A survey of adolescents aged 15 to 16 years was used to examine the relationship between their perceptions of indulgent parenting and adolescent weight status to overall satisfaction with life, as associated with adolescent perceptions of body image, health and stress. In addition, perceptions of parental indulgence were examined in terms of their association with adolescent eating behaviours and health. The results revealed a paradox related to indulgent parenting, with both positive and negative outcomes for adolescents. Structural equation analyses showed that parental indulgence was not only related to lower stress and higher life satisfaction, but also to unhealthy eating behaviours. Path analysis indicated that both positive and negative eating outcomes for adolescents were related to parental indulgence. This research has many implications for both parent and adolescent health education, focusing on parenting styles, stress and healthy lifestyles. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.