The Connection Between Parent Wellbeing and Child Wellbeing

We know that parents' mental health can have a big impact on the wellbeing of their children. We share five things parents can do to look after themselves and their families.

Tamara Judge

3/14/20234 min read


The connection between parent and child wellbeing is an important one. Most caregivers understand that looking after themselves physically, mentally and emotionally helps them give their children what they need to thrive.

But, what if there's a more direct connection between parent wellbeing and child wellbeing? What if you could boost one by boosting the other? Spoiler alert - you can.

In this article I'll explain how improving parent wellbeing (looking after yourself) is not only good for you - but also good for your children's wellbeing (1, 2) including developing emotional intelligence and better results in school.

Parent wellbeing impacts child wellbeing

The connection between parent wellbeing and child wellbeing is very strong and clear (3). Parents' mental health and wellbeing has a direct impact on their children's mental health and wellbeing (4). This means that if you're a parent with low wellbeing, or whose high-pressured workload causes burnout and relationship difficulties, it can have negative effects on your children as well (5).

But, the reverse is also true. Children whose parents have positive mental wellbeing tend to have better wellbeing themselves (6, 7, 8).

So, what if we were able to take this one step further? What if we were able to support the wellbeing of parents in order to improve the lives of our children? Well luckily for us there are plenty of ways that we can do exactly this!

And, the more we can help parents feel mentally well, the better off our children will be.

Parents' wellbeing is often overlooked by schools

Unfortunately, the importance of addressing parent wellbeing in order to improve child wellbeing is often overlooked; particularly by schools. Most wellbeing interventions for young people focus solely on the child, without taking into account the impact of the caregivers they spend the most time with.

Yet as a parent, you are your child's first and most influential role model. If you're feeling stressed, burnt-out or depressed, you are more likely to be irritable and less patient with your child. This can make your child feel stressed too. Remember that when you're feeling stressed or anxious, it's not easy for anyone else in the family to relax either! It's important to take time out for yourself so that you have the energy to put into your children.

We recognise that to sustainably improve young people's wellbeing there is a growing need for interventions that focus on both caregivers/parents and children.

What can parents do to improve wellbeing?

It's not just about seeking treatment for yourself. It's good for kids to see their parents being proactive and taking care of themselves and their wellbeing. Making time for fun things like games or sports can be just as important as going on walks or talking through problems together.

So what can parents do? Here are five tips inspired by positive psychology:

  • Tune in to your thoughts and feelings. Be mindful of your own emotions and thoughts and how they affect you. Be aware that if you are feeling stressed or angry, this may be affecting the way you interact with your children and other people around you.

  • Understand your strengths. It is important to understand what motivates you in order to make positive changes that will improve your wellbeing. Playing to your strengths, and understanding why some activities drain you more than others, is a great way of working out what you could do that energises you and helps you find balance.

  • Improve communication. Start by increasing your awareness of how you are feeling and then communicate that to your partner and child. You can start by saying something like "I'm feeling a little overwhelmed today, I'd be very grateful for some help with dinner tonight" or "I'm going through a bit of a tough time at work and want some support". The more you talk about how you're feeling the easier it will be for your family to respond and connect with you.

  • Cultivate a more optimistic mindset. It might sound simplistic, but training your brain to notice the good in the world can improve wellbeing. Practising active gratitude, doing acts of kindness and focusing on positive aspects of your life can help you develop a more optimistic mindset. This will also make it easier to approach parenting with positivity and calmness, which in turn will improve the relationship between you and your child.

  • Get support from others who understand the challenges of being a parent. You can find people like this through online support groups or peer networks for parents where you can meet others with similar experiences and seek advice from those who have been there before you (or even just share stories). This will not only help you feel less isolated but also enable you to develop relationships with other people who understand what you're going through.

How we help improve parent wellbeing

As well as the work we do with children and teachers, we provide educational online parent workshops and supportive and confidential group coaching sessions. Our workshops are designed to empower parents with the knowledge, skills and practical tools they need to improve their wellbeing, and support the wellbeing of their children. The group coaching sessions are focused on supporting parents to put their new knowledge into practice, share their experiences and receive support from other parents. They also provide an opportunity to discuss specific situations such as dealing with challenging behaviours or coping with stress and anxiety.


We know that parents' mental health can have a big impact on the wellbeing of their children. But the good news is, there are many things that you can do to look after yourself and your family! This article has covered some of those options: from making time each day to reflect on your thoughts and feelings; getting professional help if necessary; and improving communication when you need help. The most important thing is to start somewhere--even small changes in your daily routine can make a difference over time!




3  Mental Health of Parents and Primary Caregivers by Sex and Associated Child Health Indicators | SpringerLink


5  Children's academic achievement (

6  Parenting programme for couples and families (

7  Trailblazing therapy help parents work together (

  Parents as Partners - Schoolchildren & Their Families Project (