I may not be a parent yet, but I don't think I have to be one in order to know how to. I've been hearing all of this stuff about free thinking and parents allowing their kids to make their own choices. I get that they want their kids to be their own people and you definitely want them to be able to make their own decisions when they get out into the real world. The problem is though kids and teens are not real great decision makers on their own, this is something they have to learn from the grown ups. Think back for a moment, when you were a teenager what were you thinking about?
Let's face it, most teens don't necessarily have the best judgement. There are good kids who make the right choices, but for the most part they are generally thinking about parties, boyfriends/girlfriends, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Have you noticed the way teens are today? They are into so much more than I could have ever even imagined. They are promiscuous, dressing like little hookers, and heroin has become a major trend. It's really scary. This tells me that the free thinking thing is not working. I understand if you are too hard on your kids it can push them into stuff like this, but so can lack of parenting.
Based on what I've seen from the people I know the ones whose parents were a little bit tougher on them turned out to be decent and respectable people. Fortunately, I do not know anyone from my generation who ended up becoming screwed up, but I have noticed kids from the younger generations whose parents allow them to do whatever they want seem to be heading down the wrong paths.
So, disciplining your kids is necessary and as a parent you have to be the decision maker while they are living under your roof. Once they are old enough and have developed good common sense that's when you will want to give them more freedom. Freedom is something they need to earn, you can't just give them the keys to the car and allow them to go out to a party where you know there is going to be alcohol. They need to know the rules and the dangers first and allowing them to go to a party where there are no parents present or even if there are parents there and you have never met them, I'm sorry but that is just plain irresponsible if you ask me.
Just stop and think about it, if you don't discipline your kids and other parents don't discipline their kids just imagine what your kids are getting into? It's really sad when I have to tell people how to parent when I have never actually done it myself. I just really needed to get this off my chest. Whether people will read it or learn something from it I don't know. This is just my 2 cents.