Before we can talk about whether or not being "soft" is "good" or "bad" (all man-made concepts and ideas, for the record), we must zoom out.
Here's the greater question: Why do we raise children?
Some would say things like "legacy". Or, "that's just what you do." Or, some deeply want to be a parent. Or, few may say, "to advance the human species." It depends on the perspective of the parent (either large or small).
As the immersive growth strategist who focuses on growth through the lens of HX, the human experience, this answer is very simple. I believe the human experience is about connection. If we do not connect and work together, our species cannot thrive. All the brain does is make connections, consciously or not. The more we can connect with ourselves through self-awareness, and the more we can respect that, the greater we can connect with our humanity at large.
How does this play into parenting?
There are some very simple frameworks. Here are 2:
1. Living proactive versus reactively
2. Living with fear or trust
To live proactively and to live with trust is the mentality that can help advance our species.
The challenge with "soft" is when it means reactive because someone doesn't know how to stand up for what they believe.
The challenge with "soft" is when someone lives with fear because they do not believe they are worthy of connection or they fear the future.
Having said that, raising someone "hard" or "soft" is only a small part of the parenting equation.
These are very animal instincts, we all have them, but we many lack the ability to channel our animal side (if all we are is social animals).
The question then becomes, how can we raise our children to thrive in with our evolved human experience and create progress? Not for 1 family's generation, but for the sake of legacy, for our species. Legacy is why I do what I do.
On the flip side, making someone too hard, and living with too much fear, could prevent someone from thinking about how they affect other people, or how they affect humanity. (Can't think about others when survival instincts have you stuck thinking about yourself) Why? Too much fear, or too harsh living conditions, can prevent someone from thinking bigger. Instead, they fend for themselves. It's a survival instinct.
Open to any feedback.
SOURCE: I've personally engaged with ten thousand+ people around the world and have spent tens of thousands of hours learning over the past 2 decades.