A number of parents in southern Vietnam allow their children to take part-time jobs during the summer break in the hope that they will learn about earning and using money.
Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, the mother of 9-year-old Truong Minh Huy and 7-year-old Truong Minh Hoang, said this summer she let her two sons work at their family’s ornamental tree shop in the southern province of Dong Nai’s Long Thanh District.
“We want them to take over the business in the future, so they should get to know it early,” Ngoc said.
In Ho Chi Minh City, many parents register for their kids to sell goods at charity fairs held by a club of mothers.
Nguyen Thi Bich Huyen let her 4-year-old kid Nguyen Ngoc Minh Khue sell goods at a summer fair in the hope that her child will be more confident in communication and less selfish.
“After the fairs, my kid has been more confident and communicates better,” Huyen said.
“I love to join fairs because I can meet and play with many friends,” Khue talked about her joy in participating in the events.
Not only can they donate part of their profits, parents and children can also join charity activities to help children in remote areas later.
Uyen Thu, a young fair seller, said she always spends half of the money she earns on charity activities, while the remainder is used to buy books or learning tools.
“I used to take part in charity activities with my parents and friends,” Thu said. “I feel happy seeing that the money I earned by myself can bring joy to people.”
Meanwhile, Thu’s mother commented that the activity is a good lesson for children on using money the right way. Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy, the head of a mother’s club, said she organizes the fairs not only to help children to learn skills to earn money, but also to spend it reasonably.
Bui Thanh Thu, from District 7, the mother of Sao, 8, and Nhien, 7, said she asks her kids to divide the money they earn for different purposes, including studying, charity and personal expenses.
Thu said that by joining the fairs together, she can also help her children to administer their “cupidity,” telling them if money is used the right way, it will beautify the owner.
Bich Ngoc, another mother, said that after getting a job, her children learned to think before deciding to buy something and ponder over things they need or do not need to buy.
They no longer ask their parents to buy stuff like before, Ngoc added.
Trinh Le Thao My, an 8th grader from Le Quy Don Middle School in District 3, asked her parents to allow her to work at a neighboring knitting shop named Cotton during her summer break.
“I agreed because I want my child to get real experience and to know how to earn money,” Le Thi Kim Thanh, My’s mother, explained why she gave her the nod. “I want her to go through ups and downs to understand what real life is like.” My said that at first she wanted to get a job because she likes the feeling of earning money on her own.
“I have learned a lot,” My admitted after her time working at the shop. “The most important thing I’ve learned is to work effectively with other people.”
My’s mother said she has never been late for work.
“I’m happy seeing my child be so responsible,” Thanh stated. According to Dr. Huynh The Du, senior lecturer in public policy at the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program, getting a part-time job at an early age will help children learn about life.
It will help them see the difference between life in reality and in books, he said.
“From then, they could get more knowledge and experiences,” Dr. Du said.
However, Dr. Du also pointed out another side of the story. Since they are young and do not have much knowledge about society to see what is wrong and what is right, he said, adding that if children are thrown into situations in which bad and good things are mixed, they could have mistaken thoughts about life.
And those thoughts could influence their personality and development later on, the lecturer warned.
“Parents need to choose appropriate jobs for their kids so they are not overwhelmed, and they need to encourage them,” he said. “Talk to the kids to help them understand the good purposes of what they do.”