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Take your child, not your teen, to work

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A teen's

A teen's "typical workday."

Hannah Haught

Hannah Haught

A teen's "typical workday."

by Hannah Haught, Managing Editor

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The short URL of the present article is: https://lhslance.org/73aig

Take Your Child to Work Day began in 1992 and hasn’t always been the school-skipping event we know today.

The day originally began under the name Take Our Daughters to Work Day and was a movement to increase the number of women in the workplace. By showing girls what their future could have in store, the event hoped to encourage them to reach for advanced degrees and pursue a career in the future.

In 2003, the day was changed from solely Take Our Daughters to Work Day to Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Today, it’s more commonly known as Take Your Child to Work Day.

While the event is more common in elementary schools, some middle schoolers and high schoolers still participate, but is there purpose in these visits or is it just another excuse to get out of class?

Although the event began with good intentions, it feels unnecessary in the modern day. In 2012, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that 56.8% of college students are female. With these numbers is there still a need to boost their confidence in school? Especially since the event is now gender-inclusive, having a different intent now than it did at its start.

For all ages, depending on the job of the child’s parent, it can sometimes be hard to gain anything at all. If the parent has a very technical job, understanding the it and even being engaged enough to try can be a struggle. While more hands-on jobs such as teaching are able to give kids a clearer view of what their parents do, the vast majority of jobs are a challenge for kids to get involved in.

Even the more involved jobs have their downsides though. There’s a liability involved whenever a child visits a workplace, and having to keep an eye on kids all day can easily distract the parents from getting their jobs done.

To children, the day provides much insight on possible future careers and the operation of the workplace. Students get the chance to watch their parents at work and determine whether their parent’s job may be one they’d want to pursue themselves. Even if not, the child will still gain an understanding of adult life that they can then use to steer their future.

To teens, the day provides the same opportunities, but they are rarely taken. It’s no secret that young adults can do more than younger kids on the job. They can get more involved in their parent’s workday, and with future plans being made, it’s a prime time for students to learn about what it’s like to have a job.

If having a job means sitting in a conference room texting your friends while your parent works, then I’m sure teens would gain plenty of insight.

In addition, if teenagers want work experience in a field they hope to pursue, programs and internships are much more valuable than a day spent with their parent at work ever could be.

The day is also a hindrance as students have to miss a day of school for the event, and, as they get older, attendance is more important. Elementary school students can risk missing school as they can easily catch up and often times lessons are halted for the day in consideration of them. But high school students can miss a ton of material in one day, and the curriculum isn’t going to stop for them while they’re “at work.”

Although, attendance secretary, Jennifer Twiford, is in support of teens participating in Take Your Child To Work Day, she said, “When you miss high school, missing one day of school is like missing three days of school.”

This year, only 25 LHS students participated, and with the downsides clearly outweighing the upsides, it’s not hard to see why.

Visiting parents at work might give teens a look into their future, but the function of school is to prepare students for the future. Frankly, the entire day that’s sacrificed is not worth the experience gained from joining parents at work. The event is more encouraged in lower grades because that is when it’s most beneficial. After a while, those benefits vanish and the day becomes just another reason to skip school.

So, before taking your child to work, consider letting them do their work at school instead.

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Take your child, not your teen, to work