The most recommended books on helicopter parenting

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10 authors created a book list connected to helicopter parenting, and here are their favorite helicopter parenting books.
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Book cover of Spoiled Brats

Ginny Hogan Author Of I'm More Dateable Than a Plate of Refried Beans: And Other Romantic Observations

From my list on humor to make you laugh out loud.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a humor writer and stand-up comedian. I spend much of my time trying to get my comedy into the shortest form possible so it can “go viral,” but I’d rather work on projects that have space to breathe, like books. I don’t think enough people appreciate how funny books can be. Often, humor seems like the purview of more visual mediums. However, while books are quieter than TV shows and live performances, they have just as much capacity for humor. When a book truly makes me laugh out loud, I want to tell everyone. And the following five books do.

Ginny's book list on humor to make you laugh out loud

Ginny Hogan Why did Ginny love this book?

Spoiled Brats feels like the all-encompassing humor book about millennials. There’s no avocado-related stone Rich leaves unturned in his quest to mock his generation. As a millennial, I felt very seen by this book, but it also made me felt-conscious about all my participation trophies. I mean, I earned those trophies, didn’t I?

By Simon Rich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spoiled Brats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This edited collection examines organizational conflict and how it is handled in seven different countries (and cultures) around the globe: France, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, and Turkey. Experts on each country discuss how various social, cultural, and economic forces affect conflict management; how managerial styles differ with regard to organizational and interpersonal conflict management; alternative dispute mechanisms available in each country for the resolution of conflict; and how general managerial effectiveness can be improved with respect to organizational conflict.


Book cover of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Raising Self-Reliant Children

Mark E. Crawford Author Of When Two Become Three: Nurturing Your Marriage After Baby Arrives

From my list on growing great kids and maintaining a great marriage.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a clinical psychologist for over thirty years, a husband for thirty years, and a father for twenty-seven years. Being the best husband and father that I can possibly be is my highest priority. I sincerely believe that healthy families are the building blocks of healthy societies. Being a good spouse and a good parent (at the same time, no less) is challenging, to say the least. However, creating a family full of love, laughter, and support during the inevitable difficult seasons of life is worthy of a lifetime of study and effort. I’m constantly looking for resources to help me and others to pursue this goal. 

Mark's book list on growing great kids and maintaining a great marriage

Mark E. Crawford Why did Mark love this book?

This book is one of the first to point out the pitfalls of “helicopter parenting,” even before the term became widely known. Wendy was one of the first people to point out that as a culture, we were starting to become far too over-protective as parents and how this robs kids of the experiences necessary to become resilient and resourceful. As a psychologist, I was seeing the same trend, and this book was extremely validating and empowering as I worked to help parents see that “hovering” and smoothing every bump in the road was actually counter-productive. This book has been around for a while, but it is still as relevant as when it was first published. 

By Wendy Mogel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Blessing of a Skinned Knee as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author and host of the podcast Nurture vs Nurture Dr. Wendy Mogel offers an inspiring roadmap for raising self-reliant, ethical, and compassionate children.

In the trenches of a typical day, every parent encounters a child afflicted with ingratitude and entitlement. Parents want so badly to raise self-disciplined, appreciative, and resourceful children who are not spoiled. But how to accomplish this feat? The answer has eluded the best-intentioned individuals who overprotect, overindulge, and overschedule their children's lives.

Sharing stories of everyday parenting problems and examining them through the lens of the Torah, the Talmud, and important Jewish…


Book cover of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Nate G. Hilger Author Of The Parent Trap: How to Stop Overloading Parents and Fix Our Inequality Crisis

From my list on how self-help isn't a magic parenting solution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an economist fascinated by the ways that early opportunities shape lifelong success. My interests go way back to the big public schools I attended in Southern California, where I watched some kids benefit from tutoring, counseling, coaching, and other private resources that most kids couldn’t access. I went on to get a PhD in economics, then taught at Brown University and advised Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign on child development policy. After years of research and teaching – and becoming a dad myself – I wrote The Parent Trap to expose the monumental challenges facing so many parents and the solutions most likely to make a difference.

Nate's book list on how self-help isn't a magic parenting solution

Nate G. Hilger Why did Nate love this book?

As a writer, I admire this book as a great work of creative nonfiction. The book uses captivating stories and research to make a deep point with bipartisan appeal. Yes, “character” matters. That impulse to exert effort, that strength to persevere through challenges, that discipline and self-control, and patience – all the stuff that many people especially on the Right celebrate as “personal responsibility” can and does drive success. But where does “character” come from? Mostly it doesn’t come from individual choices or innate endowments determined at birth. It comes from environmental influences – opportunities and safeguards we provide for children’s development – and that many people especially on the Left try to provide through public policy. If entire demographic groups appear more likely to lack “character,” that reflects our shared collective refusal to make character-building opportunities more widely accessible. 

By Paul Tough,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked How Children Succeed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why character, confidence, and curiosity are more important to your child's success than academic results. The New York Times bestseller. For all fans of Oliver James or Steve Biddulph's Raising Boys, Raising Girls, and The Complete Secrets of Happy Children.

In a world where academic success can seem all-important in deciding our children's success in adult life, Paul Tough sees things very differently.

Instead of fixating on grades and exams, he argues that we, as parents, should be paying more attention to our children's characters.

Inner resilience, a sense of curiosity, the hidden power of confidence - these are the…


Book cover of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed

Joanne Foster Author Of Bust Your BUTS: Tips for Teens Who Procrastinate

From my list on procrastination, motivation, and kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about supporting and encouraging children’s and teens’ intelligence, creativity, productivity, and well-being. I’m an educational consultant with over 35 years of experience working with parents, teachers, and students within diverse communities, and I’m the award-winning author of seven books. I focus a lot on gifted education and procrastination. Within my books, articles, and presentations, there are tons of strategies and resources to help motivate kids—and empower their learning. My books include Being Smart about Gifted Learning and Beyond Intelligence (both co-authored with Dona Matthews), ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids, Bust Your BUTS, and Not Now, Maybe Later.

Joanne's book list on procrastination, motivation, and kids

Joanne Foster Why did Joanne love this book?

Is your child experiencing setbacks? Difficulties? Mistakes? Failures? Do not fret! Author Jessica Lahey understands your concerns, and she shares why these kinds of challenges can be advantageous and serve as stepping-stones for children’s growing autonomy. In The Gift of Failure, she discusses the importance of encouragement, resilience, collaboration, and more as she explores different circumstances that children encounter. And, she provides many suggestions to help them reframe obstacles as opportunities. I think this book is, and will continue to be, an extremely relevant read for parents.

By Jessica Lahey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Gift of Failure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“Gripping…how can teachers snatch back their critical role and give children the necessary space to fail? They could start by making parents read Lahey.” — New York Times Book Review

In the tradition of Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed and Wendy Mogel’s The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, this groundbreaking manifesto focuses on the critical school years when parents must learn to allow their children to experience the disappointment and frustration that occur from life’s inevitable problems so that they can grow up to be successful, resilient, and self-reliant adults.

Modern parenting is defined by an…


Book cover of How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success

Mark E. Crawford Author Of When Two Become Three: Nurturing Your Marriage After Baby Arrives

From my list on growing great kids and maintaining a great marriage.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a clinical psychologist for over thirty years, a husband for thirty years, and a father for twenty-seven years. Being the best husband and father that I can possibly be is my highest priority. I sincerely believe that healthy families are the building blocks of healthy societies. Being a good spouse and a good parent (at the same time, no less) is challenging, to say the least. However, creating a family full of love, laughter, and support during the inevitable difficult seasons of life is worthy of a lifetime of study and effort. I’m constantly looking for resources to help me and others to pursue this goal. 

Mark's book list on growing great kids and maintaining a great marriage

Mark E. Crawford Why did Mark love this book?

Julie was a former Dean of Students at Stanford University. She shares how she realized that she was working with kids who had “checked every box” and earned acceptance to one of the most selective universities in the world. However, she could not help but notice that despite their stellar list of achievements and impressive resumes, they sorely lacked the skills necessary to transition to the adult world of navigating normal roommate conflicts or even making minor decisions without the help of their parents.

This book is a great reminder that as parents, our ultimate goal is to prepare our kids to transition into adulthood with the necessary tools and skills to “adult” successfully. I had the opportunity to meet Julie personally, and her compassion, wisdom, and experience are genuine – this is required reading for parents. 

By Julie Lythcott-Haims,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked How to Raise an Adult as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Across a decade as Stanford University's dean of freshmen, Julie Lythcott-Haims noticed a startling rise in parental involvement in students' lives. Every year, more parents were exerting control over students' academic work, extracurricular, and career choices, taking matters into their own hands rather than risk their child's failure or disappointment. Meanwhile, Lythcott-Haims encountered increasing numbers of students who, as a result of hyper attentive parenting, lacked a strong sense of self and were poorly equipped to handle the demands of adult life. In How to Raise an Adult, Lythcott-Haims draws on research, on conversations with admissions officers, educators, and employers,…


Book cover of Free-Range Kids: How Parents and Teachers Can Let Go and Let Grow

Sara Zaske Author Of Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children

From my list on raising self-reliant children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer who lived in Germany for more than six years with my family. That experience opened my eyes to a different way of parenting in a country that had learned hard lessons about too much authoritarian control. It also taught me that much of what we believe is “true” about raising kids is actually cultural—and therefore, can be changed. In addition to my book about raising kids in Germany, Achtung Baby, I’ve written extensively on raising self-reliant kids, including articles in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Time.com among others.

Sara's book list on raising self-reliant children

Sara Zaske Why did Sara love this book?

No other book – and arguably no other personality – has done more to help loosen the lock-hold helicopter parenting has on our kids than Free-Range Kids and Lenore Skenazy. The book is a primer on ways to give your kids the freedom to grow up while it tears apart many of the paranoid parenting myths: from child predators lurking on every corner to the overblown dangers of choking on uncut grapes. Even better, Skenazy is hilarious and her book is great fun to read.

By Lenore Skenazy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Free-Range Kids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Free Range Kids has become a national movement, sparked by the incredible response to Lenore Skenazy's piece about allowing her 9-year-old to ride the subway alone in NYC. Parent groups argued about it, bloggers blogged, spouses became uncivil with each other, and the media jumped all over it.

A lot of parents today, Skenazy says, see no difference between letting their kids walk to school and letting them walk through a firing range. Any risk is seen as too much risk. But if you try to prevent every possible danger or difficulty in your child's everyday life, that child never…


Book cover of Marjorie Morningstar

Stephanie Newman Author Of Barbarians at the PTA

From my list on mom culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a practicing clinical psychologist, teacher of psychotherapy theory and technique, and author (Barbarians at the PTA, Madmen on the Couch, Money Talks) who writes about the psychopathology of daily life for various online and print publications, I am a participant in/observer of mom culture. I love a juicy mother-child story. 

Stephanie's book list on mom culture

Stephanie Newman Why did Stephanie love this book?

One of my favorite novels is Herman Wouk’s Marjorie Morningstar, a coming of age story of Marjorie and Mrs Morgenster, a/k/a the original helicopter mom.

This Pulitzer Prize-winning author was male but managed to get into the head of both teenage girl and indomitable mother–and the results are funny and poignant. There’s all kinds of bonus detail about 1930s-1940s NYC: college, dating, and theater scenes.

As someone who is fascinated by mom culture, I like to recommend mother-daughter stories that illustrate how parenting styles and family relationships have changed over time. While it all started with Marmee, Louisa May Alcott (Jo’s) idealized supermom, I have a fondness for the ambivalently modern struggles between Mrs. Morgenstern and Marjorie, the female leads in Herman Wouk’s classic novel, Marjorie Morningstar. 

This is a coming of age story that has it all: beautiful and ambitious heroine, handsome love interest, colorful best friend, and the…

By Herman Wouk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marjorie Morningstar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I read it and I thought, 'Oh, God, this is me.'" - Scarlet Johansson

Now hailed as a "proto-feminist classic" (Vulture), Pulitzer Prize winner Herman Wouk's powerful coming-of-age novel about an ambitious young woman pursuing her artistic dreams in New York City has been a perennial favourite since it was first a bestseller in the 1950s.

Sixteen-year-old Marjorie Morgenstern lives a quiet life in New York City. Her mother hopes for a glittering marriage to a good man, but Marjorie has other ideas.

When she falls desperately in love with Noel Airman, a musician as reckless as he is talented,…


Book cover of The Lord's Woods: The Passing of an American Woodland

David Sobel Author Of Wild Play: Parenting Adventures in the Great Outdoors

From my list on bonding your children with nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 1972, I started an early childhood center in the Monadnock Region in New Hampshire. The focus was on child-centered education, with an emphasis on working with children outdoors. I've spent the last 50 years continuing to connect children with nature in schools, nature centers, national parks, museums, and in families. I taught graduate courses in developmental psychology, cognitive development, place-based education and have done hundreds of professional development workshops for early childhood and elementary school teachers. As a father, I focused on connecting my own children with nature. My son is a ski coach and runs an ecotourism kayaking business. My daughter is a theater director and writes grants for an environmental non-profit. 

David's book list on bonding your children with nature

David Sobel Why did David love this book?

The Lord's Woods is a portrait of growing up on Long Island in the 1930s and 40s before suburbanization. It is a beautiful, compelling account of a boy's freewheeling exploration of the landscape without helicopter parents. Beyond the end of the road, he discovers an untrammeled world of fields, bird-filled forests, marshes, and abandoned buildings. He leaves in the morning and comes back at dusk. It's what natural childhoods used to be like. We should aspire to allow our own children to have "free range" childhoods as he had. 

By Robert Arbib,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lord's Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.