I am reading a book called: The Mother-Daughter Project (How Mothers and Daughters Can Band Together, Beat the Odds, and Thrive Through Adolescence) It is a little more liberal in some areas than I am, but it does have some good points in it, as well as ideas for keeping daughters connected with their mothers through what can be a difficult time.
Here is an excerpt; "Many movie and sitcom moms make mother-loathing seem appropriate, since they portray mothers as diabolical (Desperate Housewives), clueless (the mom in the otherwise mostly girl-positive movie 'She's the Man'), or (incredibly often) dead (Whale Rider, Stripes, Fly Away Home, and a plethora of Disney cartoons from Snow White to Bambi to Finding Nemo). There are relatively few media portrayals of overtly positive mother-daughter relationships and smart, loving moms, though thankfully some do exist, such as in the movie (and book) Cheaper by the Dozen. With little experience for comparison, your daughter may take in the media presentation of teens as back-talking mother-haters as the model to aspire to. . . your daughter is drawn further toward the idea that she is supposed to pull away and treat you with disdain, too, even when she really doesn't want to pull away form you." (pg. 158)
As I read this I started really thinking about all the movies and T.V. shows I watch, and how true this is. Shows I grew-up watching like I Love Lucy, where Lucy acted like, and was treated like a child by her husband. One of my favorite shows of all time is Happy Days. And thinking about it, I realized that Mrs. C wasn't really all that involved in her kids lives. Then all those Disney movies like Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and my favorite, Beauty and the Beast, that shows girls not to just go for the guy with the looks. (And Belle loves to read, a girl after my own heart!) The mom is always dead, and sometimes replaced by an evil step mother. Why is this?
Even my new favorite movie, Nancy Drew. I love this movie and it's mostly girl empowering, but there is no Mother. Even in some of my favorite Shirley Temple movies, and my girls favorite Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Movies, they play Orphans. There are not many movies and/or T.V. shows that show a close Mother-Daughter relationship. This is very disheartening to me as a Mother!
As I racked my brain (not hard to do!) I did come up with some good shows, with positive Mother role models. This is one of the reasons My favorite T.V. show of all time (John & the kids bought me the entire series for Christmas last year) is Gilmore Girls. It's about a single mother and her teenage daughter. Yes, they may argue or disagree on things, but, they talk about everything, and work it out. It's not cheesy either. I LOVE that show! Another one we always watched as a family while it was on was 7th Heaven. It is a little cheesy, but it was about a Pastor and his family. And they dealt with real issues. The movie Stepmom was on T.V. the other day, and it has TWO pretty strong mother figures.
And as far as books go, you can't go wrong with my favorite Little Women! And if your girls are not into The American Girl Dolls, I highly recommend them. Each doll represents a time in American History, and comes with a book about her life. Four of them have been made into movies. The last one, Kit was in Theaters, the other three, Samantha, Felicity and Molly were made for T.V. movies. All are really good. And all have good Mother-Daughter relationships.
There is also a new show on T.V. called The Secret Life of the American Teenager. From the creators of 7th Heaven. Now, be warned, it has a lot of content that needs parental guidance. It is about teenage pregnancy. You may or may not want to watch this one. But, I would not let my kids watch it if I didn't watch it with them. It can be great for starting conversations with your kids on touchy subjects. But it does have some pretty good Mother-Daughter relationships portrayed, and well as bad ones. The funny thing is that the main mom, soon to be grandmother (hence, the teenage pregnancy) is Molly Ringwald, the quintessential teenager in all my girl movies from back in the day. Like The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. When did we grow up?
So, think about it: What are some of your favorite Movies, T.V. shows and books? And what kind of Mother-Daughter, (or Mother-Son) relationships do they portray? Do they encourage our kids to be close to and talk to their parents? And are they the kind of parents we want to be?