WASHINGTON — At one time, children were expected to follow in their parents' occupational footsteps. But things have changed in the past few decades. A new Junior Achievement poll of 1,000 teens between 13 and 18 shows that 78 percent of respondents are not interested in following in their parents' career paths. This is up 2 percent from last year. (Among girls, the figure was 82.5 percent; among boys, 76.1 percent.)
"Children are naturally rebellious against their parents during their teens, and this may explain why they are so emphatic about not following in their parents' footsteps," said Dr. Stuart Shapiro, executive director of the Job Shadow Coalition. "However, teens still rely on [other] caring adults to provide them with guidance."
In the poll, teachers/counselors were the No. 1 source of career information, followed by the Internet and job shadowing. Parents were ranked fourth. Job shadowing - which acquaints students with the world of work through a year-long school curriculum - moved up from sixth place in 2003 to third place in 2004 as the activity became more common. Parents had been in third place in 2003.