The Parent Theme is the theme we’ll usually refer to when talking about WordPress themes. It’s the main theme that provides and handles all the features, functionalities, and styles. A Parent Theme does not need a Child Theme to work.

A Child Theme, Just to note not all themes you purchase may come with a child theme. To install a child theme you must first install the parent theme (Main Theme), a child theme needs a parent theme to work and takes all the functionality from the parent theme. Once you have both parent and child theme installed you need to then Activate the Child Theme (Do not delete the parent theme).

Why Use a WordPress Child Theme?

  • Safer Updating: When and if you want to customize how your site works you can now do that safely as you are customising the Child Theme keeping the parent theme intact.
  • Theme Author Updates: When the authors of a theme pushes out new updates for more features or bug fixes this overwrites the files in the parent theme. If you had made your customizations to the parent theme then these updates would wipe them out every time causing you to have to keep adding them.
  • Easy to Extend: A child theme built on a powerful theme framework allows a great deal of flexibility without writing a lot of code. You only need to modify the template files and functions that you wish to customize.

Here are the BuddyBoss Parent Theme and BuddyBoss Child Theme. You can navigate to the WordPress dashboard - Appearance - Themes to see all available themes installed on your website.

To make this slightly simpler the Parent Theme is the functioning code that makes your features and functionality work which you do not want to alter unless you really know what your doing and have a plan to not download and update the new updates the authors push out. 

The Child Theme is a layer that sits on top that takes all the functionality from the parent but if you wanted to make changes using custom code, CSS, JavaScript, PHP (Not changing the settings provided within the theme by the authors) then you can do this without affecting the parent theme code and functionality and also protects your changes from the parent on updates.


If a theme your ever purchase has a child theme always install both parent and child and keep the child as the Activated theme just to be safe.