Through the centuries we have progressively emancipated slaves, war prisoners and the fair sex. I wonder if we'll ever do the same for children. Of course, we do control the way they dress, act, eat, and almost everything else, for their own sake, just as they did, for the sake of slaves and the weaker sex. It was deemed unthinkable that a woman could handle a business or estate, so the property was handed down from father to husband (or brother). Just as today we think it would be crazy to let young people decide on their own about their lives, although there are plenty of examples (I'm one of them) that when a kid has total freedom to do as he likes, the result may well be a greater sense of responsibility and ability to think for oneself.
The idea that we not only can but should, and is indeed an example of good parenting, control every minutia of our children's actions, is so widespread as to be almost invisible. We take it as something so normal, that we almost never consider the alternative, or how it did make us feel, how it sored our relations to our parents, how distant it made us, how it made us accept the other sources of control in society: the teacher, the boss, the politician, the police, etc.
Things are changing however, because a growing number of kids are having access to more sources of information than those we can control. Of course there are some who continued to be hooked on tv. For those I guess there is no hope. But for all those that, in ever increasing numbers, access the internet, and plumb through newspapers, wikis, forums, and all sorts of less controlled information, those will be more difficult to control. It is a very small minority, for sure. But they will spread, their children will be even less controlled. And their children's children even less. There will come a time when the liberation of all kids will occur. And it will not be just a matter of: I choose what I study, where I live, what I eat, what I think, what I believe in, what my goals are... It will be much more than that: because to no one, absolutely no one, will be recognized the power to tell them what they should be.
And that springs a whole new beginning for mankind. (just as the other emancipations allowed)
For this new mankind will not accept to be manipulated so easily, as if it was natural, as if it was a second skin. They will want, because they will be used to it from the beginning, to think for themselves.
My bet? In two to eight generations children will no longer be considered a "property" of their parents.
How much longer than for animals and so on... ?