This is the question asked by sociologist and youth minister Jim Hancock in his book "Raising Adults: A Humane Guide to Parenting in the New World". What he means by that is explained in this Indianapolis Star article : "Our task has often been defined as raising children," Hancock said, "and ultimately that's what we've ended up with -- adult-aged children who don't feel very well prepared for life in the real world. I think if we were to shift our emphasis to raising adults, everybody is happier."
Jim describes a method of parenting that teaches children how to become independent. "One thing we should never ask our kids is, 'Do you have your jacket, homework, gym bag, backpack, keys,' listing everything I can think of that you might possibly need in order to survive your day. I think effective parents learn to ask their children, 'Do you believe you have everything that you need for today,' and teach their children to figure out what is on that list." He demonstrates classic errors: "Hancock tells the story of a woman who skipped a business meeting to take her adolescent son's homework to him at school. "I thought, 'how long has she been doing that?' Probably since he was 6 years old, and he's learned to depend upon her for those kinds of details. He will be very angry with her one day when she takes a vacation or dies and he's left without his homework. Not to mention when he's 32 and the boss needs the memo, and his mother is not there to bring the document to him."
He also offers a free online book , "Ten Things We Should Never Say to Kids".