There's no better time to cling to the adage "choose your battles wisely" than during the transition from childhood to adolescence. If your sixth grader wants to wear athletic shorts to school in the winter or cultivate an anti-Bieber hairstyle, let him.
Offering opportunities to become autonomous will help your sixth grader become independent. It will also allow him to experience the consequences of his choices, both negative and positive, while still benefitting from a parental safety net. It will be easier (for everyone) if he can learn from his mistakes while riding a bicycle instead of a driving a car.
You can help your sixth grader by enforcing limits, too. The yin to autonomy's yang, these guidelines build confidence and a sense of security that comes with clear expectations [source: Plugged in Parents].