I'm a Brit in my early 40's, and I grew up in the South East of England in the 70s and 80s. I remember that my parents didn't provide a tight rein at all - what they did do was teach me about responsibility, kindness and accountability - In other words, I had to look after myself, be good to others and realise that my actions were my own.
I was out frequently with friends, climbing trees, playing games, getting muddy and generally having a great time. Yes, I occasionally got into scrapes, but generally had an excellent time growing up.
The lessons of responsibility, kindness and accountability have stayed with me as well, and I think they are even more important to me as an adult than they were as a child.