Home » Parenting » Blogs » Family Mental Health » Parental Influence – It Matters More Than You Think, Part 2

Parental Influence – It Matters More Than You Think, Part 2

Parental Influence

That moment when you feel like the Invisible Mom or Dad, wondering if your kids are paying any attention to you at all…

Yes, we’ve all been there. It can seem like your wise words go in one ear and out the other. Your attempts to teach them the right and best ways to do things are met with sighs and sour looks. Despite their discouraging reactions, your parental influence really does matter to your kids. You can make the most of this secret superpower by reading more here. If you didn’t see part 1, go back and check it out.


You’ll be pleased to know that it’s not your kid’s teachers, their peers, or school programs that make the biggest difference in your child’s academic success. A group of researchers from three universities determined that it’s you, the parent.

Information from the National Education Longitudinal Study helped researchers come to this conclusion. Take a look at this article describing the research outcomes. They break down the different aspects of influence into school areas and family areas.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is in important factor in a child’s overall health. The NFL promotes a “Play 60” campaign and the First Lady has “Let’s Move”. What’s your approach to keeping your kids physically active?

Research shows that your support is positively linked with your child’s level of physical activity. If you keep encouraging them and finding enjoyable physical outlets for them, they’ll be more likely to keep it up. This study didn’t find a specific connection between parental physical activity and child activity. However, showing a good example by going to the gym regularly or playing with them outside certainly can’t hurt.

Sexual Behaviors

Sex – it’s a topic that often makes parents worry and kids curious. Fortunately, kids look to their parents for guidance and information, often to a greater extend than parents expect.

The key to this effective influence is a close parent-child relationship. Teens who feel close to their parents will wait longer before engaging in sexual behaviors and will have fewer partners. A similar outcome occurs when parents are clear about the benefits of delaying sex.

This article outlines many important research findings about teens and sexual activity.

Losing and Gaining Influence

By now, you should feel more confident in your ability to have a positive influence on your child. Even when it seems like they might be tuning you out, you still really matter to them.

However, you need to be aware of a few mistakes you might be making that can cause you to lose ground with your teen. Yelling may make an impact at first, but the intense emotion will make your teen tune out your message. Being a friend to your child may feel like a good thing sometimes, but they won’t respect you as a person of authority.

The good news is that you always have control over your own choices. Whether you want to strengthen your current relationship or repair a difficult one, you can take these positive steps today. To remain consistent, only use consequences you know you can enforce. Find ways to clearly state your upset feelings without yelling. Hold your teen to their responsibilities no matter how much they protest.

When your teen sees you as a strong loving parent they can count on, they’ll be ready for your influence.

Dimitris Papazimouris via Compfight

Parental Influence – It Matters More Than You Think, Part 2

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

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

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Krull, E. (2013). Parental Influence – It Matters More Than You Think, Part 2. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 5, 2020, from


Last updated: 27 Apr 2013
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.