Summer Jobs and Teens

Date: 07/06/2023

Title: How do I get my kid to follow through on her summer job commitment?

00:00:00 Speaker 1
Hello. So your teenage daughter wants to back out of being a counselor in training at her summer
camp. What are you supposed to do? Well, let's talk about that today on tips on teens. My name
is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I specialize in helping
kids, teens and families live happier lives. I lead two organizations teen Therapy Center
and the nonprofit 501 c three organization, child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland
Hills, California. And every Wednesday at noon, I jump on to Facebook Live to answer your parenting
questions. Let's get into today's. Our daughter signed up to be a camp counselor in training
this summer at her old summer camp. We were really excited when she told us that she wanted to
do it. We thought it would be really good for her socially, and we were really glad for her to be
getting a job. This weekend, though, she told us she wants to back out. We really want to see her
follow through with the commitment. What do we do?

00:01:02 Speaker 1
Thank you for your question. Regardless of your stance, let's assume your stance is you made
a commitment, you stick by your commitments, and that's it. And that's an understandable position
to be in. Before you jump to that conclusion with her, I encourage you to approach her with empathy,
compassion, and just help her talk about what's going on with her, what her feelings are. It's
possible she's going to say, there this other opportunity. I didn't know about it. It's a chance
of a lifetime. It's everything I've ever wanted to do with soccer or theater or whatever her
activity is. I have friends going. It's going to be in this amazing place. It's this incredible
opportunity, and I didn't know about it when I made this commitment. This is probably not why
she's saying this, but if it is, that's a reasonable conversation to have. More than likely
your daughter is wanting to avoid because she's nervous, she's scared. It's the unknown. What
if she doesn't like it? What if she doesn't make

00:02:04 Speaker 1
friends? What about all her Snapchat streaks? They're all going to end. She's going to miss
out so much. That's on the phone, right? And what I would do is listen, validate, understand,
but also point out to her what was it that she really wanted to do in the first place when she agreed
to do this? Was it because you guys pushed her into doing it? Or she's like, hey, this is going
to be really cool. Maybe she says, Well, I had a friend going, but now that friend's not going,
so I don't want to go. And I would encourage her to recognize that every other camp counselor
in training will be in the exact same position she is. Where they're going, they're nervous.
They want to make friends. And I think it's really important for her to maybe have this opportunity
to make friends without a phone in her hand and to understand that she can connect with people
without that phone. Again, I'm making big assumptions here as I don't know this family, but
I'm painting with a broad brush because I know

00:02:57 Speaker 1
a lot of families who go through this very thing, and I imagine many families who are watching
this right now are going through something similar with this. And being at a camp for three weeks
or four weeks or whatever that time is as a counselor and not really having access to your phone
on a regular basis is a really good thing for a teenager to have because they probably don't know
what that's like. And so I would encourage her to let her know that she can't just stay home and
be on her phone. She can't just stay home. Her friends are probably going to be doing things too.
She has to do something. And this may be that one opportunity that totally changes her life for
the positive. If she just says yes to life, and I would encourage you to keep talking to her about
it, keep encouraging her, and maybe just backing out is just not an option. And she may be, well,
I'm not going to like it. I'm going to hate it. I'm going to feel alone. She may just need to be there
and be at the location

00:03:46 Speaker 1
go, oh, this is really kind of cool, and help talk to her about what is it she liked about when she
was a camper there and how much fun did the camp counselor seem to have? Because I'm sure they
had a lot of fun or else she wouldn't agree to it in the first place. It's a big, complicated mess
you're in. I don't think there's an easy way to just push a button and make her change her mind.
But I think if the answer is you made a commitment, you have to follow through with it. I think
you got to stick with that, with compassion and patience and empathy. The minute you start wagging
your finger and yelling, you kind of lost the battle here. You need to make sure that you're calm
because she will eventually see through that. She'll recognize that, and that will help strengthen
her to begrudgingly. Go and then when she's there, she doesn't make the phone calls because
she's having too much fun with her friends, right? So it's a big conversation to have. If you
have more questions about this,

00:04:39 Speaker 1
you can always give us a call here. We are happy to facilitate these conversations with kids
all the time. Again. My name is Kent Toussaint with Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling.
Thank you for your question. If you like me to answer your question next week, email us at tips
on or you can direct message us right here on Facebook. We love
your questions. Thanks again. Have a good week, and I'll see you next Wednesday bye.

Not Exactly 9 to 5…

Lots of teens get summer jobs every year. This represents a big level of commitment for a teenager. A teen might resist committing to a summer job because he or she is nervous or scared. Maybe they’ve got social anxiety about not being around their friends. Or perhaps there could be some FOMO at play, like what fun stuff are their friends doing that they could be missing out on?

Taking Care of Business

A summer job is a fantastic growing opportunity for your teen. They could have the kind of positive experience that changes their lives. They could make new friends and learn something about following through with a commitment. If you’re going to nudge or encourage them in some way to commit, you have to do it with compassion and empathy. Calmly state the reasons you want them to do it. The likelihood  they’ll come around to your point of view will increase dramatically!

There’s more to say and we get to work on it in this Tips on Teens:

“Our daughter signed up to be a camp counselor in training this summer at her old summer camp. We were really excited when she told us she wanted to do it. We thought it would be really good for her socially, and we were really glad for her to be getting a job. This weekend though she told us she wants to back out. We really want to see her follow through with the commitment. What do we do?”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.