generation did. I kept them as an interesting bit of social history.Most of my mother's 9 siblings lived to their 80s or 90s!

Anagram Sun 18-Mar-12 15:05:45

I got a paper round when I was 13 because I desperately wanted a record player! I got it on HP (father signed up for it) and paid it off at 2/11 a week.

My own daughter worked at weekends in a clothes shop from around the age of 15 because as a single mother I couldn't afford to buy her more than the basics. A lot of her friends also had weekend jobs, but I do remember one mother telling me that she'd had to work when young and didn't intend to "make" her daughter do the same.

Didn't I read somewhere that schoolchildren were being prevented from doing paper rounds by some EU working directive?

Jacey Sun 18-Mar-12 15:44:29

Yes I had a Saturday job ...worked in Woolies. I wanted to go abroad with the school parents couldn't afford it, so that was the only way. My day's pay was 15s eventually went up to a £1. Then I worked for them through the holidays.

Also my parents couldn't afford to make up my grant when I went to college again another Saturday job, plus work through the holidays! No gap years in my time!!

All my gs also did the same ...stacking shelves;working in a chippy; sales staff; cleaners; newspaper rounds; christmas post ...anything that gave them some independence and spending money...and they did similar things through university.

So I agree with AS

petallus Sun 18-Mar-12 17:22:57

That post of mine, above (oh no!). Well, I had just been reading the thread about how badly behaved children are today compared with yesteryear and that depressed me somewhat, so I thought I'd try another thread and it was this one, just at the point where someone was saying children today had it all on a plate etc. I was feeling somewhat delicate this morning so I just said 'oh no!' and scarpered.

Sorry everyone, back to normal now!

Jacey Sun 18-Mar-12 17:35:20

Hope you're much better now petallus sunshine

Maniac Sun 18-Mar-12 18:06:30

My son helped(?)from age 5 to18 in the pharmacies where I worked. He didn't get paid until he was 16.
After A-levels he worked 6 mths full time in a supermarket to earn enough to go to Canada,buy.a motor bike.He rode across Canada camping en route,sold the bike and got back in time to start at Uni.(No fees at that time!)
My 2 DDs had Sat jobs at M&S and BHS as early as possible
until starting nursing/Uni.and in the hols.As well as pocket money I feel they learned social skills.

Anagram Sun 18-Mar-12 18:41:23

That's a good point, Maniac, it does broaden their social group and gives them a glimpse of the world beyond school and family.

BlueSky Sun 18-Mar-12 19:23:02

I don't think children necessarily need to work before time if the parents can afford to, what they do need to know is that their parents (and grandparents) have/had to work hard to support the family and give them a comfortable life. They'll have plenty of time to work (if they are lucky enough to have a job) especially if the next generation will have to work at least till 70 before they can retire!

goldengirl Sun 18-Mar-12 21:01:46

As they don't seem to be taught in school about money management, communication skills and things that are assets to getting permanent employment I think a Saturday job in mid teens - 15/16 - provides all sorts of skills that are useful for the future. It also provides a means of buying the odd treat with one's own money. Unfortunately these jobs are probably now few and far between for one reason or another.

Anagram Sun 18-Mar-12 21:21:06

I think you're right, goldengirl, they don't seem to take on schoolchildren so much these days - I suppose they have enough members of permanent staff willing to work weekends.

Sook Sun 18-Mar-12 22:23:42

Both of my sons had morning paper rounds from 13 -18 years old. The eldest whilst at 6th form college worked as a holiday relief postman and the youngest worked part time in our local supermarket. Later they both worked in a local restaurant and as bar attendants. They used their earnings to finance their hobbies, holidays and social life whilst at college and later university.

They were both hard working and reliable and well liked by their employers who gave them excellent character references when they moved on. As well as learning that money doesn't grow on trees they learned many valueable skills and mixed with people from all walks of life.

Even if we had been extremely wealthy (no such luck) I would have still encouraged them to work.

Lucyella Mon 19-Mar-12 01:32:41

I don't think children should be sent out stacking shelves or doing anything else at the age of 13. Let them be children for a bit longer. My grandson has just started a paper round at the age of 14. He is really happy doing it and so pleased to be earning his own money. He has chosen to do this not been forced to do it. Up until now his middle class parents have bought him gadgets for birthdays and at Christmas but this has not stopped him wanting to earn some money for himself now. I am really proud of him.

My children had part-time jobs when they were 16 and at college. My son was good with money but my daughter was not, she did not really learn the value of money until she was in her twenties although they were brought up the same way.

I really think 13 is too young.

Greatnan Mon 19-Mar-12 08:57:24

Lucyella, I don't think anyone has suggested forcing teenagers to work - in my experience they love the feeling of independence and earning their own money. We are not talking about shoving them up chimneys! What would most of them be doing in their spare time - playing electronic games/chatting on their iphones/lying in bed.....?
If their lives are filled with voluntary work, Duke of Edinburgh awards, Scouting/Guiding, playing sports, etc. they may be too busy to do a job, but the majority of young people have plenty of spare time and we know what the devil does with idle hands!
One of my granddaughters is taking a nursing degree but she has bought herself a little car with her earnings from the local supermarket. Her older brother was at Durham and paid his way by doing three jobs - salesman at the local Burtons (they offered to sponsor him if he would pledge to work for them), and bar work at the Rugby Club and the Union bar. Their 14-year old sister spends much of her spare time assisting at the local Riding for the Disabled stables - no pay but she gets to spend time with horses! I am quite sure none of them feels they have been forced to grow up too soon.

Lucyella Mon 19-Mar-12 12:47:17

Greatnan. My point is that I think 13 is too young. I also don't think most youngsters lie around all day playing electronic games, chatting on their iPhones or lying in bed certainly not those I come into contact with. They seem to be pretty much like we were wanting to experience different things, having a social life, growing up. They also seem to be interested in scouts, guides, DoE etc., voluntary work.

Greatnan Mon 19-Mar-12 13:09:09

Too young for what, Lucyella, if they want to do it?
I think you might be a little optimistic in your view of what the majority of young people do with their spare time, or you live in a very privileged area. Having a part time job did not stop my grandchildren having a great social life and also volunteering. Still, nobody is suggesting that anybody has to get a part time job if they really don't want it.

glammanana Mon 19-Mar-12 13:32:01

greatnan All of my DCs have had jobs since they where 13/14yrs of age,the two boys had paper rounds to start with,then going on to work in the paper shop on Sat/Sun they bought their own extra's that they wanted ie: latest football boots and games for their consules,we obviously bought their football boots but if they wanted to pay the difference for the latest trendiest styles they funded the difference.DD worked in the local hairdressers 3 nights after school and on Saturday,when she was 16 she collected glasses and plates at local restaurant,it never did them any harm and taught them the value of money and many many social skills,these are the skills that are missing when youngesters are leaving education without any work experience.

Lucyella Mon 19-Mar-12 13:34:32

Greatnan. Too young at 13 to be told by their parents to go stacking shelves in supermarkets to earn money as suggested by Alan Sugar. You are rightly proud of your grandchildren and their achievements and I hope my grandchildren turn out just as well.