Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling


Can a Parent Do Too Much for Their Child? An Examination By Parenting Professionals of the Concept of Overparenting

Judith Y. Lockea1 c1, Marilyn A. Campbella1 and David Kavanagha1

a1 Queensland University of Technology, Australia


Is there a point where parental effort can be too much? While the link between parenting effort and the wellbeing of children has been firmly established, contemporary discussion has proposed that extreme levels of parental protection of and responsiveness to children could be counterproductive. Research has not yet addressed this phenomenon to ascertain if overparenting is a genuinely different type of parenting approach. The purpose of the present study was to gain insight into the parenting actions considered by parenting professionals (psychologists and school guidance counsellors) to be overparenting. One hundred and twenty-eight professionals responded to an online survey about their observations of overparenting, with eighty-six respondents providing lists of the types of actions they believed were behavioural examples of the term. The survey data revealed that certain types of actions were considered to be indicative of overparenting, and that particular beliefs and outcomes may be involved in this parenting approach. Implications for parenting advice and education programs, and further research are discussed.


  • overparenting;
  • children;
  • helicopter parenting;
  • parenting


c1 address for correspondence: Judith Y Locke, C/- QUT Psychology and Counselling, Level 6, B Wing, O Block, Kelvin Grove Campus, QUT, Brisbane QLD 4059, Australia. Email: