If you've ever flown a kite, you know that the more string you play out, the higher the kite can soar. But the higher the kite soars, the less you control the flight.
The same holds true as fathers raise their sons. Watching your kid make his own decisions and assert his identity is a terrific part of parenting and leads to lots of proud moments. But giving your son this freedom means accepting that he might take turns you're not expecting. A shopping trip might not lead to the sporting goods department or musical instrument shop that you'd pick, but to a kitchen department, art supply store or science shop.
At the same time, a son still counts on his dad to steer him clear of tangles and crashes. Your kid might ask for your sage advice when comparing cast iron cookware or chemistry sets. Guiding him through relatively low-impact decisions like these will build his trust in your judgment -- and his own critical thinking skills. The aim isn't to have a kid who reaches the same decisions as you, but who reaches sound decisions on his own.
Next, we consider the issue of values, and not just the ones on the store shelves.