In 1976, American psychologist Jerome Bruner originally used the word scaffolding as a metaphor for the best way to educate a child. His theory was about collaborative learning, that a parent or teacher has to guide the student while he learns a new math skill, for example, and then, once the child has achieved mastery of it, the parent or teacher stops instruction of that task and moves on to the next.
We've taken Bruner's core scaffolding idea of an authority figure guiding a child toward independence and expanded and redefined it into parental support and guidance, not just in an educational context but in an emotional, social, and behavioral one, too. The metaphor of the parental scaffold is visual, intuitive, and simple.
What is scaffolding parenting?
Think of it this way: Your child is the "building." You, the parent, are the scaffold that surrounds the building. Your purpose as the scaffold is to provide support and structure, not prohibit your child's growth in any particular direction or style.