I would hope that most parents try to protect their children from the bumps and bruises of life for as long as they can or as long as the children will allow them. We do our best to help them avoid the skinned knees and sooth them the best we can when they do fall.
As they grow, we continue to guide their choices to avoid bad circumstances and ease the pain when they do choose incorrectly. We have to be careful not to sooth too much for it is in those consequences they learn to make better choices.
Children will all be different in wanting that protection for less time than others. When a child chooses to make wrong choices, depending on their age, trusting God to speak to them may be our only resource because they will no longer want our advice or protection.
It is sometimes hard to watch them suffer when their circumstance could have been avoided. It is also hard because we may have been able to protect them for many years and now we have to watch as they sometimes make decisions that are not the best for them. These decisions can often be destructive.
We should pray for our children always, but prayer at these times may be our only hope of guiding and protecting by allowing our God to work in them and use what they experience to His glory for He can use the bad and make it good.