Mom who refuses to let teenage son get a job sparks debate: Is a work ethic overrated?

A mom is refusing to let her teenage son get a job because she wants him maintain his youth and pursue his passions before embracing society’s work “to stay alive” mentality.

In a video shared on TikTok, Esther Boyd explained that she urged her 15-year-old son not to seek employment because she wants him to “do what he wants” while he still has the chance as a teenager.

“I’ve had a very hectic load of life experience quite early on, and I’ve done so many things and achieved so many things and my work ethic is insane, yes, but that’s what I don’t like. Like why is our work ethic such an important valuable skill?” Boyd, 33, says in the clip. “Why are we valuing ourselves and each other on how hard we work?”


a photo of a now hiring sign

Some employers are still struggling to find workers to fill open positions.  ((Credit: iStock))

Boyd told South West News Service that “it seems like I have been working forever — I’m already physically and mentally ready to retire,” she said. She explained that she told her son “I don’t want you to get a job. I don’t think it is a smart idea,” because she wants him to enjoy life before he thinks “he has to work just to stay alive.”

“You can do this your whole life — why start now?” she said, as quoted in the New York Post.

Boyd said she will happily “fund his existence,” so her son can continue to pursue his interests and hobbies.

“I said I’ll give him money to do stuff. I can fund your existence,” she said, acknowledging that she is in a “privileged” position to be able to do so.


Big Weekend Show

‘The Big Weekend Show’ debates whether a mother who doesn’t want her 15-year-old son to get a job is right.  (Fox News)

Fox News contributor Mollie Hemmingway said that while it’s important for kids not to grow up too fast, it’s a parent’s job to instill a sense of responsibility and a strong work ethic in their children.

“I understand the argument that you want a child to enjoy their childhood. That’s a very important thing. But part of being a kid is learning how to shoulder responsibility and grow up and learn more about the world… and you would want that to happen while they’re still under your roof. So we’re totally cheating kids by not letting them get – a summer job, what’s the problem? It’s not going to conflict with school, you can save money for college. It seems like this lady has a very nice life but one that a lot of us might not be able to share,” she said on “The Big Weekend Show.”

Recalling his own experience working in a pet shop as a teenager, co-host and Fox News national correspondent Griff Jenkins said Boyd is not doing her son any favors by urging him not to work.

“She clearly loves this child so much…cshe says ‘I just want him to chase butterflies and count stars’ but the problem is she’s not doing him a favor because he’s not eight. He’s fifteen… you try and do things throughout the course of your children’s lives to enable them that should you disappear from the Earth tomorrow, you’ve given them the tools so they can survive. She loves her kid, but she’s gonna have to help because he’s 15, and soon he’s going to have to learn to earn,” Jenkins said.

lazy teen boy on couch

Esther Boyd explained that she urged her 15-year-old son not to seek employment because she wants him to “do what he wants” while he still has the chance as a teenager. (iStock)

Co-host Katie Pavlich shared a different perspective, crediting her mother for encouraging her to enjoy her teenage years without the rigidity of a nine to five job.

“I grew up in a car wash, I worked really hard in blizzards…I had a chore list, but I am so grateful to my mother. When I went to her when I was 15, 16 because all my friends were getting jobs at the tanning salon and the golf course. She said ‘no.’ You can do work at the car wash when we need you to, you can do your chores at home, but we want you to be able to be a teenager and go to basketball camp, go to law camp and to really enjoy being a teenager. And it was coming from my grandfather who told her, you have the rest of your life to work and it’s true,” Pavlich said. 


“I do like the idea that you need to learn how to to work and there are ways to do that without having a nine to five or a punch card at a restaurant or something like that…I do appreciate her letting her kid be a kid,” she added.

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