Monday, March 31, 2014

Insight - The 17-year-old gap - By Michelle Libby

Being 17 isn’t easy. This is the first time that you are most definitely judged against your peers for college admittance, for scholarships, for summer jobs and for class rank in high school. 
Imagine my surprise that being 17 has other drawbacks. There is a labor law loop hole where 17-year-olds aren’t covered in child labor laws and they aren’t covered in adult labor laws because they aren’t adults, so legally there is no recourse for someone working a 17-year-old 12 hours a day or six days a week without a break. I’ve seen this happen. 

Another thing I found odd was when I went to have my taxes prepared for the first time. Parents don’t get a deduction for a 17-year-old. The $1,000 per child, not if the “child” is 17. Again, not an adult, but not a child either. Are we parents still paying for the child to live in our homes, eat our food and most of the time cloth them? We also are looking at a huge college tuition bill, but none of that matters to the federal government? 

Next year the $1,000 does come back in the form of education credits, I’m informed, but does this seem odd to anyone else? 

Are 17-year-olds different in some way? The pressure is on to apply to college and get scholarships and meet deadlines all while keeping their grades up. They are finding themselves being graded, judged and broken down by the system. 

Thankfully on the flipside of that, 17-year-olds are learning about success when they get into their first choice college and some get those scholarships and others work at a job where the boss is constructive and interested in having a good working environment. 

Being a teenager is a learning experience. They tell incoming middle school parents that your children will change so much over the next three or four years. You may not recognize them. You may not want to smell them, but they are still kids. 

I believe that between ages 16 to 18 these people become more like adults. They transition into driving a car, getting a checking account, debit card and possibly a credit card. They learn about responsibility and working toward a goal. 

For all of you 17-year-olds out there, good luck getting through the next few months and heading on your path to success. To parents of the 17-year-olds, I refer back to my previous questions, does this seem odd to anyone?

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