Labor: beneficial for children or not?

girl-workingSometimes work implies special efforts which require a certain emotional maturity and a good physical development which children do not possess adequately. Despite the fact that we can admit that a certain child meets a physical condition which is suitable for work, he or she certainly does not have a high degree of development so as to face the stress, and to assume the specific responsibilities of an employee. Compliance with the rules, putting work under strict measures, submitting to a certain work pattern, according to specific rules, are aspects which are not compatible with a child’s personality.

Strictly speaking from a professional point of view, a child is also unable to have a qualification required for a particular job. In addition to the intellectual effort required by the job, experience is certainly needed because a child is not prepared for this. He or she cannot be expected to have an amount of knowledge and skills which he hasn’t had the time and opportunity to acquire yet.

But what is more important, beyond the compatibility which may be required between a job and a child’s profile, resides in the steps which are extremely necessary for the optimal development of a child.

In order to have a harmonious growth, both his body and his mind should develop naturally, according to the biological clock. Moreover, his psychological profile must be molded through education at first, not through work. If the latter plays an important role in the child’s life, there is a risk for him to give up on education and implicitly on the professional or social development. In this way, his work will prevent him from ever reach the peak of his evolution.

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Seeing the issue from a different perspective, children acquire the sense of the meaning of life and of what responsibility by involving into work means. They have to broaden their horizon of understanding the reality, and giving them an activity in addition to homework is an effective way to achieve this. Of course, the tasks they are assigned should not be beyond their potential, but these are often beneficial and even necessary. This is especially true for children from families with a favorable financial condition, where there is often the tendency of being spoiled. Labor appears here as a regulatory factor, offering them a conduct of responsibility and thoughtfulness, teaching them how to appreciate more the money gained, this time, by their own efforts.

From this point of view, we should not understand that labor affects the child’s schoolwork, but we should see it as an activity related to his education. Labor does not prevent him from fulfilling the duties of a pupil, it does not take away the time he spends studying, but it turns to advantage the time spent for certain unnecessary activities. In addition, child labor is a way to self-knowledge, to discover their own passions, ambitions, aspirations, and based on them the child can understand better the future that he or she wishes to build.

So if labor complements the education process and the activity performed is in compliance with the child’s development level, it will certainly be an important life lesson, extremely valuable for a future adult.

Adelina-Mihaela Poenaru & Raluca Marin