Parental perceptions of their children’s weight status may limit their willingness to participate in or acknowledge the importance of early interventions to prevent childhood obesity. This study aimed to examine potential differences in Hispanic mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of childhood obesity, lifestyle behaviors and communication preferences to inform the development of culturally appropriate childhood obesity interventions. A qualitative study using focus groups was conducted. Groups (one for mothers and one for fathers) were composed of Hispanic parents (n = 12) with at least one girl and one boy (≤ 10 years old) who were patients at a pediatric clinic in Tennessee, USA. Thirteen major themes clustered into four categories were observed: (i) perceptions of childhood obesity/children’s weight; (ii) parenting strategies related to children’s dietary behaviors/physical activity; (iii) perceptions of what parents can do to prevent childhood obesity and (iv) parental suggestions for partnering with child care providers to address childhood obesity. Mothers appeared to be more concerned than fathers about their children’s weight. Fathers expressed more concern about the girls’ weight than boys’. Mothers were more likely than fathers to congratulate their children more often for healthy eating and physical activity. Parents collectively expressed a desire for child care providers (e.g. caregivers, teachers, medical professionals and food assistance programs coordinators) to have a caring attitude about their children, which might in turn serve as a motivating factor in talking about their children’s weight. Parental perceptions of their children’s weight and healthy lifestyle choices are of potential public health importance since they could affect parental participation in preventive interventions.