For many of us in age groups where childhood was essentially devoid of adult supervision, chores were a fact of every day existence, television didn't exist, and two phones were only found in the homes of the rich, this article by Elizabeth Kolbert in The New Yorker, Spoiled Rotten, rings true.
I'm constantly surprised and saddened as to how incompetent and befuddled many of today's young adults from middle-class homes seem to be. This observation is not unique to me. Recently a family member of mine was involved in recruiting new staff for a very well paid government position. Despite over 250 applicants, all with the prerequisite education level of an undergraduate degree, only one of three positions could be filled because of the appalling lack of basic competency of the applicants. Many of the applicants (most in their mid-twenties) were driven to the interview by parents, and parents had arranged to have their resumes and applications written.
So pervasive is the new child-centric world that finding a competent young adult who is not self-absorbed, and is capable of creative problems solving, self-directed initiative, and a competency to do even menial tasks such as cooking one's own food, doing the laundry, or using public transport is extremely difficult.
Within weeks if a child learning to walk, they should be making a positive contribution to a household. A kid who can walk can carry a dirty shirt to the washing machine. A kid who can eat without adult supervision can make sandwiches for themselves, their parents, and their siblings. A kid who can catch a ball, can mow a lawn. A kid who can ride a bike, can go shopping on their own for a few groceries for the family.
Often, the more parents do for their children, the more they harm them. To become an adult, children must learn thinking, practical, and social skills; make mistakes; and develop the courage to take initiatives in unique situations. Helping children often harms them. Unless absolutely necessary to prevent serious injury, parents should avoid helping their children. They should let them make mistakes and learn. They should also be required to be a practical and positive member of a family, and not merely a consumer and parent's pet.
A parent's obligation, in my view, is not to raise children, but rather to raise adults. If by the age of 12, a young person is unable to function as an independent, self-sufficient adult, the parents have utterly failed, and likely irreparably condemned their children to perpetual dependence on more competent people.