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The Power of Parents: What Research Proves

Father and Son
Powerful Parents Teach Values

Parents have power. Research proves it. Our parenting skills expert and author of Tools for Effective Parenting, Dr. Parnell Donahue, is here to share the research. He'll discuss the story of Luke, 3 studies, and how to use your power to share your values.

The Story of Luke and His Powerful Dad

Luke came to Dr. Parnell for his annual physical. As usual they had a chat first. On this particular day 16-year-old Luke talked about his Dad. He revealed that his dad would kill him if he ever smoked, drank, or had sex. When Dr. Parnell asked, "Your dad would kill you?" He said, "Oh, no, no." He said that it would probably kill his dad if he did those things.

Luke's dad was the kind of father who talked with, listened to, and shared his values with his son. Because Luke loved and respected his dad, he adopted his morals.

Parents Exert Power through Influence

Dr. Parnell believes too many parents think they have no impact on their kids' beliefs and behaviors. Yet every study Dr. Parnell has read shows that kids listen to and respect their parents.

Research and Parent Power

1. In the 2005 the Horatio Alger Survey of teens ages 14-19 years showed that most kids named a parent, sibling or other family member as a role model.

2. One summer Dr. Parnell asked 103 of the teens he evaluated, "Who most influences your values of right and wrong?" Again, most said mom, dad, or their parents.

3. A study from the University of Minnesota which included 12,000 teens from 7th to 12th grades concluded: "If parents expect adolescents to get good grades and refrain from sex, those expectations influence the adolescents' behavior powerfully through 12th grade, regardless of family income, race, or single or dual-parent status." (page 32)

Using Your Parenting Power

1. Without lectures, clarify your values with your kids.

2. Use teaching moments and discuss everyday stories and events in which people get drunk, wear inappropriate clothes, behave in anger and shoot others, get busted for drugs, and get pregnant as teens. "There is no better way-perhaps no other way-to teach values," says Dr. Parnell.

3. Model your values.

4. Make sure your kids feel loved by you. (From pages 29-34)

Dr. Parnell believes that when you listen to your teenager, discuss your values, and show your love, your power to influence will be strong.


The fact that Dr. Parnell is a pediatrician, likes kids, teaches awesome parenting skills, and knows his research, makes him the expert we need to listen to. His new book, Tools for Effective Parenting, has the power to help parents everywhere.

Cover ~ Tools for Effective Parenting

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Let's THANK Dr. Parnell for his dedication to helping children and parents.

Blog Optimistic Dr. Parnell Donahue
Dr. Parnell Donahue

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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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