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In the performing arts, a stage mother is the mother of a child actor. The mother will often drive her child to auditions, make sure he or she is on the set on time, etc. The term stage mother sometimes[when?] has a negative connotation, suggesting that the individual is prone to obnoxiously demanding special treatment for her child, or suggesting that the individual has placed inappropriate pressure on her child to succeed. Some[who?] believe that a "stage mom" is vicariously living out her own dreams through her child.
A stage mother may also be the official manager of her child (e.g., Rose Thompson Hovick, Dina Lohan, Ethel Gumm, Teri Shields, Susan Duff, etc.) — representing her child in negotiations for the professional services of her child. Such managers have often been referred to as "momagers" in the film industry.
In certain cases where a mother and child both work in the film industry, an automatic labeling of "stage mother" can be affixed to the mother[by whom?] without cause. Kathie Lee Gifford has been against the concept of stage mothers and had explained that when her son Cody co-starred with her in the film Model Behavior, it had been on his own volition to try acting and not at her insistence. Ironically, Gifford plays a stage mother in that movie.
Fathers have also been known to manage their children in this way, such as Joseph Jackson (patriarch of the Jackson family), Murry Wilson (father of three of The Beach Boys), Joe Simpson (father of Jessica and Ashlee Simpson), Jeff Archuleta (father of American Idol runner-up David Archuleta), Mathew Knowles (father of Beyoncé and Solange Knowles) and Kit Culkin (father of Macaulay Culkin and Kieran Culkin). A historical example of such a father was the father of Mozart, who recognized his son's musical ability at an early age and made the most of it. Although fathers have been known to act like stage mothers, fathers have more often been associated[by whom?] with pushing their sons into a potential career in professional sports, such as implementing strength and exercise regimens at a young age and to attempt backhanded actions such as delaying enrollment in school so their sons will be bigger than their classmates.
A variant of the term has been a "script mother", or a woman writer who sees her children as a means for writing books or screenplays based on humiliating events in the child's life, to the detriment of the child, or exaggerating a child's personal problems. Script mothers can be writers, comediennes or cartoonists.
An example of a script mother has been Lynn Johnston, who has been criticized for making a fast buck off her children (and husband) in her comic strip For Better or for Worse, as opposed to many cartoonists such as Charles Schultz and Berke Breathed who make up fictional characters. Johnston's children eventually had to be pulled out of school due to the constant bullying and embarrassment they received in being compared to their comic strip counterparts, and placed into a private school with tougher regulations on student conduct.
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