Consistency I think is key. A lot of parents say one thing and do another or they don't follow through with consequences. I think down the road this leads to a rude awakening for the child.
I also think some schools need to do a better job of preparing kids for advanced grades. They say things like "no homework and you'll get a bad grade" - but then let them turn things in late. Kids then learn well my actions don't really have consequences I can just make an excuse and get out of it.
My sons schools/teachers are all wonderful - we've been truly blessed, but my one beef with them was they would let things slide. Once my son went into advanced classes in Jr. High, he was not prepared for the "no excuses" and "no nonsense" approach they take and he has struggled a bit. He's a very disorganized person at times - lol, and that causes problems because his teachers do not tolerate not having what you need at the beginning of class and they take off points etc. Had they enforced similar policies in 5th and 6th grades, these kids wouldn't be struggling so much.
We have had to really work with him and help him understand that from here on out people aren't going to coddle you in life. If you are in advanced classes it's because more is expected of you not less.
Overall, we trust our kids. We set clear, defined boundaries and I think that helps them better understand consequences. We aren't total dictators of course :), but we have limits and they are known - no surprises. If you mess up you lose a game/tv etc. If you do what's expected of you, then you get rewards.