Skip to content

Teenagers, Coffee and Jobs

Recently Jane asked me if I’d buy a coffee maker. You see she has a soy allergy so Starbucks and the like is not an option for her. There’s soymilk everywhere and when she has it there’s two days of feeling ill. Jane would like to drink some coffee in the morning and since I don’t have a coffee maker and she has the allergy that would require purchasing one.

I have thoughts about kids and caffeine.¬†My kids have occasional sodas when we are at a restaurant. We don’t have soda in the house and I stopped drinking coffee sometime around 2010 when I had the flu and didn’t leave my bedroom for four days straight. With that being said I’m not militant about caffeine, just reserved. So when Jane asked about coffee I asked my Facebook friends what they would do and the answers were all over the place.

I think what surprised me most was the number of people who think a 16 year old should buy their own coffee maker. Which led me to another question. Are 16 year old kids working these days? None of the local stores here will hire a 16 year old. There are plenty of college graduates pushing buttons at McDonalds and Starbucks. Movie theaters are staffed by adults and the unemployment rate in Los Angeles is still higher than most of the country so I never considered asking my kids to get jobs.

Also, I’d like them to concentrate on being students.

Here is a smattering of the comments:

Tell her for $25 she can purchase a 3-4 cup machine at Target and you’ll gladly loan her the counter space?


Buy them instant coffee and tell them to get a job.


She can save up for her own with her part time job


Let them pick out which one they want. (on their dime)


No reason why she can’t buy her own. They have to learn that at some point. My post college son just paid his first doctor bill.


luxury items can be vetoed, veto the request




Send her to my house where the pot is always warm, and I’ll always be ready to sip with her:)


She CAN work for it. You may have found something that motivates her, that’s awesome! When I was her age, I was publishing a magazine and working as a live-in au pair half of my weekends.


You buy a coffee maker.

There is a lot of input about what people did when they were teens. I had a job at 15. My manager at the Mann Theaters always wanted to see my boobs. That was awesome. When I was 17 and worked at the Glen Center a certain celebrity¬†used to grab me from behind and say, “My girlfriend is about your size. What should I buy her?” I was fired from that job because I didn’t know how to iron things. I think I could have entered the workforce at 18 and had the same success but that’s just an anecdote, I’m just one person.

My kid is 11. He and I both plan that he will have a job when he’s 16. He’ll have to pay for his own car insurance or he won’t be able to drive. Chauffeur is not on my resume.


After raising one adult with the mentality that school should be their job, I have now decided that my younger two will need to work minimal hours once they are driving to help understand the the concept of earning money.


I grew up poor. My mom couldn’t afford money for lunch when I had a debate match or other school trip so as soon as I was able, I got a job. I was 16 and I haven’t stopped working since. But I agree – if you don’t NEED the money (I went hungry without it) then a teen needs a chance to be a KID and not work.


I had a job after school and weekends from 16 and up. My kids will also work after school, weekends and summers once they’re of legal working age.


I don’t have a teen so my mileage may very but I had a job starting at 14. I agree that school (and extracurriculars) are your job, but we had a family business, which changes that dynamic somewhat I think. I still didn’t buy my own food, or any necessities. “My” money was for fun/entertainment/fashion, and I enjoyed the freedom of wanting something and being able to buy it myself. My parents still supported me.


My youngest brother is 17 now, and job opportunities for teens have changed considerably with the recession. Jobs that used to be for high schoolers are now held by adults. He couldn’t get a job if he wanted to, unless he was able to find someone’s dad or similar to hire him. Contrast to his older siblings who were all ABLE to work. So I think that is definitely a factor.


I would have summer jobs, but during the school year my mom was insistent that I focus on school. As for coffee… Im still surprised teenagers even drink coffee in high school. I wasn’t introduced to coffee until college… that and LSD.

I love Facebook and blogs because teens are not at all alike. Two year olds are all developing mostly the same, six year olds too. By the time you hit adolescence kids and parents are all concentrating on different things. Some kids are entering puberty, others are playing in the sandbox. With every year that progresses my parenting diverges more from the ideal and becomes Jane and Alexander’s ideal.

My friend Sharon is 10 years older than I am and her children are 10 years older than each of mine. She has warned me that when they’re little you’re a manager and as they age you become a consultant. I think we have reached the age of consultancy with Jane and we are in a transition period with Alexander.

When my kids were in elementary school I knew what kind of mother I’d be to middle school kids. By the time my kids hit middle school I knew that I had no clue what high school would bring. Every year I’m less certain about what we’re doing but when I parent with my child in mind (as opposed to an imaginary perfect child) I’m pretty sure we’re on the right track. Even if it’s not your track.

I have two questions:

Does your teenage child have a job?

Does your teenage child drink coffee?

5 thoughts on “Teenagers, Coffee and Jobs”

  1. I have two teenage nieces (different families – the girls don’t know one another). One of them has a job and drinks coffee. She also has a serious boyfriend (I believe it is her intention to move in with him when she turns 18, during her senior year of high school and I find it astonishing that her parents aren’t in a panic) and a pick up truck. She’s racist, homophobic and not the kind of kid I want influencing my kids…we don’t see a lot of her.

    We’re very close to my other niece (technically, I think she’s my second cousin, but whatever) and her entire family. She’s an excellent student attending the top high school in the state, very involved at school, plays sports (soccer and lacrosse), does not have a job and does drink coffee, at least occasionally…usually at school!

    As for my kids, my older daughter (11) thinks soda is the greatest thing ever and has a sprite whenever we’re at a restaurant. My younger daughter (7) hates soda. The Arnold Palmer is her beverage of choice, which cracks me up.

  2. a – yup – kids had ‘extra’ income pt jobs – baby sitting; piano teaching; tutoring, etc
    b – nope – no coffee – gonna guess they never thought of it, but they still don’t drink it – where DID i go wrong???

  3. My teenagers (18 & 14) don’t drink coffee. But my opinion is this: If your house is anything like mine I’m sure you buy certain foods that only one person (or maybe two people) eat. For example I buy jelly when my son is the only one who eats PBJs and juice boxes for my daughter. (Holy crap, look at the bad shit I’m feeding my kids!) If you’re not opposed to Jane drinking coffee and would buy her Starbucks if she could drink it I say buy the coffeemaker.

    My 18 year old son (a senior in high school) has never had a job because he takes AP classes and plays two varsity sports. He doesn’t have the time. I know other kids who take AP/honors classes and play sports who can also work, but my son is not one of them – he personally wouldn’t be able to handle the stress. He does do chores and gets a weekly allowance (only $10) and does odd jobs for my mother on weekends once or twice a month (window washing, yard work, etc.) for minimum wage. Occasionally he babysits. If he wants to go out with his friends for lunch he pays for that. If the team goes to dinner after a meet on the bus on the way home, I’ll pay. He’s very frugal and responsible with money.

    He does have friends that work at Bed Bath & Beyond, Taco Bell & Vons. My gym also has teenagers on staff. So there are jobs out there for kids if you look hard enough I think.

    My 14 year old daughter babysits and burns through her money like nobody’s business!

  4. I got my Social Security Card when I was 12. I ran a snack bar at the Youth Center on Walker Air Force Base. And I’ve probably washed more dishes than you’ve ever seen. (I think I started washing lunch dishes in the school cafeteria in middle school.)

    When I was 15 or so I bought a car with my money (about 1958) My mother kept borrowing it all the time so I couldn’t use it, so I bought a motor-scooter, and I was gone…

    These are all life changing questions. I don’t know when I was allowed to drink coffee, probably when I was 12, but I remember when I started to smoke a pipe. I was 18 and I never asked permission. You need to have a plan. With wheels comes freedom. Sitting at the dinner table drinking tea and coffee with mom is a method of keeping the girl from becoming “that girl, the Wild One.”

  5. I started working around age 12 and was pretty constantly employed from then on out.
    BUT I thrived on that. The less work I have the more bored I get the more I underperform at the work I do have.
    Also, when I was a teenager, managers were bending rules to try to get teens to work in their retail and service jobs because no adults were interested. Even so, I went up for a summer job against a woman I learned while we were waiting to interview was a single mom. I told them to hire her. I was looking for tuition, she was looking for grocery money. In today’s job market a teen is competing against way more qualified people for a job they’re likely overqualified for themselves and they are possibly taking a job away from someone who really, really needs it. Unless things change in the next 5-10 years I won’t be pushing my kids to get part-time jobs (babysitting and self-created jobs aside).
    Coffee. Why not? I was about her age when I discovered the joys of real coffee over my mother’s instant crap. I asked for an espresso machine for Christmas when I was 16 or 17.
    The coffee maker doesn’t matter as much as the coffee itself. Ideally, as it’s just her, I’d recommend a grinder and a French press. That way you don’t have another appliance sucking up counter space and she’s not making an 8 cup pot for just herself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *