softly-softly approach

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softly, softly approach

A calm and thoughtful method for dealing with a problem. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. When dealing with unmotivated teens, the softly, softly approach doesn't always work—sometimes you have to do something to get their attention. Many parents use the softly, softly approach when trying to calm their toddlers' tantrums.
See also: approach, softly

softly-softly approach

An approach that is cautious, tentative, gradual, and careful, especially to an overbearing degree. (Also written "softly, softly.") I just wish his parents didn't always take the softly-softly approach with him. The kid needs to learn how to be a bit more brazen and independent! I think we should use the softly, softly approach at this stage in development.
See also: approach

a/the softly-ˈsoftly approach

(British English, informal) a/the gentle, patient and careful way of doing something, especially when dealing with people: The police are now trying a more softly-softly approach with football hooligans. OPPOSITE: like a bull in a china shop
See also: approach
References in periodicals archive ?
The softly, softly approach to criminals and their activities has not, nor was it ever really going to, worked.
First he tried the softly, softly approach - sending O'Driscoll, left, a Christmas card complete with light-hearted request for the Irish icon to ask the Dublin crowd not to boo him.
So I was kind of grateful for the softly, softly approach. I'd brought along an apple and pear juice carton to rehydrate afterwards but it wasn't really needed.
The fact that the greyhound industry is directly or indirectly responsible for upwards of 11,000 jobs was also a very significant factor in the softly, softly approach this time.
But the softly, softly approach saw 60 people come forward within a day of the reminders being sent out.
Despite substituting Ferdinand in Saturday's debacle at Boro, Ferguson has opted for the softly, softly approach.
The police made it clear they would not be taking the softly, softly approach. But what gives these thugs the right to cause mayhem?
CAUTIOUS Colin McRae was taking the softly, softly approach today as he resumed his Monte Carlo Rally challenge.
The softly, softly approach to violent crime has failed and it is now time to put those who carry it out behind bars for a very long time.
She said: "This is the softly, softly approach. It doesn't work and my family doesn't have justice."
Gosden is taking the softly, softly approach at his new base reporting that all is going well with staff and horses.