I liked this article today from NY Times.
This is our parenting style. We don’t sign the kids up for endless activities, we don’t buy them tons of toys or spoil them with expensive things. They use their own money for the ice cream man and things they want in the story. They entertain themselves when they are bored. I let them play outside in the neighborhood. My older daughter sometimes walks to school (It’s several blocks – how dare I risk it!) I don’t believe she’ll be abducted since that is ridiculously rare. I don’t hover, I don’t micromanage – I expect them to pack their own school bags and do their homework. We certainly encourage and help and we have set limits and rules. They must learn to live in reasonable guidelines, just like those that exist in the real world. I give them independence and freedom to explore different things (I expect one day I’ll repeat to myself , “Hair grows back, piercings close up.”). They ask to join clubs, I might make suggestions but don’t push. They WILL NOT get cars when they are 16 unless they save their birthday money.
We weren’t overprotected when when we were kids. We knew the value of money and managed a lot on our own. Now, we are both self-sufficient, well-adjusted adults that didn’t make dumb mistakes buying homes and status symbols we couldn’t afford. That’s the point. You don’t get coddled in life. You can be supported, encouraged and loved but to coddle – well, that’s just going to hurt you in the long term. Uncoddling (with benefits) is the new parenting.
Recommended reading: Raising Freethinkers by Dale McGowan.