Balancing work and school can sometimes overwhelm teens.

The Effects of Teens Working Too Many Hours

by Jenivieve Elly

Many teens often get a part time job to help with their personal expenses, learn responsibility and to learn how to manage money. Sometimes teens can overdo it, however, and their work takes precedent to the more important things in their lives, such as school and grades. Working too many hours can lead to an over-worked kid who doesn't have enough time to study, can't focus in class and is possibly exposed to negative influences.

Effects on Grades

The biggest concern parents likely have when teens are working too much is how it will affect their grades. If a teen is putting in too many hours at work, he will be left exhausted, unable to focus in school and not have enough time to invest in studying. This can lead to an overall drop in grades, which can affect his future. A study published in the 2011 issue of the journal Child Development found that teens working more than 20 hours a week had "lower expectations for educational attainment, lower school engagement, higher levels of substance abuse and other problem behavior."

Problem Behavior

Problem behavior was associated with teens who worked more than 20 hours a week. The Child Development study found that teens who worked more were prone to drug use and delinquency. Teens may turn to substance abuse as a coping mechanism, as they become too stressed to deal with their responsibilities. Limiting your teen's work hours may help reduce her stress and help her balance work, school and social responsibilities. The Child Labor Coalition of the National Consumers League limits 14 to 15 year olds to three hours of work daily and 15 hours per week during the school year, and the limit for 16 to 17 year olds is four hours per day and 20 hours per week during the school year. Child development experts at the Kids Health website also suggest not working too late on school nights and ensuring enough rest.


Balancing work, school and a social life can become stressful if the load is too heavy. While learning to balance responsibilities can be a good thing, it can also be damaging to a teen's health. Teens need rest and recovery after work, and too little time in between can lead to sedentary behaviors to cope with stress, which in turn takes a toll on their health. One issue is obesity, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16.9 percent of children and teens ages 2 through 19 years are obese. The lack of rest can also make his body more prone to illness and infections.

Signs Your Teen is Working Too Much

Psychology Today suggests talking with your teen and seeing if she is too stressed. Ask what is overwhelming her and whether she is feeling too much pressure. Some signs that your teen may be working too hard and is too stressed out include no social life, staying up late for school work, saying she feels overwhelmed and having a super busy schedule with no down time. If your teen's job starts getting in the way of school and social obligations, then it may be time to step in and help her regulate her schedule.

About the Author

Jenivieve Elly has been an entertainment writer since 2006 and also has experience in public relations. She writes for Right Celebrity and its sister websites, serving as senior marketing consultant and fashion editor. Elly holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of South Florida.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images