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Parenting Tips: Good time to stay in college

Teenagers are facing the worst employment market in 60 years. Both full-time and part-time jobs are so scarce that many adults are now seeking work that used to be for teens.

On a positive note, there is a silver lining for those in college undergraduate programs, and especially for high school seniors just graduating: Their timing is perfect. Since there are very few opportunities to find good jobs for the next few years, stay in college. By the time the class of 2009 graduates from college, the economy will be stronger and possibly more vital than ever. You might even be recruited! Bide your time while collecting a degree or two.

Let the weak economy work to your advantage.

For parents strapped for money in the downturned economy, community colleges offer an excellent education for the first two years of college, and at a fraction of the cost of university courses.

California, for example, has 2 million students at 110 campuses. The cost is only $20 per unit.

Thanks to the parents who shared one of their kid tips with us this week.

STARTING A NEIGHBORHOOD BUSINESS -- Our twin boys are adults now, but when they were teenagers, they complained about never having enough money. So I came up with a plan, which they enthusiastically endorsed: I fronted the money for a drivable mower that also came equipped with a rototiller and a plow.

The three of us would be co-owners, so each boy owed me a third of the cost. The boys quickly had more than 20 customers per week (mowing and tilling in the summer, and snowplowing in the winter). They paid me back sooner than expected. As businessmen, they gained valuable experience working with adult customers, billing and budgeting their time and money. It was a great job, considering the alternative of working for minimum wage at a fast-food restaurant. Sometimes, parents need to invest their time, creativity and resources to help their kids get started in an activity. -- J. Rogers, Johnstown, Pa.

A BAND-AID -- INSIDE AND OUT -- So everyone (especially playmates) knows where the sore spot is, I put a Band-Aid on the outside of the clothing over the sore spot. -- D.M., Fremont

URINE CARPET STAINS -- I first learned this tip as a pet owner, but also found it useful as a mom of three children. Club soda works great for removing urine stains on carpets. First, blot up as much urine as possible. Pour club soda on the stain and let the bubbles do the work. Soak it up with a cloth or sponge, then rinse with plain water. -- B.W.M., Knoxville, Tenn.

"WE LIKE HOW OUR CHILDREN TURNED OUT" -- Parenting toddlers teaches you that you can't eat, sleep or go to the bathroom for your kids. Parenting teens teaches you that you can't succeed for them or do their hurting for them, either. Be very clear about who owns what dreams and whose problems are whose. Our sons are not turning out to be quite the people we expected, but they are turning out to be the people they are comfortable being. We've discovered that we like that -- and them -- a lot. -- J.G., Fairport, N.Y.

Share your parenting tip; e-mail Tom McMahon at