The next time a student (or your child) begins a question with "Can I" or "May I" replace the "Can" or "May" with "Should."
Now, what is the answer?
Sometimes the fear of taking action to solve your problems or enhance your experience leads you to ask for permission in hopes of hearing, "No." "No" gets you off the hook. It gives you a reason to NOT act. It justifies your fears.
I am not advocating for poor manners. In certain situations, asking is the polite thing to do. However, the motivation behind asking matters. Asking in order to justify your fear is not the same as politely asking.
The next time a student asks if she "can" work in a group instead of alone, make a project instead of writing another paper, or produce a video in place of a transcript; turn the question around and ask her if she "should" before answering.