My friend Lainie Ettinger is writing a newspaper article (which I can't wait to read) about how and when to teach kids and teens independence. It occurred to me that you'd have so much more to say on the topic than I ever could, and so I appeal to your collective brilliance: do you have any specific tips or wisdom to share? Post your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to tell TypePad your email address so Lainie can get in touch if she decides to quote you. Or, send your ideas to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll forward them to her.
I'm writing a story about how parents can give kids and teens more freedom and control over their lives before they are on their own as they leave for college.
Here's the background: In 2003, Neil Howe and William Strauss wrote a book called "Milennials Go to College" about the current generation of college kids (born 1982-2000). These kids are the most structured and driven since the WWII Greatest Generation. But their folks, dubbed "helicopter parents," have hovered over every aspect of the kids' lives and continue to do so while they are in college.
What can today's parents of young children and teens do to gradually give their kids a sense of independence and control over their own lives?
I'd like your specific tips and broad theories. One of my friends lets her 9 yr old shoot baskets at the school if he brings a walkie-talkie to communicate with her. I've also seen kids walking down the street holding a cell phone in front of them like a loaded weapon. What are your thoughts?
[The finished article appeared in the Sunday Oregonian in August 2006. — Ed.]