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With college becoming harder to get into these days and even getting a job after graduation, many teens and young adults alike are struggling financially while they await bigger and brighter future employment opportunities. However, there is a small population of these folks who weather these times better than the others because they have mastered a trade.
By definition, a trade is some sort of working enterprise that allows the individual to readily gain money irrespective of age. In addition, when trades are learned in the teenage years, this allows for more independence and self-confidence in that individual. The catch however, is that a trade needs to be learned and this is where parents, uncles, aunts, or other family friends can help. For example, one friend of mine taught his 13 year-old son how to detail cars and this summer his son is making $20 a car for his hard work. In addition, his father told me that his son is also proud of himself and also has a better appreciation of money and work.
Another family I know bake for the homeless. Although there is no monetary gain, all of the children in this family have become stellar bakers and hope to open their own bakery some day. They are also learning the importance of helping others which is priceless. The list of potential trades are vast and not complicated. It is a matter of choosing something that the individual has some potential interest in and then assisting them in the training.
Another positive aspect of teens learning trades is that it allows for a more balanced summer and also helps them prepare for the future. It also makes them appreciate money and the concept of effort. Finally, clinical data teaches us that teens and young adults who have a trade are also emotionally happier and healthier. This seems to be due to the fact that having the skills to do something to make an income independently gives the individual a sense of greater stability and comfort.
So parents, before summer is over, consider helping your child learn some sort of a trade even if it’s just a lemonade stand on the corner of your street. You will be amazed at the smiles on your child’s face when they witness their sales and profits.
Below are some of the most common trades teens are learning these days:
Dr. Keith Kanner is a Licensed and Board Certified Clinical Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychologist and Psychoanalyst. In addition to a full-time private practice in Rancho Santa Fe, California, he is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine at the University of California San Diego where he teaches both human development and also trains medical students how to better understand and relate to their patients. He also serves as the Director of Clinical Counseling for La Jolla Country Day School in La Jolla, California, and is a Clinical Professor at The San Diego Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. Dr. Kanner also sits on the National Board of Directors for Kids Korps USA, which is the largest organization in the country that teaches children and adolescents the importance of volunteering to help the community at large. As a father of three children, he is also a dedicated baseball, football, and soccer coach.