Parental phubbing refers to a phenomenon in which parents are distracted by their smartphones when they interact with their children. It has become a common concern and linked to adolescents' internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. However, much remains unclear about reciprocal associations among parental phubbing, self-esteem, and suicidal ideation and the potential mechanisms underlying these associations. To address these gaps, the current study tested bidirectional relationships among parental phubbing, self-esteem, and suicidal ideation, as well as the mediating role of self-esteem. In addition, the present study examined whether these relationships varied by extraversion, gender, and perceived economic stress across three time points using a cross-lagged design. A total of 2407 Chinese adolescents (50.23% girls, Mage = 12.75, SD = 0.58 at baseline) participated in the study. The results showed that parental phubbing was associated with self-esteem as well as with suicidal ideation, and there were bidirectional relationships between self-esteem and suicidal ideation. Self-esteem significantly mediated the association between parental phubbing and suicidal ideation. Extraversion moderated the link between parental phubbing and suicidal ideation as well as self-esteem and suicidal ideation during the first year. Gender and perceived economic stress did not play a moderating role. The results indicate that parental phubbing is a new risk factor for adolescents' suicidal ideation. Parents concerned about adolescents' self-esteem and suicidal ideation should focus on minimizing the frequency of smartphone use and teach adolescents some social skills to seek more sources of social support.