Okay so here is my thoughts on the topic.This is what having free range children means to me.
Honestly I love the idea. Now for me I believe a good free range parent believes in safely for their children. We do helmets on bikes proper footwear when out in the parks. We have rules, very important rules.
1- You NEVER leave a place we are at without the person you came with. ( we do make exceptions for emergencies where if you need to go with a marked EMS person)
2- You DO NOT take things from strangers and if offered decline and check with parents. ( Mostly for safety reasons if someone is offering stuff to kids I want to know about, while it could be innocent it also may not be )
3- Use your brain and think about things before you do them. ( mostly this goes for them climbing on things because my boys are big time climbers )
4- Let Parent know where you are going to be.
Really pretty simple rules when we are out. Now my kids are still young so they really don't go anywhere with me being with them, but I usually watch from a distance. With the baby I usually am closer to them so that if they fall I can get them back up and dust them off and send them on their way again. I enjoy letting my children explore their world and learn their limitations.
Yes I'm that seemly uncaring mom who steps back and lets their kid go do what they desire on the park. Though if you actually watch me I am watching them and you. I give my kids lots of freedom but I also am smart about what we are doing. I know if you have been talking and playing with my children, while I may not be hovering over them, I know.
Yes lets be honest here I have three kids my eyes are not on all of them all the time but i do regular surveys of the area and I know where they are. I don't think my children even realize how much i watch them, just like you think I'm not watching my child. I believe children need to have a level of independence from their parents. Part of them gaining their independence, is being allowed to do things, experience life and make mistakes.
Now before you think i just let my kids run wild doing what they want let's get things straight. My kids are not wild little beings, at least when we are out, home can be a different matter. Hahaha! They know if they make errors in their choices ( fighting , not play friendly with others, intentionally excluding others, etc...) that there is a need to make things right. This is part of me watching and not hovering. I let them learn how to interact with the world around them without my constant guidance. Mommy is watching though, and inappropriate behavior is not accepted. I figure by allowing them to learn how to interact with others while they are young with mommy watching from a distance, they will know how to do it as they get older and mommy is not watching. There is also a time and place for running around and climbing all over the place. the park is a good place the store is not. I am not one of those moms who let their kids just run free in stores. they must stay within a close distance to me. We are talking like 2ft, and our hands are kept to ourselves.
So you know what I may not be a true blue free range parents but that is what shakin' it up is all about. I take what works for us and leave the rest behind.