After the fall of communism, many Eastern Europeans sought work abroad, leaving their children with relatives. Eastern European migrants represent a target group with unstudied immigration patterns. The goal of this study was to examine how parental migration and economic pressure impact children outcomes in the Republic of Moldova. I examined a model of the impact of parental migration on children (13–15 years old), using a survey with 388 children who have migrant and non‐migrant parents. The conceptual model of migration, economic pressure, family relations and child outcomes integrated within the family stress perspective allows these pathways to be incorporated within a broader Moldovan context. I conducted quantitative data analysis using structural equation modelling. The results indicated that higher economic pressure was associated with children's lower psychological functioning, academic achievement and satisfaction with life. Parenting behaviours, especially parental support and monitoring, mediated the impact of satisfaction with migration and economic pressure on children's outcomes. I underline the importance of using a family perspective in the migration policymaking process, and provide specific recommendations for migration policies and programmes.