This useful NYT article came out a while ago Raising Successful Children. Some excerpts:
“In a typical experiment, Dr. Dweck takes young children into a room and asks them to solve a simple puzzle. Most do so with little difficulty. But then Dr. Dweck tells some, but not all, of the kids how very bright and capable they are. As it turns out, the children who are not told they’re smart are more motivated to tackle increasingly difficult puzzles. They also exhibit higher levels of confidence and show greater overall progress in puzzle-solving.”
“…children thrive best in an environment that is reliable, available, consistent, and noninterfering.”
So let your kid walk to the Dairy Queen by themselves, just follow at a discreet stalking distance so you can be at hand when the police intervene.