The Role of Parents in their Child’s Mental Health

HHRC-Psychological health concept. A teddy bear and in the background a teenage girl out of focus

How Negative Experiences Affect Children 

Every difficult challenge — be it family turmoil or emotional distress — can cause a lot of damage to children’s mental health. These kinds of negative events are even called adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). They are situations that can be traumatic for children, such as domestic violence or divorce. This overview gives you a complete description of ACEs provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The following are situations that are commonly considered ACE:

  • Home abuse or neglect can lead to violence and other forms of abuse.

  • Witnessing violent acts in the home or community

  • A family member who attempts suicide or commits suicide

  • Substance abuse

  • Mental health problems

  • Separation/divorce of parents

  • A member of the household who is in prison

A negative experience does not guarantee a future problem. However, it can increase a child’s risk of future mental health problems, injury, risky behavior, chronic or infectious disease, and income or educational opportunities. ACEs, especially in relation to this topic, can increase the likelihood of depression and anxiety, suicide, and PTSD.

According to the CDC children’s health statistics, as many as 21,000,000 cases of depression could be avoided if children’s mental health were protected from such adverse experiences.

Why Children Need to be Mentally Sound 

Self-awareness is a process that begins from a young age. A baby attempts to understand his or her body through the examination of every part. As they grow up, children begin to notice similarities between what they see and what they see in the world. Mental problems can be viewed as weeds that want to grow. If they are allowed to flourish, they will take over the garden.

Mental health in childhood means achieving developmental and emotional milestones, as well as learning social skills and how you can cope with problems. Children who are mentally healthy have a better quality of life, are more productive at school and home, and can function better in their communities.

Parenting Style Matters 

The way you interact with children and the reasons you raise them that way is called parenting style. It is influenced by your childhood, your personality and many other factors. You may not be aware of subconscious factors that influence your parenting style. No matter how it develops, your parenting style influences your children’s mental health.

Here is a brief overview of each of the four parenting styles most commonly used by parents:


Clear rules and consequences are in place for those who don’t follow them. There is not much warmth. In this structured environment, it’s more of a my-way-or-the-highway type attitude. If children are not provided with the necessary support, they may feel inadequate and even become depressed.


They set clear standards and respond in a democratic fashion to their children’s requests. They don’t want to be the boss. Instead, they will be open to communication with their children. Being raised in an authoritative family provides a solid foundation for a child’s future. They are also more likely to retain strong connections with their parents into adulthood.


Expectations are low. Permissive parents are usually more flexible and have fewer rules to follow. These parents will avoid conflict even if rules are broken. Their children may not be properly grounded and could be more impulsive or inclined to take on risks. Also, there are depression and anxiety risk factors that can contribute to their children’s mental health.


This is the least restrictive of the four. Uninvolved parents mean that they aren’t interested in their kids and don’t spend much time with them. Parents who aren’t involved in their children’s lives often don’t communicate with them. They don’t value or enforce rules. This type of household puts children at greater risk of having trouble in future relationships. The nature of their upbringing can make relationships anxiety-provoking and can affect children’s mental health.

Although the psychology of parenting styles has been well researched and the results are reliable, child raising is complex and involves multiple factors that impact the mental and physical development of children. Parents will be better equipped to raise happy, healthy, and well-adjusted children if they have a greater understanding of parenting.

The Connection Between Parents’ and Children’s Mental Health 

Parents can be powerful advocates for self-acceptance by helping their children discover their talents and interests, and teaching them the importance of setting realistic goals.

Mental health disorders, like many other diseases and illnesses, tend to run in families and can be passed from one parent to the next. If both parents suffer from a mental disorder, the risk is even greater.

It is important to realize that just because a parent has a mental disorder, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will affect their children’s mental health. It is more about how parents affect children’s mental health and impact their children’s behavior. Many people who suffer from anxiety, depression, or another disorder get treatment and then live a long, healthy, and successful life.

As parents, your role is to provide stability for your children, teach them social norms, and help them deal with their difficult emotions.

Key Takeaway 

Children’s mental health is directly linked to their parents’ mental well-being. Because of this, mothers and fathers, as well as other caregivers, who play the role of parent, need support. This can help their children’s mental health.

Adult and child mental health can face challenges especially if they don’t have the resources or support. This can lead to a detrimental effect on their mental well-being. Children and parents may share some of the same risks. These include inherited vulnerabilities, unsafe environments, discrimination, or deprivation.

In order to address unfavorable childhood experiences that affect children’s and parents’ mental health, the CDC supports many children’s mental health services, such as campaigns to stop child abuse.

What We Can Do 

To support adult and child mental health, Haven House Recovery’s rehab centers in Nashville, TN, provide various adult and children’s mental health services to help them learn skills in managing emotions and behavior using evidence-based strategies to improve their mental well-being. We offer a comprehensive 12-step program that aims to enrich adult and child’s mental health.