Is your mollycoddled teenager playing you for a fool? It seems likely. They can't do their homework without a pricey assistant at their side; but they can make more money than you promoting tween parties. Parents, wake up!

The latest evidence that today's teenagers are living the softest lives this side of Twinkie filling: the rise of "Homework Helpers," who, unlike "tutors," are mostly there just to hold your overgrown toddler's hand and stroke his ego to convince him to finish his homework at night:

If a student finds French grammar or algebra incomprehensible, a tutor in those subjects can help. But if the problem is a child who will not budge from the Xbox, or pens doodles instead of topic sentences, some harried parents with cash to spare have been turning to homework helpers who teach organizational skills and time management, or who sometimes just sit there until the work is finished.

So your kid could theoretically have two paid staffers at his side at all hours—one to turn off the Xbox, and one to actually teach him something. And meanwhile, high school sophomore Ricky Smith "has been collecting up to $15,000 an event in cover charges for hosting drug- and alcohol-free teen dance parties throughout the city." At five events per annum, Ricky's grossing a cool $75K—enough to pay for five thousand hours of Homework Helpers. But instead he'll probably spend it on chewing gum and pornography.

These teens know exactly what they're doing.

[Photo: Shutterstock]