This study examined the relationship between diet-related parenting practices, parental characteristics, child characteristics, and 2-year-old child's dietary intake. Cross-sectional data (N = 2578) originated from the KOALA Birth Cohort Study. Principal component analyses revealed two restrictive parenting practice clusters: a cluster characterized by prohibition of the intake of various snacks and soft drinks, and a separate cluster characterized by prohibition of cookies and cake. Regression analyses showed that these clusters were related to the children's behavioural style (i.e. oppositional, depressive and/or aggressive behaviour) and to educational level, age and alternative lifestyle of the mother. The clusters also had a favourable influence on dietary intake (i.e. restrictive parenting practices were related to less consumption of the restricted (unhealthy) items and higher consumption of items considered to be healthy), which was moderated by child characteristics. The parenting practices showed a stronger association with dietary intake in children with a favourable behavioural style (i.e. non-depressed, low anxious, low overactive), a favourable eating style or a lower BMI. The findings suggest opportunities for preventive interventions focussing on parents of young children, and indicate that different approaches to parenting practice interventions are needed for different types of children. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.