The Pew Research Center finds that number of teens working summer jobs has shrunk from about half to roughly a third since the start of the millennium.
While certainly there are some parents who might prefer to befriend their children rather than help them collect the tools and skills they will need to succeed in life; parenting expert Harry Harrison said he doesn't believe it's a meltdown of an entire generation, there's other things driving teens out of the summer workforce.
“You have parents who are so worried about college that they are making their kids go to summer school, or they’re setting them up on internships that don’t count as employment, or their off on a mission trip to beef up their college resume,” said Harrison.
Harrison said the focus on getting their children into college is paramount.
“Kids are in summer school trying to get those college credits. Kids are volunteering and going on mission trips trying to beef up that college resume. They don’t realize work would beef it up, too,” said Harrison.
He said if teens are allowed to work, they're looking for prestigious teen jobs like waiters...not mowing yards or scooping ice cream.
Pew found that since 2000, teens working summer jobs in the service industry grew from 22.6 percent to 33.8 percent.
Harrison added that another possible contributing factor is that employers don't want to pay teens the rate for part-time help, but rather higher older people, or unskilled labor who will last past the summer.