Photo by Elina Fairytale

It’s essential that parents know how to rear their children securely. Whether parents choose authoritarian or soft parenting, parenting style has authority over children’s development.

Every child is born unique and special and differ from one another. With these differences, it can be easily said that development isn’t a one-size-fits-all structure. Children each have the opportunity to grow and become distinctive individuals equipped with different skills and personalities. While they all eventually become adults, they don’t become the same people practicing the same beliefs and sharing the same characteristics. What they become is heavily reliant on what they are exposed to during the early years within their environment.

Nature vs. Nurture

Nature and nurture work together in molding a person’s development, each contributing to a person’s character. For instance, children born with a genetic disposition toward aggressiveness won’t necessarily grow up and become hostile adults. While aggression is etched in their nature, they can still avoid falling into their predestined plan, depending on how they’re nurtured. This is where the importance of child-rearing comes in. Parents are responsible for correcting their children’s behavior, guiding and nurturing them during their developmental years.

However, when it comes to what kind of upbringing or parenting works for children, nobody has it figured out. Even parents with more children haven’t mastered what works and produce children with great character. After all, every child has different means requiring different rearing approaches. What works for one might not work for another.

Soft Parenting

The primary reason rearing plays a crucial part in children’s development is that children are still making sense of the world around them during childhood. In between understanding the world’s systems and rules and managing their emotions, they still have much to learn. Children need proper guidance in understanding what’s good and beneficial for them, and how they’re taught these things will be carried over into adulthood.

When someone hears the term soft parenting, perhaps the visual that comes out is a child running around and being troublesome while parents gently tell them to stop. This visual is partly on-point. While parents approach parenting with gentleness, they aren’t necessarily submissive to their children.  Instead, they’re more sympathetic and deal with their children’s misbehavior with more kindness rather than criticizing.

Soft parenting parents believe children are good and only do bad deeds because of lack of proper coping mechanisms. They don’t think punishment or reward is appropriate for managing behavior. Instead, soft parenting parents aim to respect and validate their children’s feelings and desires and only step in to correct these desires when necessary. This type of parenting lets adults establish boundaries while making children feel validated and seen, rather than predominantly punishing and belittling them.

Emotional Regulation

Soft parenting lets children recognize their emotions as the caregiver constantly affirms these as important. This is essential to their development since children have yet to learn how to express and manage their emotions. At this age, they might still have trouble communicating as they are still building on their expressive and receptive language skills.

Ever notice why children are provided with countless materials about communication? This is because they’re still at an age when they’re still developing their language skills.. They’re supplied with materials like Talk Play and Read With Me Mommy, which provides parents with many activities helping improve children’s speech and language. This teaches them to be more expressive and openly communicate their wants and needs so that parents can listen and react effectively. These activities are fit for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.  These early developmental stages are an important time when children are exposed to different stimulants that help to increase their language skills.

Soft parenting makes parenting a two-way process.  Instead of parents always teaching their children what’s right from wrong, they’re also taught to understand their children’s needs for better validation and support. This allows them to improve their self-awareness by understanding their child’s behavior rather than not knowing what to do.

Jo Ann Gramlich is an award-winning author and speech-language pathologist specializing in helping children with communication disorders in Buffalo, New York. She holds a Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology from SUNY Buffalo and has extensive experience in early intervention, preschool, and school settings. Visit her on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

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