I was wondering if there is an expression to describe parents (usually newly-made) that are extremely happy with having children, with this happiness manifesting as "childish" behavior on their part when interacting with their offspring.

As an example consider someone with a 6-month-old baby that talks to the baby in a silly voice, makes cartoon faces and sounds, moves the baby around while simulating a train or aeroplane (with sound effects) and so on; at the same time this person does not hesitate to do these things in front of others -- possibly even complete strangers.

In Greek we call this person χαζομπαμπάς (father)/χαζομαμά (mother), a term that literally translates to "silly dad/mom" but does not carry negative connotations. At the very worst someone might call you that to imply that the parent is incapable of denying the child any request, but usually it simply means "this person is so happy that they don't pay any attention to appearances".

Is there something similar in English? I have already looked at this question, but it's not exactly what I 'm looking for because I read it as having to do with feelings, while I am specifically interested in how those feelings manifest as behavior.

| improve this question | | | | |
  • 4
    I suggest we call them newlybreds. – user13141 Jun 10 '13 at 14:42
  • 1
    As a native speaker of both Greek and English, I think that doting is probably the best you will find. It does not have the same connotations as χαζομπαμπάς/μαμά but that is probably because there is no real translation of χαζοχαρούμενος/η into English and that is where I guess the words come from. However, doting does not really have bad connotations. It brings to mind a parent who lives for their child. – terdon Jun 10 '13 at 17:56
  • Though this isn't a name for the parents that engage in this behavior, the behavior itself is called baby talk. – Kristina Lopez Jun 10 '13 at 18:00
  • 2
    @KristinaLopez the word the OP is looking for encompases more than baby talk. It means that the parent in question is obsessed with their child but in a sweet way. No baby talk need be involved, rather the parent walks around with a stupid grin all day, can't stop talking about the child etc. – terdon Jun 10 '13 at 18:13
  • @terdon, that's why my contribution is a comment, not an answer. I'm saying that the talking silly part, which the OP mentions specifically, is called "baby talk". :-) – Kristina Lopez Jun 11 '13 at 17:15

Perhaps you are looking for doting:-

dote intr.v. dot·ed, dot·ing, dotes To show excessive fondness or love: parents who dote on their only child. doter n.

| improve this answer | | | | |
  • 1
    @Jon, perhaps, but any negativity would normally involve the doting parents appearing ridiculous or absurd, rather than being actively harmful. – Brian Hooper Jun 10 '13 at 14:59
  • 1
    There's also the somewhat more "clinical" term permissive parents - characterised, as per that link, by the fact that they often seem more like a friend, rather than a parent. – FumbleFingers Jun 10 '13 at 15:19
  • 2
    Also adoring and infatuated – James Waldby - jwpat7 Jun 10 '13 at 15:39
  • 2
    In Portuguese we have the expression 'pais babados' (drooling parents). The parents may appear ridiculous, but in a completely endearing way. It's more like pride for the child they brought into the world, but it doesn't imply the inability of saying 'no' to the child (so it doesn't equate with permissiveness, although it can also happen). Doting seems to transmit a similar idea but too formal and lacking the socially approved silliness factor. The same holds true for @jwpat7's two suggestions. – SC for reinstatement of Monica Jun 10 '13 at 16:13
  • 2
    "doting parents" of an infant carry a very positive connotation. To call the parents of a teenager, or even a child of elementary-school age, "doting" does have a negative connotation. And the connotation seems to get more negative the older the child gets. – Todd O'Bryan Jun 10 '13 at 19:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.