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Is there a word out there describing an overly caring parent? E.g. a mother who is constantly calling her daughter, asking where she is, etc.

marked as duplicate by Mari-Lou A, Mitch, ermanen single-word-requests Nov 4 '15 at 16:21

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  • I can recall a personal example where my uncle used to keep my cousin as an 'expensive showpiece' with reference to antiques, pots kept in museums under the constant supervision of the authorities. :) – Jony Agarwal Nov 4 '15 at 9:05
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    Although the answers posted here are good, and (with the exception of two) different/unique than in the much older post. – Mari-Lou A Nov 4 '15 at 11:40
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    @Mari-LouA - it is a pity, the choice here is much wider. – user66974 Nov 4 '15 at 17:37
  • @Josh61 People can post their new suggestions in the "original", I've done that myself a couple of times. There's even a silver badge if you get just five upvotes. – Mari-Lou A Nov 4 '15 at 18:57
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    I have a feeling this question ìs going to be reopened,so I'm posting the link to the earlier/original question. It shouldn't be reopened because the two are ABSOLUTELY identical but... Is there a word for somebody who cares for his/her child too much? – Mari-Lou A Nov 5 '15 at 6:53

Not a single word, but let me offer helicopter parent:

A parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children

(Oxford Dictionaries)

helicopter parents: parents who try too hard to protect their children and organize their lives, even when their children have left school


a parent who is unable to let go of their adult child(ren) and continues to monitor them and intervene inappropriately in their lives

(Macmillan Dictionary)

The last two definitions state the kids are more or less grown. The first definition seems to be more loose. Personally, I've always encountered this in context of more or less independent kids.


Mollycoddle is the word mostly used in Britain. A child who has their comforts attended at every turn by their mothers (or fathers) are said to be mollycoddled

Later edit for people who are not happy with a verb.

The parents mollycoddle. The child is mollycoddled.

If you want an adjective to describe the parents' actions then it is mollycoddling. They are mollycoddling parents.

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    Mollycoddle is used to refer to the child not the parent. – Durga Swaroop Nov 4 '15 at 9:51
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    "Mollycoddle" is a verb - the act of being overly protective. Parents mollycoddle. "Mollycoddled" is an adjective applied to the child to whom this is done. – Graham Nov 4 '15 at 11:23
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    @DurgaSwaroop The parents mollycoddle. The child is mollycoddled. If you want an adjective to describe the parents' actions then it is mollycoddling. They are mollycoddling parents. – WS2 Nov 4 '15 at 11:37
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    Or you could say they are mollycoddlers. – Hellion Nov 4 '15 at 15:35


Not based on the old school definition of the word but going by the urban dictionary


A mother or overbearing girlfriend that smothers their adult child/ boyfriend with too much love, affection, bossy demands and food.

  • Note that it is dangerous to rely on the Urban Dictionary because, while it can be a valuable resource for current slang, their database is deeply polluted with in-jokes, misspellings, and truly transient usage. – arp Dec 30 '18 at 9:57
  • See for example entitymag.com/helicopter-moms-smother-mother for a more reputable usage cite. "To Helicopter Moms: How Not to Be a Smother Mother" – arp Dec 30 '18 at 9:58

A cosseting parent or a cosseter:

  • treating with excessive indulgence; "grandparents often pamper the children"; "Let's not mollycoddle our students!"

The Free Dictionary


One of the most braodly used term is an "Overprotective parent" as the adjective means:

Having a tendency to protect someone, especially a child, excessively:

[Oxford Online Dictionary]


Mother-hen might be useful, though it doesn't have to mean a parent.

Oxford Dictionaries says:

Definition of mother hen in English: noun informal A person who sees to the needs of others, especially in a fussy or interfering way:


The word is needy.

It's a slang word. You'll find it in Urban Dictionary as "Requiring attention beyond what is normative."


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    "Needy" is a normal regular word, not a slang word (merriam-webster.com/dictionary/needy) and it doesn't not refer to parents who are overly caring. It could refer to a child who is being cared for, but not to the parent. – Erwin Bolwidt Nov 4 '15 at 17:23

Consider, hovering parent (also hover-parent) and hummingbird parent

Are You a Hovering Parent? Huffington Post Ngram

hover-parent: a parent who hovers over their child at every step, especially on the playground, to prevent any possible bad event from occurring, specifically broken bone, interaction with less important child, fall from any height, etc.

My toddler wanted to play with the other kids at the playground but the hover-parents stood in the way. Urban Dictionary


None of these are single words, but these are generally used to refer that kind of parenting.

Lawnmower Parenting or Bulldoze parenting

Source: http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/what-is-helicopter-parenting/

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