English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have just finished watching the 3rd season of Lie to Me.

I am wonder whether there is a word for somebody who cares for his/her son/daughter/child too much, like Dr. Cal Lightman?

share|improve this question
Am I correct to assume this questions was not about Münchausen syndrome by proxy? – oosterwal Feb 21 '11 at 17:47
@oosterwal Horrifying.... Lightman is not a bad guy.... – user3812 Feb 22 '11 at 0:39
Jiang: I meant no offense. I'm not familiar with Dr. Lightman and the phrase 'cares for his/her son/daughter/child too much' is all-to-often associated with Münchausen. – oosterwal Feb 23 '11 at 0:18
"Münchausen syndrome by proxy" would be the exact opposite of caring for a child. It's pretending to care for a child, while hurting the child and enjoying the resulting attention. – gnasher729 May 11 '14 at 21:38
Please see additional relevant answers at "An excessively solicitous parent." – Sven Yargs Nov 4 '15 at 20:24
up vote 17 down vote accepted

An entertaining neologism for this is helicopter mom or helicopter dad. (The implication is that the parent is "hovering" over their child at all times.)

share|improve this answer
+1: a fun playful phrase, that’s caught on remarkably widely. – PLL Feb 19 '11 at 17:11

You could call such a parent over-protective. Sometimes such parents are called intrusive or smothering (in the sense that their habit of getting between a child and the real-life ups and downs of experience may stifle a child's emotional growth).

share|improve this answer
To tell the truth, I do not like your edit to my question.... because in the original question, it may get different versions of answers for sons and daughters.... – user3812 Feb 19 '11 at 12:02
OK. I'll roll it back for you, but you should be aware that you can roll it back yourself as well whenever you see an edit of your material that you disagree with. – Robusto Feb 19 '11 at 12:41
You should also be aware that you need a preposition after "cares" in that sentence: "for" or "about" would be appropriate. – Robusto Feb 19 '11 at 12:42
personally i would prefer an adverb in that phrase, so "overly protective" would be more appropriate. heavens, has the adverb literally died? – Octopus Jun 12 '15 at 22:12

Overbearing (definition from Merriam-Webster)
: often trying to control the behavior of other people in an annoying or unwanted way

share|improve this answer

One classic phrase is a 'doting parent'.

share|improve this answer
Yes, I was going to add "doting" myself, with a caveat: It has two senses - 1. overly parental, and 2. fondly caring. – The Raven Feb 22 '11 at 1:02

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.