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?

  • Am I correct to assume this questions was not about Münchausen syndrome by proxy?
    – oosterwal
    Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 17:47
  • @oosterwal Horrifying.... Lightman is not a bad guy....
    – user3812
    Commented Feb 22, 2011 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
    Commented Feb 23, 2011 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
    Commented May 11, 2014 at 21:38
  • 1
    Please see additional relevant answers at "An excessively solicitous parent."
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 20:24

4 Answers 4


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.)

  • +1: a fun playful phrase, that’s caught on remarkably widely.
    – PLL
    Commented Feb 19, 2011 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).

  • 1
    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
    Commented Feb 19, 2011 at 12:02
  • 2
    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
    Commented Feb 19, 2011 at 12:41
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    You should also be aware that you need a preposition after "cares" in that sentence: "for" or "about" would be appropriate.
    – Robusto
    Commented Feb 19, 2011 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
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 22:12

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


One classic phrase is a 'doting parent'.

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    Yes, I was going to add "doting" myself, with a caveat: It has two senses - 1. overly parental, and 2. fondly caring.
    – The Raven
    Commented Feb 22, 2011 at 1:02