Incedentally, I could have been the mother in the OP letting the kids up on the counter-top. But I probably would have thrown a quick glance to a parent or host to check in the process.
I'm pretty firm in the trusting of children to find their own limits. But it can be very dangerous to blindly trust a child that you dont know well, or if the child is used to being trusted in that way.
A child who has never been allowed to climb on high places and is used to hearing a caregiver saying "dont do that, you might fall", probably hasnt had the same chances to learn the necessary skills as a child who is accustomed to being trusted in most situations. So yeah, "trust your own kids, check with the parents of others' " I think is the moral to this story.
I also let my 3 yo dd self-regulate on food almost 100%. She does eat sweets, but actually less than some other kids I know who have strict "sweet limits". She is more likely to ask me for a piece of friut or yoghurt as a candy bar.
Actually, she just discovered M&Ms last week, and since then (5 days) she's been asking to go to the local corner store every day (on one day twice) to get a little packet. So we go. Yesterday, we got her packet of M&Ms and she ate about 5 of them before putting the packet down and she asked for a sandwich about 10 minutes later.
I decided to play a joke on her and insisted that she cant have anything else till she finishes the M&Ms. She looked at me funny, and took one more M&M, but then refused the rest. I tried to get her to eat one more, and she refused. So I laughed and told her that I was just joking and made her the sandwich...
Today she didnt want to get M&Ms at all, but did ask for a Banana