Last week at the playground with my 4 year old son, I observed a mother shouting at her 5 year old boy, If you want me to treat you like an adult, you had better act like an adult.
This is interesting in several ways. First of all, what 5 year old wants to be treated like an adult? Most kids are having way more fun and less stress then their stressed out adult versions. The little boy also didn't need to classified as an adult to have a few extra pushes on the swing.
Secondly, If I were the child and I could rebel I would suggest that if you want me to act like an adult then treat me like an adult.
Children who are continually told what to do, not encouraged to think on their own, or not allowed to take initiative will not grow up to be great adults.
They will lack thinking skills and the ability to solve problems. I once heard a leadership speaker suggest that parents who solve their kids problems (at all ages) will limit their childs development.
The leadership speaker suggested that if as a young adult you have a $3,000 credit card debt, it will take you upwards of a year to work hard, save your money and pay it off.
Along the way you make a lot of decisions that are difficult and affect your lifestyle ( saving, working more hours) to solve your problem. However these decisions build character and teach you to solve problems ( and that you have to solve problems, they don't just go away).