6 books directly related to helicopter parenting 📚

All 6 helicopter parenting books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

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

By Julie Lythcott-Haims,

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

Why 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. 


Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)

By Lenore Skenazy,

Book cover of Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)

Why 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.


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

By Paul Tough,

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

Why 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. 


Spoiled Brats

By Simon Rich,

Book cover of Spoiled Brats

Why 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?


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

By Jessica Lahey,

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

Why 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.

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

By Wendy Mogel,

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

Why 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.