Definition of helicopter parent in US English:

helicopter parent


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

    ‘some college officials see all this as the behavior of an overindulged generation, raised by helicopter parents and lacking in resilience’
    • ‘As competition heats up and people seek all sorts of help on their business school admission essays, everyone from helicopter parents turned editors to top-dollar consulting services are adding their two cents to MBA applications.’
    • ‘Readers, have you seen any examples of helicopter parents making their presence felt on B-school campuses?’
    • ‘In wealthier districts, so-called "helicopter parents" hover over every aspect of their children's lives, scouring relevant reports as they groom their offspring for success in the world of high-stakes testing and college admissions.’
    • ‘They're helicopter parents hovering over their children, scheduling almost their entire day from sunrise to sunset.’
    • ‘Add screaming arguments, inconsistency and eerie periods of not speaking and I could probably be classed as a helicopter parent.’
    • ‘Compared with their counterparts, children of helicopter parents were more satisfied with every aspect of their college experience, gained more in such areas as writing and critical thinking, and were more likely to talk with faculty and peers about substantive topics.’
    • ‘As they swarm into the workplace, their hair perpetually mussed from the wind stirred up by helicopter parents hovering nearby, companies worry how to accommodate their outsize expectations.’
    • ‘Working fairly closely with UVA's professional school population over the last 5 years, I have seen countless helicopter parents.’
    • ‘If we are so vigilant that we hang over our children like 'helicopter parents' just ready to swoop down and rescue them from any unhappiness or remorse then we will undermine them.’
    • ‘Their "helicopter parents" and mollycoddling teachers are more likely to make them crash and burn.’
    • ‘The study also contradicted the widespread belief that helicopter parents tend to be the better educated.’
    • ‘Not surprisingly, parental involvement in kids' lives has pushed its way onto campuses, where "helicopter parents" hover, trying to help their kids through college financially, emotionally and even academically.’
    • ‘At the very least, helicopter parents want to know what the university is doing to help their children thrive.’
    • ‘It isn't only companies reaching out to helicopter parents.’
    • ‘Funded or not, those in the education industry are battered and bruised by helicopter parents demanding adjustments to timetables, suspensions and report cards for their 'wonder child'.’
    • ‘Don't be a helicopter parent.’
    • ‘She talks about helicopter parents, only a call away, and to the practice of turning to parents and others by phone for support with assignments.’
    • ‘I am appalled to read about the growing problem of helicopter parents at colleges across the country.’
    • ‘Behind their back they're called helicopter parents because they hover over their children and make a lot of noise rescuing them whenever difficulty arises.’


1980s: from the notion of the parent ‘hovering’ over the child or children.