peeples.....I hear you. Many parents do put an enormous amount of responsibilities upon their "little ones," and have somewhat unrealistic expectations of children, before they seem old enough and/or mature enough to handle certain things. I'd have to guess that it is a sign of the times.
I accept that kids, in general, continue to come into the world, more and more intelligent and advanced, to say nothing of the speed at which they progress. As a Great-grandmother, in 2013, children never cease to totally AMAZE me.
While I must admit that I hesitate to encourage so much "grown-up," behavior and attitude in very young kids (IMO....under 12)....their parents accuse me of "babying," them. (this is a god-given RIGHT of grandparents!!)
The world has changed so very much. Family situations, dynamics & lifestyle are fast-paced, with fuller schedules and attitudes to match. Pushing and/or rushing a child to be more adult-like, appears to be the way of parenting, today, I suspect, for numerous reasons.
The reality is, although it appears that kids are "handling" it quite well, I become concerned. I can't help but feel that too much, too soon, may have some unpleasant repercussions, in the long run. Is enough thought and consideration being given to nurturing the "child," during the actual child stage?
Each child is unique, of course and hopefully, parents are attuned to their own child's limits, abilities and emotional wellness.
Teaching responsibility & independence are vital in raising children properly. It is just as important for these lessons to be introduced to our children, age & ability appropriate. I fully appreciate your question, as an acutely aware Mom! I applaud you as well.