The Importance of Parenting in Influencing the Lives of Children



The quality of parenting children receive during childhood and adolescence plays a major role in influencing their developmental competence and ultimately their life course trajectories. The parent–child relationship has a pervasive impact on children, and affects many different areas of development including language and communication, executive function and self-regulation, sibling and peer relationships, academic attainment, and mental and physical health. This chapter provides an overview of evidence showing how parenting influences children’s development. In addition, we explore how the broader ecological contexts of parents’ lives influence parenting practices and family relationships. Proximal determinants of parenting (e.g., the parent–child relationship) and more distal factors (e.g., cultural and community context) combine to influence the quality of parenting children receive. We argue that evidence-based parenting support that is delivered at a whole of community level and is attuned to the broader ecological context of modern parenting is needed to promote competent parenting and to reduce the adverse effects of poor parenting on children. Policy-based investments in evidence-based parenting programs have great potential to enhance life course outcomes for both children and parents that can have major economic benefits to the entire community.


Parenting Child development Well-being Parent support 



The Parenting and Family Support Centre is partly funded by royalties stemming from published resources of the Triple P—Positive Parenting Program, which is developed and owned by the University of Queensland (UQ). Royalties are also distributed to the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences at UQ and contributory authors of published Triple P resources. Triple P International (TPI) Pty Ltd. is a private company licensed by UniQuest Pty Ltd. on behalf of UQ, to publish and disseminate Triple P worldwide. The authors of this chapter have no share or ownership of TPI. TPI has no involvement in the writing of this chapter. Matthew R Sanders is the founder of Triple P and receives royalties from TPI. He is a consultant to Triple P International and an employee at UQ. Karen Turner receives royalties from TPI and is an employee at UQ.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Parenting and Family Support Centre, School of PsychologyThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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