Raising kids is tough. At the same time, it's one of the most rewarding things a human can ever do, yet it's also the most terrifying. It also comes with two competing desires in the parent. One the one hand, you want your kid never to grow up. When they grow up one tends to lose their feeling of importance. On the other hand, the sooner your child can turn into an free thinking and responsible adult, the better.
As much as you'd like to keep your child safe and dependent on you, your job as a parent is to make yourself obsolete as soon as possible. And for the most part, it's a completely thankless job. Sure, they might throw out a "thanks mom!" when they score a touchdown or become president, but we all know the true joys of being a parent come from within. That feeling of accomplishment you feel when your child is doing things that you never thought were possible.
Of course, getting from the toddler stage to the functioning adult stage is a long and painful process. What's the best course of action? You obviously need to balance how much specific direction you give them, with allowing them to discover their own path. How do you do this? Only you know. And you'll never do more than give it your best guess.
To much direction and control can turn them into rebels who will go against the suggestions of authority at every turn. Too much freedom can lead them to make horrible mistake they'll regret for the rest of their lives. And it's not like you can simply copy what your neighbor is doing.
The truth is, you'll never really know if you're making the right decision. All you can do is have a rock solid, unbreakable set of rules and standards that both you and your child understand and agree on. Of course, your child would rather have less rules than more rules. You've simply got to explain to them that rules are a part of life. Follow the rules, and you get a reward. Break the rules, and you get punished.
This can train them to live on their own in society, as early as possible. Nothing can make a parent more proud that to have a successful and financially independent child in their early twenties. Getting him or her there should be your most important goal. Love them as much as you can, with an iron fist, and then set them free.