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Parental Influence – It Matters More Than You May Think

Parental Influence

Wonder if you have any parental influence at all? Have days when you feel invisible to your child or like your words go in one ear and out the other?

Every parent has those days (or months) and they can be pretty frustrating. But take heart – you’ll probably feel better after reading this article. Believe it or not, you are probably making a bigger impact on your kids than you think.

First of all, let’s recognize that kids and parents can easily get caught up in emotional patterns that don’t work. Rather than taking a step back to see the mechanics of the problem, parents sometimes let frustration take over.

Use the information in these sections to give you a new perspective, a different plan, and a reminder about the bigger picture. Parenting can be tough sometimes, but your influence really does matter to your kids.

Drug and Alcohol Use

Teen drug and alcohol use is a reality in nearly every community, but it doesn’t have to be a part of your family life. Your attitude and behaviors make a big difference to your kids. According to Treatment Solutions, teens respond more to the influence of their parents than they do to peers or school programs.

So what can you do? Be 100% clear that you expect them to avoid drugs and alcohol, set a healthy example with your own substance use (abstinence or healthy moderation), and keep your family relationships strong. These choices will help your kids avoid the pitfalls of drug and alcohol use. Here’s another resource discussing how a positive warm parenting style influences a child’s choices about alcohol and drugs.

Eating Behavior

Childhood obesity has been a hot topic in recent years. The First Lady, Michelle Obama, has also kept this topic in the spotlight the last several years. The truth is clear – obesity increases the risk of many other health problems developing.

Thankfully, a study from the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics shows that parental influence can have a big impact. As a parent, you can control your home environment by offering healthy snacks and meals. Need your kids to buy-in to this a little better? Have them help you prepare meals, teach them about the foods they are preparing, and help them choose indulgent foods in moderation.

Of course, some childhood weight problems involve medical challenges or other difficulties. Don’t give up, and stay positive when supporting your child’s healthy eating habits.


Positive self esteem can help a child bounce back from disappointments, challenges, and daily frustrations. As a parent, your attitude has a strong influence on your child. Whether your opinion of yourself is positive or negative, your child will likely follow your example.

Take a look in the mirror and make every effort to see the good in yourself. Deal with your frustrations honestly but without demeaning yourself. You’ll see your own positivity rub off on your child.

As a side note, if you find that you struggle with depressive thoughts or a great deal of anxiety, please see your doctor or talk to someone about it. You may be dealing with more than some occasional negative self-talk. Addressing a more significant mental health issue will also have a positive healthy impact on your child.

More Topics To Come

Guess what? I found way too much information on this to fit into just one blog post. Come back in a few days to learn more about your silent superpower – parental influence.

Thomas Hawk via Compfight

Parental Influence – It Matters More Than You May Think

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2013). Parental Influence – It Matters More Than You May Think. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 Apr 2013
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