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Stage Mom

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Behind this child actor is a fame-hungry parent.

"I've always dreamed of becoming an actress. That's not why I'm pushing Olivia to do it. Is it suspicious that I brought that up unprovoked?"
Olivia's mother, Family Guy

Some parents really want their kids to become child stars. And they'll do anything they can to make that happen, up to and including interfering in the kids' work. They'll do this even at the risk of derailing the production, straining their relationship with their kids, or even endangering their kids outright. Sometimes this helps their kids start successful careers, but more likely, it'll actively hurt the kids' chances when they lose gigs because the directors don't want to deal with the parents. And failure usually turns out badly for the kid.

A Stage Mom is similar in theme to an Education Mama, but whereas Education Mama usually just wants what's best for her child, the Stage Mom is driven by pure narcissism. She's a massive Control Freak, persecuting other people's children and being incredibly pushy with her own. It's clear that she has self-serving reasons for pushing her kids into show business, wanting to vicariously experience the fame and fortune she dreamed of herself. Sometimes she may be a failed actress or musician and this is the next best thing. The worst cases overlap with The Svengali, exploiting their children for their own gain.

The family's financial status greatly plays a part in how the Stage Mom behaves. If the family is poor, she might be pushing her child to have a better life than she had, or less altruistically, she sees their talent as a cash cow to milk for all it's worth. Extra points if the kid's performing career is the family's most stable source of income. If the family is wealthy, the mom might want to project the image that her little darling is perfect in every way. And if she's a successful performer herself, she might be grooming her child in her own image—whether the kid wants it or not—because her own time in the spotlight is up.

If she has other children that aren't performers, don't ask about her relationship with them.

If the child is an adult who had a more conventional rise to fame, the Stage Mom could still reappear later in life. This usually happens when she realizes that she could manipulate her kid's fame for her own gain. Bonus points if the parent wasn't involved in the kid's life growing up but is now interested in a relationship. Most likely, the kid winds up telling her off for her behavior, she realizes the error of her ways, and the plot is resolved before the episode ends.

Although Real Life stage parents can come in both sexes, the fictional portrayal is almost Always Female, hence the trope name. This is because pursuing the performing arts is not seen as very masculine. In fiction, the male version is almost always a Sports Dad (as opposed to a "Stage Dad") who pushes his children into becoming star athletes and gets more worked up during games than the kids actually playing. This variation is particularly focused on living vicariously through his kids and trying to make up for his own failed ambitions.

This is a major reason for Dawson Casting in Real Life, as producers really don't like dealing with these people.

A subtrope of Vicariously Ambitious.

Fictional examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the hospital arc in Candy♡Candy, the eponymous Candy has to deal with the overbearing and bitchy mother of a young piano prodigy who's been hospitalised in the clinic she works in. It turns out that the massive pressure she put on the girl drove her to illness in the first place. Candy figures out what's up and manages to convince the mother to see the error of her ways and seek forgiveness from her daughter.
  • Captain Tsubasa:
    • Carlos Santana was legally adopted by Barsole Bara, owner of the Bara FC, who only saw him as a tool to profit from. When Carlos turned 17, he revealed in a press conference all the abuse he was submitted to and shamed him publically.
    • Subverted with Rudi Frank Schneider, father of Karl Heinz Schneider. Despite being his coach on the Bayern Munich and the German team (and a former player himself), he genuinely loves and is very proud of his son for choosing to follow in his footsteps of his own volition.
  • In Case Closed, Conan, Ai, and their friends step in a kidnapping case that has two of these. One is the mother of a boy named Keita, who forces her son to practice endlessly on the piano. The other is the father of the kid's rival, Chiaki, who wants his daughter to win so badly that he kidnaps Keita and tries to kill him so that he won't interfere in Chiaki's career. The father realises how fucked up that is and tries to go the Bath Suicide way; thankfully the children rescue him, Keita is released, the mother apologises to him, and Keita and Chiaki become friends.
  • In Charisma Doll Kazuma wants Sara to "follow in her footsteps" and have a chance to be a star. Sara doesn't like being a pop idol, because she feels that her androgynous appearance and voice are nothing but a cheap gimmick to get money.
    Sara: Remember this... a kid is not a parent's doll.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Hotohori's mother was completely determined to get her son atop the succession line at any cost, even being willing to kill the real heir if need be. She ends up succeeding in making Hotohori the Crown Prince (and according to a novel she fatally poisoned one of Hoto's half-brothers, though not the Crown Prince), but then she dies and Hotohori is stuck as Emperor, which makes him extremely unhappy. The novels and an OAV reveal that this had repercussions much later: the real Crown Prince, Tendou, came back and confronted Hotohori.
  • Ojamajo Doremi:
    • Onpu Segawa's mother, Miho, is a milder example. She does care for Onpu more than the typical Stage Mom, but she pushes her hard to be an Idol Singer like she used to be. When Onpu falls into a Convenient Coma after using her power against the rules too frequently, Miho has a Heroic BSoD and blames herself for pushing her too hard. In the following season, Miho actually discourages Onpu from taking a job that could boost her career because it happens to be at the location where Miho herself suffered a Career-Ending Injury.
    • Haruka Harukaze, Doremi's Tsundere mother and an ex-pianist, who lost her career due to a Game-Breaking Injury, almost became a Stage Mom. When little Doremi showed some degree of musical talent, she tried to shape her into a good pianist, but Doremi panicked on stage, and Haruka didn't insist afterwards. She felt so guilty about it that when Doremi's little sister Poppu wanted her mom to teach her how to play, it took both her and Doremi's efforts to convince her.
  • Pokémon: The Series, being essentially about competitive monster fighting, naturally has a number of these:
    • Grace tries to push her daughter Serena into Rhyhorn racing, even though she hates it. She decides instead to become a Pokémon performer, which causes no end of fighting between the two. Grace eventually relented, though, and let her pursue her dreams.
    • Tammi the cheerleader, from the Johto league, took this attitude out on her own Pokémon; she became bitchy and demanding to them and furiously berated them for any mistakes. It took a brief Break the Haughty and a harsh call-out from Misty to get her to stop doing this.
  • In Speed Grapher's first episode, a young would-be ballerina and her stage mom visit the ballet dancer Kazuya Shirogane in his camerino so the girl can show off her dancing skills and become his pupil. Shirogane turns out to be an Euphoric, and ends up breaking the girl's arm while screaming "Not flexible! Not flexible! NOT FLEXIBLE".
  • In xxxHOLiC, Kohane Tsuyuri's mother pushes her to appear on television specials. The girl is clearly uncomfortable with this and only wants her mother's love and approval. The mother denies her almost any affection to keep her powers from being tainted, doesn't refer to her by name, and attacks her and Watanuki when Watanuki questions her on live TV.
  • Kousei's mother Saki from Your Lie in April wanted him to become famous and perform in Europe, which she couldn't herself do due to illness. She demanded he play the piano to perfection and made him practice for hours, often beating him up for small mistakes. Turns out she actually wanted him to become successful so that he could live on his own when she was gone, as her illness was a fatal one; however, her initially understandable worries became anger and despair, and things went From Bad to Worse.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has a brotherly example with Siegfried pushing his younger brother Leon to beat Yugi at all costs, even if it means cheating. Joey lampshades this in the dub.
    Siegfried: Now crush Yugi Muto, just like we rehearsed it a thousand times!
    Joey: Sheesh... Who knew Siggy was such a stage mom?
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL features a child actor who's under his mother's constant control, wrecking any chance for a social life. Things then go From Bad to Worse when he ends up with a mind-warping Number card.

    Comic Books 
  • Striker of Avengers Academy had a mother like this who gave him his drive to be famous. Even worse, at one point in the series, it's revealed that she allowed him to be sexually abused so that he would get cast in a commercial.
  • The Inferior Five came about because their superhero parents forced them to follow in their footsteps, despite the fact that the Five are completely incompetent at being superheroes.
  • In The Order (2007), Becky Ryan's dad forced her to become a country music star at a very early age.
  • In PS238, Ultima and Sovereign Powers want their son Tyler to follow them into the family business and become a superhero, ignoring completely that he's a Muggle Born of Superheroes. They push him into a school for superheroes, using their clout as famous heroes to get him enrolled despite him being technically unqualified for entry, and basically ignoring him until he gains superpowers while insisting they'll develop "any minute now". Ironically, Tyler responds to this by taking tutelage under an Expy of Batman whom his parents dislike for "butting his head into metahuman business". Things get even more complicated once Tyler's superpowered clone Toby makes his appearance. Toby has to use his Reality Warper powers to keep Tyler from being disowned (at the cost of losing any chance of being on good terms with Tyler's best friend) and even then Ultima and Sovereign routinely forget about the existence of their unpowered eldest child.
  • In Rising Stars, Joshua Kane is born with the ability to levitate and generate light, which his pastor father exploits in order to build an empire as a televangelist. This makes poor Josh, who is a closet transvestite, utterly miserable.
  • In Runaways, it's been hinted that much of the abuse Chase Stein suffered at the hands of his father stemmed from his father's disappointment that Chase had not inherited his aptitude for science.
  • The Mark Waid Strange miniseries featured pageant mothers who made deals with a demon so that their daughters would win. As one would expect (and because the demon was a huge cheater who decided he didn't have to adhere to the rules of magic), this backfired horribly. Some readers concur that everything in the book except the Deal with the Devil is Truth in Television.
  • The Flash's mother in Tangent Comics loves the limelight, and tries to keep it on her and her daughter any way she can. The Flash, for one, doesn't care much about being a star, but there's no reasoning with a larger-than-life figure like her mom.
  • The original Silk Spectre from Watchmen coached her daughter to take up her profession as a superhero. It led to some of her issues but ultimately is an Aversion as they both have a good relationship.
  • The Wicked + The Divine:
    • Minerva's parents are shown as ruthlessly exploiting their daughter's status as a member of the Pantheon to turn her into a cash cow. It's possible that this may be because they can't deal with her inevitable death. Turns out it's because they're not actually her parents. They're just a random couple that Minerva hired to play the roles who were greedy enough to go along with the charade.
    • It's eventually revealed that Woden is a zig-zagged version of this trope. David Blake arranged for his son, Jon, to become part of the Pantheon against the boy's will so he could reap the benefits of godhood, similar to the way some stage parents push their children into fame so they can enjoy the perks of success. The variation is that Blake keeps Jon, now Mimir, hidden away as a prisoner creating Magitek that allows Blake to pretend to be Woden in public.
  • In Young Justice, Bonnie King, mother of Cissie King-Jones (aka Arrowette), is a superhero stage mother, pushing her daughter into becoming a superhero because of her own frustrated ambitions. She seems to care more about fame than her daughter's own safety, and she's been called out for this many times by other heroes:
    • Cissie's first appearance was in Impulse, where her superhero mentor Max Mercury was so disgusted by her mother that he called Child Services.
    • Nightwing got a chance to get in on the action and chew her out (having met her at Tim's parents' conference).
    • Wonder Girl's mother was particularly disgusted with Arrowette's costume, which Bonnie seemed to have picked out to be more flashy than functional and wasn't good at protecting her from injury. (Bonnie didn't take it well and started a Cat Fight). Arrowette's costume change to something more sensible (well, at least relative to what she wore before) occurred when Bonnie was under psychiatric evaluation and Cissie's counselor had inadvertently inspired her to prove she could be a better hero on her own.
    • Cissie herself quit the superhero game out of frustration. Undeterred, Bonnie quickly found a new vocation for her: competitive archery. Cissie qualified for the US Olympic team and eventually won gold, which only got her mother to start scheduling public appearances for her.
    • Ironically, Cissie's mother Bonnie herself had a stage mom who pushed her into competitive archery at a young age and treated her like dirt when she won a silver medal instead of a gold one. Bonnie angrily cut ties to her mother, only to become a lot like her later in life.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • In Blazing Generations, a sequel to the Sword Art Online fic I Will Not Bow, Akane Migakuri's mother is more manager than mother and runs her career as the Idol Singer Akimi. When she appears in chapter 65, it's revealed she leaked information on where Akane's attending school to the paparazzi, and is determined to turn the singing competition at school into a publicity stunt for Akane and force her to resume her career at the end of the school year whether Akane likes it or not. In chapter 66, she furiously chews Akane out for dropping out of the competition in favor of Lilly, calling her a "loser girl with no reputation," Akane has finally had enough; she gives her mother a slap, furiously calls her out over her attitude and actions, and fires her as her manager, declaring that the idol business has turned her into a different person and she wants her mom back. After Akane sings the song her late father used to sing with her and then explains that she wants to be the idol she herself envisions, Akane's mother realizes how far she had fallen and breaks down in Tears of Remorse.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail has Hilary, Ash's aunt and Delia's nasty sister-in-law, who wants her sons to become world-famous Pokémon trainers like their cousin. However, Trey and Troy were inspired by his adventures to become archaeologists — something that doesn't sit well with Hilary, who insists that archaeologists never become rich or famous. She tries to blame Ash for all of this, claiming that he's crushed the dreams of other children by overshadowing them... when in reality she's the one trying to crush her sons' dreams.
  • Karui in Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox has this problem with her mother, who pushes her to excel in her music studies with the expectation that Karui will become a talented concert pianist someday because the mother had failed in her own endeavors to build a musical career. Karui deeply resents her mother for pushing her own thwarted expectations onto her daughter and takes part in underground oil wrestling in an effort to be in control of something in her own life.
  • In A little dinner scandal, when Mirabel and Camilo realize how much Mariano looks like their Abuelo Pedro, they begin to think that Alma paired Isa up with him as a means of recreating her own marriage vicariously through them.
  • She's Not So Famous takes place in The '90s and features a younger Chris McLean as a member of a Boy Band. His mother Nancy pushes his music onto strangers and throws a fit if Chris isn't given what he wants. She's also having an affair with his manager, though he's totally aware of this and finds it interesting.
  • the superhero game: Like her canon counterpart, Bonnie King (the mother of Young Justice's Arrowette) is this, with a disgusted Jason dropping the trope name to describe her. Then she proves it when she objects to Cissie attending a superhero training camp simply because it's in the middle of nowhere, rather than someplace where she can show off her skills and be recognized for it. She even demands to know "Where's the money, the marketing, the brand?", and accuses them of having her train in private as "another way of giving my daughter the shaft". Everyone present thinks that she really means "giving me the shaft", and are just as disgusted as Jason with her behavior.
  • Sugar in Total Drama Legacy. In "Aftermath: The Next Generation", Sugar mentions that ever since her daughter Morgan was little, she has signed her up for beauty pageants so she could relive her pageant days through her. And while Morgan enjoyed being in beauty pageants when she was a young child, she now finds them to be very boring.

    Film - Animated 
  • Barbie: Princess Charm School: While it's not outright stated, it's heavily implied that the main reason Dame Devin is pushing for her daughter to inherit Gardania's throne is so she can live out her dreams of becoming a princess through her — and she's willing to do anything to get it, from sabotaging the other princesses to murdering the original royal family.
  • Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright: One of the Talent Star contestants is Chrissy, a Spoiled Brat whose parents are rude to practically everyone they come across and insistent that their daughter is a future star. Her dad is eventually revealed to be one of the culprits running around in a Phantom costume, his motivation being sabotaging the other contestants so that Chrissy could win.
  • In Sing, one of the auditionees is a kangaroo joey who was dragged along by her mother in her pouch. After they get rejected, her mother insists that she will become a star.

    Film - Live Action 
  • The Banana Splits Movie: Jonathan is one. The only reason he brings Parker to the live show is so he can get her an acting job, and he makes her do a routine and sing a risqué song for the thoroughly uninterested Rebecca. He dies along with the majority of the adults in the studio, and Parker tells her mom she's going to quit acting in the end.
  • C.C.'s mother in Beaches. Hillary and C.C. met in 1958, under the boardwalk on the beach in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Hillary is lost and C.C. is hiding from her overbearing stage mother.
  • Noni Jean's mother, Macy, in Beyond the Lights is a stage mom, even forcing ten-year-old Noni to throw away the second place trophy she proudly won because she (Macy) thought Second Place Is for Losers. Macy's treatment of her daughter into adulthood results in Noni attempting suicide and a well-deserved calling-out... the latter of which ends with Noni firing her as her manager.
  • Erica Sayers of Black Swan, the smothering mother of the main character, who has a lot of issues.
  • The Breakfast Club:
    • Andrew's dad is a male example:
      "Andrew! You've got to be number one! I won't tolerate any losers in this family! Win, win, win!"
    • Brian's parents live vicariously off of his academic achievements.
  • Center Stage (2000): Maureen's mother Nancy to a horrifying fault. She wasn't able to make it as a dancer, so has put all the pressure, hopes, and dreams on her daughter Maureen—insisting that she loves dance, that it's her ambition to join a company and dance professionally, and even saying she's distracting herself by dating when she needs to be focused on dance. Maureen crumbles hard under the pressure, gives her role to Eva and decides to drop out of ballet altogether, which Nancy has a breakdown about. When Maureen then confronts her mom in the lobby—telling her she's not happy and she's throwing up half of what she eats to remain a dancer—Nancy denies it all, including saying that Maureen is just "watching what she eats".
  • Violet's mother in the 2005 version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory pushes her to win pretty much any competition she enters, including those involving her beloved gum-chewing. We don't see her interacting with (or even acknowledging the existence of) the other kids or parents, but she keeps pushing Violet and plays up to a very indifferent Willy.
  • Kirstie Alley's character in the black comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous takes it to the biggest extremes, as she's determined to have her daughter Rebecca (played by Denise Richards) win every single contest she's in by sabotaging them. The kid finally ends up dead — when her mom lights up fireworks placed under a swan float she's in.
  • In Get Him to the Greek, Jonathan Snow is a washed-up Vegas musician and the father of (soon-to-be) washed-up rock god Aldous Snow. The relationship is deconstructed somewhat to reflect Jonathan's macho, northern English roots; he wants financial help from Aldous, but he's much too proud to ask for money directly, exasperating Aldous with his hair-splitting.
  • Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray, among other things, tries to seduce Tracy's dad to get her kicked off the Miss Teenage Hairspray competition, and later tries to tamper with the votes.
  • Highway 61 has Mr. Watson, who is trying to bring his three daughters to stardom.
  • Ice Princess: Tina, who manages the rink where Casey trains, has Gen on a strict training program. During a competition where both Casey and Gen compete, Tina sees Casey may outrank Gen and sabotages Casey's performance by buying her new skates. Unaware of the danger of unbroken-in skates, Casey's resulting long program is riddled with poor jumps and several falls.
  • Janice Johnston from Journey of the Heart is a downplayed example. Her son Tony is genuinely passionate about music and really wants to be a concert pianist, but Janice pressures him to spend almost all his time practicing and discourages him from having any kind of social life or other interests that would be a distraction.
  • The Last Summer: Audrey does a lot of work for a former actress who is pushing her daughter Lilah to go to auditions and such which she doesn't want to. The mom has a house that's a Shrine to Self and obsesses over appearing in Sixteen Candles even though it was merely for a couple seconds in a background role.
  • Little Miss Sunshine was all over this; the family itself is okay (if kind of dysfunctional), but all the other parents they see when they finally get to the pageant are quintessential stage moms.
  • Our Gang: In Beginner's Luck, Spanky has been entered into an amateur show by his overly aggressive stage mother (Kitty Kelly). He wants nothing to do with this and would rather not act. The gang comes up with a plan to disrupt his recitation and make him flop which makes Spanky very pleased.
  • Stage Mother is a 1933 film in which the titular stage mother uses blackmail to get her daughter out of a touring revue so she can take the lead in a huge Broadway production.
  • In Stand-In, a pushy mother ambushes clueless new studio head Atterbury Dodd in his office and forces him to watch her young daughter perform a rather risque number (for the '30s). The outraged Dodd tells her to let the little girl have a normal childhood and pushes her out.
  • Hannah's mom in Varsity Blood is determined that Hannah will have the brilliant cheerleading career she never had, starting with getting a cheer scholarship to college. She is so obsessed that she is willing to go along with her boyfriend's plan to murder most of the cheer squad so long as Hannah is not harmed.

  • Downplayed in Ballet Shoes, where all three Fossil sisters go on the stage to earn extra money for their family. Pauline and Posy are happy too, loving acting and dancing respectively. Petrova meanwhile hates dancing and performing, and only does so grudgingly. Sylvia and Nana meanwhile want all the girls to be happy and understand when Petrova gives up performing for her preferred career of becoming a pilot.
  • In James Joyce's Dubliners, the short story "A Mother" reads this way today. At the time, given the limited career opportunities for women, it's more an example of an Unbuilt Trope. Uniquely it's over her daughter playing the piano rather than singing or acting.
  • Fifth Formers at St Clare's features Felicity Ray, a talented violinist whose parents forced her to participate in a very difficult music exam, just so that she could have the distinction of being the youngest person to earn its certification. The poor girl is so stressed out that she's verging on a nervous breakdown and started sleepwalking.
  • A minor character in The Gates of Sleep is a child chess prodigy, whose father drove him into a breakdown by pushing the kid into more and more public exhibition games.
  • The Godfather has a particularly appalling example: when Tom Hagen visits film executive Jack Woltz, he discovers that Woltz molested a twelve-year-old child actress — and her mother doesn't mind one bit, thinking that he'll be more likely to cast the girl. The scene turns Tom's Offer You Cant Refuse into Laser-Guided Karma, with Woltz's actions almost certainly playing a role in escalating the threat level.
  • It's Not the End of the World: Debbie's mom is one, who pushes her daughter into everything from tennis lessons to drama lessons.
  • Jaine Austen Mysteries: Heather Van Sant from Death By Tiara to her daughter Taylor, as is Luanne Summers to her daughter Gigi.
  • Katrina's parents in Ms. Wiz Supermodel become this when they enter her into a local fashion show. They even forcibly pluck her eyebrows and talk about dyeing her hair. She's ten! Thankfully Ms Wiz shows up to expose the organiser of the show as a scam artist.
  • Nina Tanleven: The Ghost in the Third Row has a toned-down version - Melissa Clayton wants to be a star, and it’s said that her mother really wants her to be a star. The toned-down part comes in that Mrs. Clayton is off-screen the entire book; the most she can be credited with is encouraging Melissa to audition for The Woman in White and stay in it, despite her unending string of complaints about the theater and insults towards her fellow performers and the others around.
  • In Noel Streatfeild's Skating Shoes/White Boots, Lalla's aunt acts like this with regard to skating. The other adults in the book spend a lot of time worrying about it.
  • Nowhere Stars: Shona Tieran's mother forced her to become a child actress in a Magical Girl-themed tv show, something Shona despised doing. Part of the reason she Jumped at the Call to become a Keeper is because she saw it as a way out from under her mother's thumb (children who become Keepers are automatically considered emancipated under the law).
  • Mace Tyrell in A Song of Ice and Fire is a military failure whose one successful campaign was due to the work of Randyll Tarly. Therefore, he pushed each of his sons to become great knights. He put his eldest son Willas in his first tourney before he was ready and up against Oberyn Martell, which ended up getting his leg crushed.
  • Janet Bunterman in Star Island plays stage mom to Cherry Pye (formerly Cheryl Bunterman), making her daughter a Child Pop Star at a young age despite her lack of singing talent and later desperately trying to cover up her daughter's addictions. It doesn't help that the Bunterman family now lives on Nepotism.
  • Station Eleven: It's only relayed secondhand, but Kirsten's mom spends her one meeting with Arthur trying to get another acting job for her eight-year-old daughter. Arthur is left rather soured by the encounter and thinks that she should let Kirsten have more moments of normalcy.
  • The appendix from the full version of Unimaa all but says this is the reason why Anya gave up her real life to join Frida's Friends Club, stating that she was forced into a life of ballet against her will.
  • In Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez, Carmen's mother Diana is a former opera singer who gets throat cancer and can no longer sing. Diana instead ends up living vicariously through Carmen, a violin prodigy. In the end, Diana ends up bribing the judges in a competition (in which the prize is a priceless violin and a concert series) so that Carmen's only worthy opponent doesn't make it past the semifinals.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock:
    • Jenna Maroney's mother Verna showed no concern for her safety back when she was filming commercials at one point forcing her to stand dangerously close to a live alligator. She also used to force Jenna to sing in department stores, so that she could use the distraction to shoplift. Doing so was the one thing Jenna enjoyed about Christmas, and it led to her becoming the Attention Whore she is as an adult.
    • Angie Jordan shows these tendencies to Tracy Jordan, who's not her son but her husband (and a famous Manchild). Tracy's biggest complaint was her attempt to get into a Cat Fight with Liz Lemon, which bothered him so much that he had to behave maturely, which he really didn't want to do.
  • In The Big Bang Theory Bernadette's mother is presented as this in Bernadette's younger years, with beauty pageants; when we meet her in the present she has a completely different personality, being mousy and totally under the thumb of her domineering husband.
  • The Big Leap has Tanya Lovewell, the tyrannical mother of Simon and Brittney who's been pressuring them to succeed since birth. As the show goes on it's revealed that this is in part to help the three of them gain financial stability, but her controlling attitude also leads to her tormenting them for getting anything but first place, and a ban on any relationships (or "subplots") unless they're with someone famous enough to elevate "the family brand". She's so invested in making them stars that even Nick and his crew, who make their careers out of meddling with the cast's lives, are afraid of her.
  • Big Time Rush has Tyler, the kid from the juice commercials, whose mother tries very hard to get him any kind of casting, which results in him hiding from her all the time.
  • The Black Mirror episode "Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too" features Teen Idol Ashley O (played by Miley Cyrus) whose aunt/manager, Catherine, is a particularly sinister example. She pushes Ashley O to succeed at the cost of her mental health, and when that hits a roadblock, she puts Ashley in a coma and sets about replacing her with a Virtual Celebrity version of herself.
  • The Bones episode "The Girl with the Curl" features a child beauty pageant queen as the Victim of the Week, and one of the prime suspects is her mother, who is universally described as a stage mom. She's not the murderer, but security footage from before the murder shows that the mother was very controlling and abusive.
    • Another mother in the episode is a downplayed stage mom. She's pretty caught up in the pageant scene, but she doesn't seem to be trying to live vicariously through her daughter (as her pageant career was a successful one) and is a more affectionate parent than the victim's mom.
  • The Boys (2019):Starlight aka Annie January's mother, Donna behaves this way towards her, having groomed her from a toddler to be the perfect All-American superheroine. She was so obsessed with fame and stardom that she signed Starlight up to be given Compound V as a child - she chose her whole life for her. Annie is not happy when she finds out. It's implied "super pageants" are a big thing, with lots of Supe kids likely having pushy parents hoping to make their little darling the next Homelander. To her credit though, Donna eventually realizes she made a big mistake and tries to make amends with her daughter.
  • Castle: The victim in "Pretty Dead" is a lifelong pageant contestant who was pushed into competitions by her mother at the age of nine. After her mother died, she continued with pageants (to her father's slight regret) to feel closer to her mother's memory, sadly turning into an Alpha Bitch in the process.
  • In an episode of CSI: Miami, a pop star's mother pushed her daughter into a pop music career because she wanted to live on her daughter's success. The girl's manager is even more exploitative, though, and deliberately drives a wedge between them. The mother was Properly Paranoid to put a GPS chip in her daughter, but she ruins her daughter's career by encouraging a Loony Fan to murder her daughter's Body Double.
  • All of the mothers on Dance Moms.
  • An episode of Designing Women has Mary Jo allowing her daughter to compete in a kiddie beauty pageant. While Mary Jo resists the urge to become a stage mother she meets one backstage who has three children in three different pageants on the same night. Suzanne, a former pageant queen, exhibits some stage mother tendencies as Mary Jo's daughter's pageant coach.
  • There's a "What if" episode of Desperate Housewives in which Gabrielle pushes her youngest daughter to become a child star, despite her absolutely sucking at acting. It ends up with both of them wasting their lives, and her husband and other daughter leaving them.
  • Dinosaurs had Fran becoming one of these when Baby becomes a big star in frying pan commercials. It takes a calling out from her best friend Monica and her husband Earl, as well as a bad dream about Baby as an adult, to make her realize that what she was doing was wrong.
  • How I Met Your Mother: In one episode, it's revealed that Barney hired a pair of actors to pretend to be his family. A flashback showed him auditioning actors to play his son. The mother of one of the child actors auditioning complains that her son didn't get the part, mentioning that she slept with Barney. Barney snarks that he had better acting talent than her child.
  • An episode of In the Heat of the Night showed a young woman entering a local beauty pageant. Her Rich Bitch mother — who had been pushing her into these contests since she was a little girl — was so determined that she wins that she arranged for someone to drug the girl's chief rival, take nude pictures of her, then threaten to leak the photos to the press unless the girl dropped out of the pageant. The other girl was so devastated and traumatized by the entire thing that she killed herself. The bigger problem was that the two girls were friends, the victim really did want to be a model and was genuinely passionate about it, and the daughter really wanted the victim to win. The daughter is so disgusted by what happened that she dedicates her victory to her friend, whom she calls the "real winner", flings her sash and crown at her mother ("you wanted it so badly, here it is!"), and storms out of the auditorium and presumably out of her mother's life.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): Dorothy Walker. She's entirely responsible for Trish's childhood career, pimped her out to pedophile producers like Max Tatum for roles, as well as all of Trish's bruises, drug addictions, and eating disorders. In season 1, there's an implication that her talent agency also sees a lot of these. Adopting Jessica turned out to be something she did to distract critics from issues her stage mom behavior was causing.
  • Tom Hanks portrayed himself as a stage dad in a Jimmy Kimmel Live! sketch that parodied Toddlers & Tiaras.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • One episode of Kamen Rider Kiva focused on a girl whose Stage Mom was pressuring her to play the violin when she didn't want to; the title character's Blithe Spirit father encouraged the girl to find her own happiness, which resulted in her becoming an Olympic-level archer years later.
    • Interestingly, the girl's actress returned to the franchise a couple of years later in Kamen Rider Double...except this time, she played the Stage Mom. She hired the services of a Monster of the Week with Overnight Age-Up powers to turn her daughter's "rival" into an old woman; when that girl's mother found out, she hired the Monster to do the same to the first girl. The two mothers get into a shouting match until someone draws their attention to their daughters (who saw each other as friends, not rivals) huddled together and crying in fear, which triggered a My God, What Have I Done? moment in the mothers.
  • Law & Order: An early episode, "Aria", shows a stage mother whose obsession with living through her children had already driven her older daughter away. She thus pushed her younger daughter into porn, hoping that would land her bigger roles. The younger daughter commits suicide out of despair.
    Patricia Blaine: My mother couldn't decide whether I was Martha Graham or Helen Hayes.
    Phil Cerreta: Who were you?
    Patricia Blaine: I was Patty Blaine. So I got out before I wasn't.
  • A recurring sketch on Little Britain featured a stage mom who would sabotage other kids' chances and even harm them to get her son even a minor part.
  • Averted for the most part on Make It or Break It. Kelly's mom, Kaylie's father, and Lauren's father fit this trope, but the other parents of the main cast are properly supportive without being pushy.
  • In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Critic", Natalie's daughter Julie's performance is given a negative review by a critic, and Natalie transforms into a stage mom obsessed with proving him wrong. She gets it into her head that he killed his girlfriend (who happens to be the Victim of the Week) and goes as far as trespassing on his property and rifling through his garbage for evidence.
  • Mr. Show:
    • In the episode "Operation Hell on Earth", Bob Odenkirk and David Cross play stage dads to their daughter Superstar after claiming they wouldn't be pushy like their own parents. Their daughter grows up to be disgruntled, eventually hosting a telethon that features others blaming their parents for how they were brought up.
    • In another sketch, a husband and wife with a child in beauty pageants discuss how wrong it is for parents to force their children into pageants; their baby wants to do it. Turns out their baby is a fetus, and they are participating in the "Pre-Natal Pretties" pageant.
  • My Name Is Earl features Shelly Stoker, Joy's rival from their child beauty pageant days.note  Ms. Stoker now has a daughter named Candi whom she's training to be a pageant winner, even though Candi wants to go to school and eventually become a doctor.
  • In Pitch, Ginny's dad wanted a major-league pitcher in the family, and to this end put both her and her brother through Training from Hell. While Ginny ended up going pro at 23, her dad's abuse has left her with some issues that she has to work through.
  • Powerpuff: Drake spent the girls' childhoods running their lives like a TV show, complete with a character bible that the girls had to follow and heavily limiting their interactions with friends outside the two he'd permit them to have.
  • Psych shows us that Shawn and his father have had this relationship for Shawn's entire life — even in the present, where Shawn is over thirty years old. Interestingly, it's not about sports or academics, but detective work. Given the show's irreverent comic nature, this is usually played for laughs.
  • Two spectacular examples appear in the Rizzoli & Isles episode "Don't Stop Dancing, Girl"; they become the prime suspects after the mother of a rival dancer is murdered.
  • Spoofed in Roundhouse: the main character had a bitchy rival in talent or other competition, and in response to his "What do you have that I don't?" she brought out her stage mother (castmate David Sidoni), who proceeded to launch into an "I Am" Song.
  • In her brief appearance in Single Parents, Douglas’s mother-in-law, Barbara, shows hints of being this in Rose’s youth. She fondly remembers buying her daughter her first set of jazz shoes and stage teeth at age eight, and tries to bond with her granddaughters by taking them to a beauty salon and having them decked out like they were going to be on Toddlers & Tiaras. However, it’s zig-zagged, as Barbara is shown to truly love and want to be there for her motherless grandchildren, even agreeing to Douglas’s terms of staying with them.
  • In an episode of Small Wonder, Ted and Joan pretend to be a pair of stage parents in an attempt to get Vicki removed from a cereal commercial after they learn that the product is comprised mostly of unpronounceable additives.
  • An episode of Southland has a woman shoot her son's middle school football coach (in front of some cops, no less) for keeping her boy on the bench.
  • A sketch of So Random! has an alumni cheerleader (twice original champion, not that she’s bragging) drag her less-than-cheerful daughter to try out for the current squad. She ends up taking over the audition and performing herself while her daughter’s in the middle of a cheer, finishing it for her. When the cheer captain gives the thumbs down, the mom consoles her daughter...then pushes her away and asks the captain, “When do we start?”
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody has a minor character in an episode with a child Beauty Contest. One of the girls refuses to participate and walks out of the contest, insisting she wants to go to science camp instead. Her stage mother shrieks "where did I go wrong?" - and Cody ends up pretending to be this girl to get to know another contestant.
  • Daniel Tosh has mocked stage parents who let their children appear in dubious bits on Tosh.0.
  • Bravo aired a reality show called Show Business Moms & Dads that was built on this trope.
  • Victorious: Wing Lee, the owner of a Chinese later Sushi restaurant, is one of these. When Jade needs money to fund her play, she offers the money on the condition that her daughter gets a part in the play.

  • "[Antichrist Television Blues]" by Arcade Fire concerns a father pushing his daughter into the limelight so that he doesn't have to "work in a building downtown."
  • Noël Coward's "(Don't Put Your Daughter On The Stage,) Mrs. Worthington" is addressed to a stage mother whose aspirations are greater than her daughter's potential.
  • "Perfect" by Alanis Morissette is a satire of this trope.
  • "Talent is an Asset" by Sparks plays Albert Einstein's mother as a stage mom.
  • The video for Vertical Horizon’s “You’re a God” has a downplayed example of this: the Stage Mom is not pushy herself, as she has been reduced to perpetually managing her pageant queen daughter’s continual (and increasingly aggressive) outbursts.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In wrestling, this happens quite often between wrestling promoters and their sons. Promoters really wanted men who would be loyal to them, and no one would be more loyal than family. The most notorious wrestling stage dad was Fritz Von Erich, who outlived all but one of his six sons.
  • WWE's Jack Swagger had a Gimmick of an overachieving child with a Stage Dad, now all grown up and determined to find the same success in wrestling. In order to completely cement him as a Dirty Coward, Swagger ran away while Kane beat up his father — and then justified it by saying he felt vindicated for his father being an overbearing Stage Dad.
  • WCW put Buff Bagwell's mother Judy on television mostly because she regularly called WCW executives to agitate on her son's behalf.

  • A proto-example in Shakespeare's Coriolanus, of all things: Coriolanus's mother Volumnia pushed her child son into military service so he could accrue honor and fame in the eyes of Rome. It worked a little too well.
  • In Gypsy, Mama Rose obsessively worked her two daughters into her vaudeville acts, highlighting Baby June, who ended up running away and eloping, and downplaying Louise, who ended up becoming more successful than her sister and becoming Gypsy Rose Lee. Mama Rose went as far as to have multiple 10th birthday parties to try to trick her daughters into thinking they were indefinitely 10 years old so she could continue to milk them for all they were worth. The worst part? She was a real person.
  • Mrs. Walker from Once in a Lifetime has elements of this, even though she causes relatively little harm in the course of her championing her daughter Susan.
  • The Phantom of the Opera: Madame Giry becomes one for Meg in Love Never Dies, and resents that the Phantom doesn't appreciate all they've done to help him attain success in America, including whoring Meg out to other men.

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Quest V: Queen Dowager can't rule herself, so she pushes her son towards the throne despite his own wishes, and doesn't care who she tramples on it to make it happen.
  • In Fire Emblem Fates, Subaki's parents wanted him to be a good retainer for the Hoshidan Royal Family, which is okay. What's not okay is them pressuring their son to be perfect in everything he did, causing him to be a Broken Ace who is seen as pretty much the perfect fighter and retainer, but is actually a Stepford Smiler who is terrified of messing up in anything.
  • Kotoko Utsugi's mother from Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls was a stage mom who made frequent use of the Casting Couch to get her daughter roles. It didn't matter one bit to her whether the couch's owner wanted her, her underage and very much unwilling daughter, or even both of them together. Anything to get her daughter a role. Kotoko was of course horribly traumatized by the experience, but hey, at least she's a really good actress now!
  • In Grand Theft Auto V, an actress Franklin meets in the mission "Deep Inside" says that her parents forced her to model for Little Lacy Surprise when she was three, a company that sells lingerie for children. In the previous game merely accessing their website instantly gave the player a max wanted level.
  • Yinu's boss trailer for No Straight Roads has her giant monster of a mom join the fray in the second phase. Note the fact that she's using marionette strings to lift Yinu and her piano up out of your reach. In the game proper, you never actually attack Yinu; her mother comes out to defend her as soon as you reach her piano, and all your attacks are aimed squarely at her. It's worth noting that Yinu seems to genuinely enjoy playing the piano, and once she has the chance to calm down, her mother quietly joins her for a duet. Also, she's the one in the right here - the main characters have arrived with the express purpose of ruining Yinu's concert because it's not music they like.
  • Hifumi Togo from Persona 5 has one, but not for her shogi. Instead, Hifumi's mother wants her to be a gravure idol and get the most out of her youth when she could not. It's also because Hifumi's father played shogi to the point that he became extremely ill, and her mother doesn't want her to suffer the same fate, in spite of Hifumi's wishes. It's reached the point that Hifumi's mom has begun rigging Hifumi's matches behind her back, with the intention of having Hifumi suffer a major defeat that forces her to quit playing and become a full-time idol. This has caused Hifumi to gain a lot of resentment from other shogi players, which puzzles her before she finds out about the rigging. Her Mementos mission name references this trope by name.
  • Gloria's mother from Psychonauts abandoned her at Hagatha's Home for Girls for years to focus on her own career, then grew jealous when Gloria's eventual career far eclipsed her own, eventually killing herself in despair.
  • Ridgeside Village: The bachelorette, Ysabelle, reveals that she used to be a Child Prodigy ballerina, but her parents pressured her a lot with her dancing, which eventually caused a breakdown on her, which made her to run away from her parents and swear off from dancing.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Shinichi Nomiya is not a parent to anyone's knowledge, but he has this attitude toward Rin Tezuka, the star member of his art club. On Rin's route, he seems to realize that he's nowhere near her or for that matter, Sae's dead husband's level of skill, which he says contributed to his decision to become an art teacher. As a result of seeing Rin's talent, he pushes her to work harder and put her paintings on exhibit, even though she doesn't want to. When she ultimately runs away from the exhibit, Nomiya goes berserk; when Rin comes to him to apologize, he declares that Rin does not have what it takes to be an artist.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Morgan Fey's power as a channeller is so weak, she was passed over to become head of the Fey family in favor of her younger sister Misty, who was a much stronger medium. This means that her niece Maya is now technically head of the family, and calls all the shots. So naturally, the sanest course of action is to frame Maya for murder so that her eight-year-old daughter Pearl, whom Maya declares to be the greatest channeling prodigy the family has yet seen, becomes the head of the clan, thus giving Morgan de facto control for at least the next decade. Only a series of risky gambits from Misty stops this, but it concludes also with Misty's own death.
  • In Shining Song Starnova, Aki’s mother Yumiko has been pushing her daughter to become a successful Idol Singer since she was ten, purely to make herself rich, and doesn’t care what Aki needs to do to reach that point. When a fourteen-year-old Aki came home crying one day because her producer had tried to molest her, Yumiko got angry at Aki for jeopardizing her career, demanded that she go back and apologize, and beat her when she refused to do so.
  • In True Love Junai Monogatari, Ryouko's Shimazaki's brother and guardian Tadaki is essentially a Stage Dad who doubles as her manager. It seems to work, as she's the famous Idol Singer Sonoko Takahashi. She explains to the protagonist that he sacrificed almost everything in life so that she could be successful, but he's also extremely demanding and has staged more than one risky Batman Gambit to try to further her career. If the player wants the protagonist to romance this young lady, the conflict must be resolved in her favor.


    Web Animation 
  • Manga Soprano: Akie from 'Because I was visually impaired,My mother said "You're a child I don't want."' [sic] plans to profit off of her blind daughter Sae's artistic career upon finding out she became famous. This is after she abandoned Sae for surviving being pushed in front of a car with only her eyesight lost. Thankfully, Sae herself foiled her plans by drawing one more painting for her art exhibition that exposed her mother's true colors, causing the abusive hag to be arrested.

    Web Original 
  • In Worm, Bambina is a child supervillain whose popularity is managed and leveraged by her mother to make money via illicit sponsors.

    Western Animation 
  • All Hail King Julien features the large Tammy and her son Todd. She has him so well-trained that she essentially commands him to perform like a machine.
    Tammy: Get back out there or I will put you up for adoption!!
    Julien: What?
    Tammy: Oh, it's how I motivate Todd!
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Gene It On", Linda is shown to have shades of this when Gene becomes a member of the cheerleading team at school, and Linda attempts to use this as an opportunity to live out her own dreams of being a cheerleader back in high school. It doesn't go as far as this trope usually takes it, as Gene quickly puts his foot down and confronts her that her ideas are terrible and she isn't a cheerleader now either. Unsurprisingly, Linda does not take this well.
  • BoJack Horseman:
    • Sarah Lynn's mother had extreme shades of this. At one point, Sarah Lynn asks BoJack where he went to college, a question he doesn't mind her asking, but her mother quickly tells her that college is essentially for losers with no talent. When she expresses a follow-up desire to be an architect, her mother tells her "Mommy didn't do what she did to that Star Search producer for you to be an architect." A callback is made to this multiple times in 3x11, "That's Too Much, Man!" She not only begins talking about architecture but also expresses her feelings on child acting, revealing she hated it:
    Sarah Lynn: Y'know, it's amazing that it's legal for kids to be actors. How is that not child labor? I didn't know what I was signing up for. I was three.
    • Comes back later when Sarah Lynn's death becomes a major plot point in the final season, where her mother sues Bojack over the emotional damage once it gets public, wins the case, and once again tries to stay in the spotlight. The latter part is mostly in the background, but it all plays into Bojack's downward spiral from that point on.
    • One of BoJack's more unpleasant memories of his already abusive mother, Beatrice, was when she would push him to perform "The Lollipop Song" for her supper club.
      BoJack: But I don't feel like singing!
      Beatrice: Nobody gives a damn about what you feel! Now, do you want your mommy to love you? Then you get out there and do the only thing you're good for, and that is singing the God-damned Lollipop Song!
  • Celebrity Deathmatch:
    • In the fight between Missy Elliott and Beyoncé, the main joke running throughout the episode concerns Matthew Knowles' controlling Stage Dad tendencies towards his daughter Beyoncé, culminating in The Reveal that he was using a Mind-Control Device to literally control her every move. When Missy finds out, she steals the device and forces Beyoncé to humiliate herself and then bring her the mystery weapon that was hanging in a box over the arena.
    • The fight between Lindsay Lohan and Hilary Duff has Lindsay's mother Dina Lohan as a guest commentator who constantly excuses her daughter's misbehavior, and attacks the show's commentary team when they criticize Lindsay.
  • One episode of Chaotic featured a father and son who had both won the codes to transfer to Perim. Rather than focus on his own game, the father became one of these with regard to his son, constantly coaching the boy in his games and actually managing to get on even Klay's nerves. Ultimately Major Tom, challenging the father, managed to remind the older player how much fun it was to actually play the game rather than just coach.
  • Beebee Bluff's mother on Doug was a stage mother for one episode, but in the end, Beebee was able to call her out on it and her mother quickly saw the error of her ways.
  • Ma Beagle in one episode of Ducktales 1987, when the Beagle Boys turn out to be a surprisingly popular musical group. She forces them to dress and behave in certain ways, writes all their songs, and generally keeps them busy with recording sessions and public appearances. Though one could argue that she's just being a manager, and it's the Boys' own laziness that makes it a problem. One could also argue that she's generally a Stage Mom in a less literal sense, controlling her sons and forcing them into a life of crime to both support her financially and satisfy her own ego (the same episode has her ultimately destroying their career out of a combination of anger over being fired and shame when the other criminal mothers realize that her boys have *gasp* gone legit).
  • Family Guy:
    • In the aptly named episode "Brian's A Bad Father", Brian becomes one when he meets up with his son Dylan Flannigan and discovers his television connections. He then exploits these (and Dylan's kind nature) to improve his failing writing career in the TV business. He's found out and disowned by the end of the episode, leading him to be kicked off the writing board. Brian and Dylan do reconcile by the end of the episode.
    • Olivia's mother provides the current page quote, complete with Suspiciously Specific Denial and Lampshade Hanging for good measure.
    • In "The Peanut Butter Kid", Stewie lands a part in a commercial. He soon lands more commercial parts and his parents let it go to their heads. They buy luxury goods they don't need and work Stewie to exhaustion. Peter even gives Stewie an energy drink that includes cocaine. Brian plays the voice of reason this time and tries to convince Peter and Lois that they are ruining Stewie's life, to no avail. He convinces Stewie that the life of a child actor is a thankless and brutal one that often leads to a bad end later in life, pointing out former child stars who either ended up in porn or died unpleasant deaths. In the end, Brian and Stewie convince Peter and Lois to stop being stage parents by having Stewie pretend to have a total meltdown during his next commercial shoot.
  • Get Ace: Tina's flamboyant father Frederick DeVeer. He gets his daughter all sorts of performance gigs, such as the lead in an opera even though she can't sing. Frederick pushes her to take any star-making opportunity available even if she doesn't want it, not that Tina is shy of the spotlight.
    Frederick: ...and this will be my greatest triumph.
    Tina: Ugh!
    Frederick: Your triumph, darling, your triumph.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "My Fair Mandy", Grim is disgusted by how tarted up the other contestants are – elementary schoolers, mind you – and asks, "What kind of sad, needy person would force them to do that?"
    Mom 1: Don't forget, this is mommy's big day!
    Mom 2: The bigger you smile, the more beautiful mommy looks!
    Mom 3: Baby, it's time to earn mommy's love.
  • Hey Arnold!: Helga's parents regularly neglect Helga's needs and shower her sister Olga with attention — except they become stage parents, and Olga has become a neurotic Nervous Wreck who thinks Helga has it easier, because while her parents ignore her and it sucks, it's still better than having them obsess over her every move.
  • Littlest Pet Shop (2012): In the episode "Terriers and Tiaras," Blythe briefly becomes a stage mom when she enters Zoe in a dog show.
  • Pound Puppies (2010): The Kid of the Week is Amy, a child star who plays a Bratty Half-Pint opposite Dog of the Week Pooches on a popular sitcom. Onscreen, she is the dog’s Arch-Enemy, when in reality, Amy is really sweet and kind, and genuinely loves Pooches. It’s her father who is self-absorbed, barely allowing her free time and even valuing her career over her studies and personal desires. In the end, the dark and brooding producer of the show scares him into allowing Amy more freedom.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer has shown some elements of being a Stage Dad, but more for Lisa than for Bart. The biggest example is "A Star is Torn", where he manages Lisa in a talent contest and bullies everyone behind the scenes to help her win. But in his first such appearance, he subverted the trope when he signed her up for a beauty pageant, not for his personal glory but because Lisa was feeling insecure about her looks and he thought it would help her self-esteem. (And it worked!)
    • In "Radioactive Man", Milhouse's parents become stage parents when he gets the part of Fallout Boy. They immediately take advantage of Milhouse's newfound fame and wealth and start stocking up on luxury items. Milhouse is much less enthusiastic about his role.
      Luanne: I'm sorry, I can't hear you, son! Your mother is wearing a Jacuzzi suit!
    • Referenced in "The Last Tap Dance in Springfield", where Lisa's tap dance instructor is very blunt with her lack of talent and tells Marge not to live out her dreams through her child.
    • In "Smoke on the Daughter", where Marge has Lisa enroll in a ballet class to make her live out Marge's own failed dream of becoming a ballet dancer. This is particularly lampshaded when Marge describes her vision of "seeing her little Margie dance", much to Lisa's annoyance.
    • Briefly invoked in a flashback scene where a young Homer has an angelic singing voice in the church youth choir, and Abe thinks of how his son's singing could make him millions. Then Homer's voice breaks mid-song, nipping that right in the bud.
  • The South Park episode "Dead Celebrities" has the kids take Ikenote  to a child beauty pageant where all the parents are like this. When Ike wins, the other parents' reactions range from crying fits to physically abusing their children for not winning.
  • In Steven Universe, it's revealed that Sadie's mother Barb does this every single time Sadie expresses the slightest interest in sports or the performing arts. Played with in that Barb genuinely does love her daughter, but has a bad habit of "taking over everything" and pushing Sadie to do more than she's comfortable with, rather than letting Sadie do it her way. The worst part is that Barb genuinely didn't realize she was actually doing anything wrong until Sadie finally called her out on it.
    Barb: I just wanted everyone to see how talented my daughter is!
    Sadie: This isn't your daughter!
  • Total Drama: Priya's parents are revealed to have been training her for a possible reboot of the show literally since birth (as in, they gave birth over a cliff so Priya could get her first taste of bungee jumping that way) and actively discourage her real dreams of becoming a doctor in favor of her doing the reality show circuit.
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo?: Susan Dinwittie is a stage parent for her Former Child Star kids, Andrew and Mandy, to the point where she secretly becomes a master in robotics so she can control the Mystery Machine remotely and buy it back cheap from the gang because it used to belong to the band. She also neglects her third child, The Un-Favourite genius whose work she was only interested in so that she could exploit it. In the end, Andrew and Mandy agreed that their mom had gone way too far, declared they'd never work in show business again, and walked off with their brother.

Real Life examples:

    Acting & Modeling 
  • Minnie Marx, mother of the Marx Brothers, was a rare positive example; it was mainly her hard work that got them recognition in vaudeville before their breakthrough. It helps that her sons were already adults by this point and that her role was more stepping in to manage and improve their act after several of them had already started to go that way on their own, rather than something she decided for them or pushed on them in childhood.
  • Natalie Wood, who starred in the film version of Gypsy, had plenty of real-life preparation for the role due to her own mother Maria. Natasha, the biography by Suzanne Finstad, reveals some shocking details: for example, Maria would take a live butterfly and tear its wings off in front of young Natalie in order to make the child cry before scenes that called for it. It parallels a scene from Gypsy that also happened in Real Life, where Rose made June cry by telling her that their dog died.
  • Jean Harlow was pushed into acting by her mother, who had wanted to be an actress herself but was deemed too old at 34. She only went to castings because of a bet with a friend and actually turned down several parts. Mama Jean (as she was known) pushed her to accept many of her initial roles, hoping to live vicariously through her daughter. Of course, at this point, her daughter was seventeen and didn't become a star until she was an adult.
  • William Shatner's Star Trek Memories claimed that the wife of Jeffrey Hunter (who played Christopher Pike in the unaired pilot "The Cage") insisted that he be shot from certain angles, among other techniques, in order to make him look good. Eventually, Desilu Studios couldn't handle this and stopped using the actor.
  • In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Sulu (George Takei) was meant to have a chance encounter, while walking around 20th-century San Francisco, with a kid who would turn out to be his ancestor. Unfortunately, the kid who was to play the part had what Shatner described (in Star Trek Movie Memories) as "the most over-the-top stage mom" he had ever encountered, and she ended up making her kid so stressed out that she made it effectively impossible to actually film the scenes.
  • Macaulay Culkin's father and manager, Kit Culkin, has been described as a "stage dad". Macaulay was pushed into The Good Son because Kit repeatedly threatened to withdraw him from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. The first director of The Good Son ended up quitting the project to avoid Kit's meddling. Eventually, other movie studios stopped casting Macaulay precisely because they did not want to deal with his father. After working on multiple films with no break and then facing the consequences of having a pushy manager, Macaulay retired from acting at the age of fourteen, cut ties with his father, and has only made occasional screen appearances since. Home Alone producer Chris Columbus found Kit so difficult that, when casting for the Harry Potter movies, he interviewed not only the child actors but also their parents and contacted their previous projects' studios to rule out the stage parents. He even provided a lounge on set for the parents to relax (read: stay out of the way).
  • Judy Garland's mother was a stage mom in addition to being an Abusive Parent. According to Barry Norman's book The Hollywood Greats, Judy's mother would punish her by locking her in the closet. And she later suggested that the studio officials do the same if she was acting up. Her father was something of an aversion, as Judy often appealed to him when her mother was getting unbearable (when he died, Judy was quoted as saying "Now there's no one on my side").
  • Dina and Michael Lohan, parents of Lindsay Lohan, are exemplars of the self-serving side of this trope. Dina took Lindsay to nightclubs and let her drink when she was underage, then used her daughter's personal troubles to launch her own career in entertainment, getting herself a reality show on E!. Then, she pushed her younger daughter Ali to enter showbiz as well, causing many people to fear that Ali would end up with the same issues as Lindsay. Michael, meanwhile, blabs about Lindsay to the media every chance he gets and went on Celebrity Rehab for seemingly no reason other than to get attention and talk about her.
  • In a blog post on SMBC Theater, JP talked about how unnerved he was when he was talking about the show with some others in a diner, and a ten-year-old girl came up to them and told them that her mother told her to tell them that she's an actress. It showcased everything wrong with the trope: mother being pushy and forcing her kid to talk to total strangers, kid doing it only because her mother told her to, mother interested in her kid performing in something that's very much not for kids (to the point that in most sketches, child characters are played by kneeling adults).
  • Drew Barrymore's mother Jaid could be blamed in large part for her daughter's drug and alcohol problems at such a young age. Jaid regularly took young Drew to such adult hangouts as Studio 54 and the China Club. Years later, sometime after Drew posed for Playboy, Jaid decided that she wanted to pose nude too!
  • Hilary Duff's parents are said to be the reason why the Lizzie McGuire franchise was canceled after The Movie. They demanded Hilary be paid a fee of $500,000 that she was told she'd get if the movie grossed over $50 million. Lest you think this was Disney being unreasonable, they were offering Hilary $4 million to star in a second film - of which she would also get 25% of the profits. Her mother insisted the $500,000 also be paid out of the principle of the thing, so the offer was withdrawn completely.
  • More than one similar accusation has been leveled at Billy Ray Cyrus (Miley Cyrus' father and co-star) in regards to the Hannah Montana franchise. Billy Ray says it's the other way round: the executives were the ones abusing and restraining Miley. Then again, he's also blamed atheists for the same thing. Billy Ray might just be cuckoo.
  • Thora Birch's father Jack Birch, a former porn star, has meddled in his daughter's affairs enough that he's caused a hit to her reputation. He reportedly showed up on set during production of the 2007 film Horrified and watched over his daughter while she performed a simulated sex scene with Dean Winters, then in 2010 he reportedly stayed in her dressing room at a stage adaptation of Dracula and tried to micromanage the production. This ended up getting her fired from the play. Thora was also fired from a biopic about the Manson Family girls, and the director specifically blamed her father's interference. Equally distressing, Thora doesn't appear fazed by her dad's behavior, nor is she upset that he has cost her work. After she was fired from Dracula, she said, "My dad is my support, and he is the best support that I ever could have."
  • Charlotte Shelby was the mother of silent film actresses Margaret Shelby and Mary Miles Minter. All three of them were tangled in bitter disputes throughout much of their lives over how domineering and manipulative Charlotte was with their careers and their earnings … oh, and there’s also that slight detail of being accused by her own daughter of murdering a Hollywood director!note 
  • Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have been accused of pushing their children into showbiz at too early an age. Willow, their daughter, would later reveal in an interview that she was cutting herself and that Jada was previously not aware of it. Willow also took time off from touring because she "just wanted to be twelve again".
  • This is part of the reason Galactica 1980 did so poorly. Because it was aired during a time-slot that was considered "child-friendly", ABC's Standards and Practices demanded that the show include more children. This, of course, brought a large influx of pushy stage moms, "all of whom ought to be locked up," according to story editor Allan Cole.
  • Chrisoula Workman, mother of Ariel Winter, was a bad enough stage mom that the state revoked her custody over Ariel and put her under the care of her adult sister, the also actress Shanelle Gray.
  • Teri Shields, the mother of Brooke Shields, used to happily admit to being a stage mom. She also didn't seem that bothered by Brooke's nude scenes in Pretty Baby, which were done when Brooke was twelve. And to make matters worse, just two years prior she arranged for her ten-year-old daughter to pose for Playboy, oiled up, nude, and caked in makeup. She was such an extreme and grotesque example of this trope that even the normally affectionate SCTV brutally eviscerated her antics in a sketch.
  • The documentary Life After Tomorrow chronicles the lives of the women who played orphans in Annie. A full segment was devoted to talking about the stage moms (and one stage dad); though not all were as horrible as the trope described, some were, and usually her daughter would not continue acting because of it.
  • Averted with Mara Wilson's parents, who reminded her that her education was more important than being in movies. As a result, she is remarkably more level-headed than other child stars and even wrote an entire article on Cracked about the crash-and-burn of child stars. She recalls working on a shoot with a child actor who was financially supporting his entire family through performing.
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer fired Margaret O'Brien in 1949 after one too many nasty encounters with her mother. O'Brien was Walt Disney's first choice for the role of Alice in his film adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, and was hired and fired just as quickly when Disney found himself dealing with her mother.
  • Walt Disney wanted to avoid this trope when casting for The Mickey Mouse Club. He looked around mostly for amateur kids of a certain degree of talent rather than professional actors, and he kept the mothers (who according to labor laws had to be around) offset by setting up a room where they could relax, chat, knit, or read.
  • Corey Feldman's parents forced him to act at age 3; they'd often lock him in his room to make him recite lines and songs until he memorized them. He was also the sole breadwinner of the family for a while and they'd tell him if he didn't get a gig they wouldn't eat that night. His mother would force him to take diet pills and dye his hair and his father would only really connect with him when they got high together, and they also never told him that they loved him.
  • Taylor Momsen said she was pushed into modeling and acting when she was only two years old. As such, she got burnt out by the time she was 17, and quit altogether - while Gossip Girl was still airing. She has focused exclusively on her music in The Pretty Reckless since then.
  • interviewed a "child wrangler" (basically the person who keeps an eye on the children on sets) and she revealed that the majority of parents will go out of their way to avert this. One woman even carried around a copy of Natalie Wood's biography to remind her what not to become. But that isn't to say that stage parents don't really exist anymore. The child wrangler has a specific story of one woman who caused her child to choke by pressuring her too much and later yelled at her to get the line right or else they'll be back in poverty. The nicest thing said about the mom was that she took her daughter being dropped from the part much more graciously than expected, instead of throwing a tantrum like other stage parents.
  • Peruvian model and TV presenter Mónica Santa María is a tragic example of that. Her father didn't want her to become a model, but her mother pushed her daughter into modelling at age seven. Later, at age 17, she became one of the presenters of children's show Nubeluz, which was not only popular in her native country but also in Hispanic America note , but left the show in March 1993, only to return six months later. She had a type of bipolar disorder that led to her suicide at the tender age of 21.
  • Gary Coleman was a pretty sad example. In addition to his adoptive parents having him work long hours on the set of Diff'rent Strokes even beyond the child labor law limits and through his persistent illness due to his failing kidneys, they also misappropriated his earnings from the show, which resulted in him suing them and severing ties with them for the remainder of his life.
  • Leighton Meester started acting at a young age and found herself financially supporting herself and her mother Constance through modelling gigs (she was ten at this point). Even after Leighton made it big by starring as Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl, she continued to financially support her mother. At one point she was sending $7500 a month under the belief the money was for her brother - only to discover Constance spending it on things like cosmetic surgery (bear in mind the money was supposed to go towards her brother's medical care after he'd had brain surgery). When Leighton finally cut her off (at the age of twenty-five no less), Constance attempted to sue her for violating an "oral contract" that her daughter had to pay her $10,000 a month. Unsurprisingly, the judge ruled in Leighton's favour. Constance then attempted to sue her daughter for an alleged assault that happened during an argument but dropped it pretty soon. In true Stage Mom fashion, she claimed that the $10,000 was for "sacrificing her own happiness" in order to facilitate Leighton's acting in their early days.
  • It's a common practice in the acting and modeling industries for some agencies to offer "open days", which are basically turning up to pay a fee to be on the agency's books for a year - and these are often frequented by stage parents eager to get their children into show business. FYI - an agency should never charge a client to be on the books, as the agreement is always to take a percentage of the fee from a job the agent secures. That doesn't stop scam artists from trying, and stage parents who are unlikely to do the research are the most susceptible to it.
  • Downplayed by Melissa Joan Hart's mother Paula, who acted as her manager from the age of four. While she did push her remaining children into acting as well, none of them stuck with it once they got older (save Emily Hart getting to voice the lead in Sabrina: The Animated Series). However, getting into acting was Melissa's own choice, and she attributes it to being lucky that they were in New York rather than LA since she went into theatre and commercials. Paula also protected her daughter on the set of Clarissa Explains It All, when producers wanted to make her wear more make-up and pluck her eyebrows. While she didn't want Melissa to move onto adult roles after the sitcom ended, this was apparently more of a business move to capitalize on the young fan base that would have watched it. That seemed to pay off - as her next sitcom was Sabrina the Teenage Witch. They have remained business partners well into Melissa's forties.
  • An early child movie star, Jackie Coogan, lost almost all the money he made through his parents' mismanagement. This led to the enactment of the Coogan Act in 1939, the first law designed to ensure that a parent can't siphon off the money their minor child makes as a performer.
  • Jennette McCurdy of iCarly fame was pushed into acting by her mother Debra when she was six and was the main breadwinner in her family by the time she was 11. She wound up becoming bulimic due to pressure from Debra and others in her life. Jennette would later publicly open up about her time as a child actor, saying that she was "ashamed of 90% of her resume and ultimately unfulfilled" by her life in the spotlight, feeling that the whole thing in hindsight had been her mother's attempt to become vicariously famous through her. (That said, she did become close friends with her iCarly co-star Miranda Cosgrove and credits her with helping her recover from her mother's stage parenting.) Debra died in 2013, and Jennette retired from acting four years later to concentrate on writing and directing. In 2022, she wrote an autobiographical book with a self-explanatory title that let everybody know exactly what she thought of her late mother: I'm Glad My Mom Died.
  • Judd Apatow cited this trope as the reason why he cast his children in Knocked Up and This Is 40 rather than use professional child actors. He himself is an aversion, as his daughters Maude and Iris were only allowed to act in his movies, where he and his wife Leslie Mann could keep their eyes on them until they became adults because he wanted them to have relatively normal childhoods.
  • Pamelyn Ferdin was a child star of the 1960s and '70s, best known for The Beguiled, Lassie, The Paul Lynde Show, and voice acting in Charlotte's Web and the Peanuts cartoons. She was pushed into acting by her mother and wanted to quit by the time she was in her teens, but was forced to continue. She took a part in the 1972 Slasher Movie The Toolbox Murders in the hopes it would be a Star-Derailing Role for her. It wasn't, but she was now eighteen and refused to do it again. She has done occasional voice acting and presenting by her own choice.
  • Wil Wheaton had particularly abusive stage parents who pushed him into being an actor when he was only seven - his mother actually brought him along to an audition she was doing as a scene partner. He would frequently beg "I just want to be a kid", but his mother would frequently lie that it was all his idea. After he made it big with Stand by Me, they pushed him into doing the horror film The Curse because he was being offered $100,000 for it. He didn't want to do the film, knowing the script was terrible, but his parents resorted to Gaslighting by saying he wasn't getting any other offers and also bribing him with a trip to Rome (as well as emotional blackmail since producers were offering to cast his sister Amy in a role too). During the production, he and Amy were overworked against child labor laws, doing at least twelve-hour days and their safety was put at risk multiple times - to their parents' indifference. The parents also predictably spent most of the $100,000 on themselves. Despite him admitting he was suicidal in his teen years, they continue to be unapologetic about it. Today, he regards his Star Trek: The Next Generation costars as his real family, especially Gates McFadden, who was his onscreen mother.
  • Felissa Rose of Sleepaway Camp fame describes her mother Joan as a positive example. She acted as her daughter's manager and made sure she was protected and taken care of on sets. The ending for Sleepaway Camp where Angela is revealed to actually be a boy called for Felissa to wear a prosthetic penis, which Joan immediately told the filmmakers would not happen. She also made sure that Felissa wouldn't have to perform any of the murder scenes herself, getting Jonathan Tiersten to double for those scenes, which had the benefit of hiding the twist that Angela is the killer. Joan also acted as a mother on set to all the child actors, all of whom talk positively about the experience.
  • According to Michael Kentworthy, fellow child actor Douglas Emerson — who played his character's best friend in The Blob (1988) — had a pretty typical example of this trope who was always pestering director Chuck Russell to give her son more screen time. One has to wonder how she reacted to her son's character getting killed off by the titular monster. Emerson himself would hit his peak with a major role in Beverly Hills, 90210 before retiring from acting altogether and eventually joining the US Air Force.

  • Britney Spears' mother Lynne pushed her and her sister Jamie Lynn to become stars, beginning with pushing Britney into The Mickey Mouse Club (alongside Justin Timberlake, oddly enough) and following her music success in the late 90s, pushing her younger daughter Jamie Lynn down the same path, with the moniker of "Britney's younger sister" making it even easier going. It ended poorly for both of them. Britney went through several whirlwind romances in the early 2000s, including with former backup dancer and singer in his own right Kevin Federline, with whom she had two children. After their divorce, she more or less fell apart, going through several stints at a drug rehab facility, going party hopping for days at a time, shaving her own head, blowing through a truly insane amount of money on impulse buying and bad business ventures, and adopting a fake British accent. It got to the point where she lost custody of her two children and was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility, eventually being placed in a conservatorship with her father and attorney being given control of her finances and other life decisions. She recovered over time and recovered much of her former fame, but has never again reached her stratospheric heights, which is probably for the best. Her sister Jamie Lynn was not nearly as omnipresent, but had starring roles in All That and Zoey 101, the latter of which was Nickelodeon's flagship teen drama series. She then became pregnant at 16 a few months after Zoey 101's last season finished production, resulting in a minor uproar that put the kibosh on any more. She's since only had a handful of television and music releases.
    • It would take well over a decade before the subject of Britney's continuing conservatorship became a point of contention. Originally meant to be a legal means to protect her from her own self-destructive decisions involving drugs, squandered money, and scandal, it continued for years after Britney had gotten herself clean and back into a responsible, structured lifestyle. It wasn't until 2021 that details of the conservatorship began to come to light, with Britney's conservators, her father in particular, being shown to have invasive control over her, including being able to mandate that she be equipped with a birth control device, dictate her performance schedule and details, and mandate medications, all in the name of her health and well-being. Much fuss has been made of her father's own self-dealing from the arrangement, being allowed to pay himself a salary for his services out of his daughter's money and charging expenses to her for other seemingly unrelated items, including fees for public relations work meant to counteract the perception that he was profiting from his guardianship. The arrangement's slide from well-meaning control into arguable abuse and near-captivity became the subject of the documentary Framing Britney Spears and sparked the #FreeBritney movement.
    • In 2021, Britney spoke before a court to request an end to the conservatorship that gives her father so much control. She confirmed what a bunch of people suspected: he's used the setup to have total control of her life, both personal and professional. In one horrifying instance, he had her doctors give her doses of lithium because she dared object to a piece of choreography for an upcoming performance. He also got to dictate when she could see her friends or boyfriend (bear in mind, she was, by this point, nearly forty years old, as well as a mother), or when she was allowed to spend the money she earned. A large part of her argument before the court was that her father allegedly got the conservatorship because she's supposedly incapable of caring for herself... but she is capable of going on tour, performing, and making a ton of money for him to spend (a conservatorship attorney interviewed for Britney vs Spears said that the common feature of everyone he's ever represented is that they've never had jobs). Later that year, the conservatorship was finally put to an end, giving Britney control over her own finances and life again.
  • Joe Simpson, father of Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, meddled hugely in their careers. Jessica's ex-husband Nick Lachey has strongly implied that her dad's meddling was a major factor in the breakdown of their marriage. It's telling that once Joe decided to step down from managing his daughters that both Jessica and Ashlee stepped back from the music industry almost entirely.
  • Joe Jackson, patriarch of The Jackson 5, really, really didn't want his kids to become criminals on the streets of Gary, Indiana. He probably could have found a better way to do this, though, than forcing them into performing. His children have said they suffered hours upon hours of incessant rehearsals after school and on weekends, would be physically abused if they made mistakes, and were strongly discouraged from showing any interest in activities or hobbies removed from the family business.
    • Michael Jackson, one of the youngest (and by far the most successful), had it particularly hard. He indicated that he basically never had a childhood because he spent all of it performing, and that this was a big factor in his turning his home into a private amusement park once he became a star and had enough money to do so. His attempts at recapturing his lost childhood by inviting children over for slumber parties and whatnot got him saddled with child molestation accusations that hounded him for the rest of his life. Even after Michael passed away, Joe did an interview days afterward to pitch a record label project he was involved with, with his words of condolence being colored as the Jackson family losing its biggest star rather than a father having lost his son.
    • Averting this trope was key to Janet Jackson's success. Like her brothers, she was initially managed by Joe, but her first two albums flopped because the public had written her off as just another Jackson riding Michael's coattails (and not even the first girl). But because she was 18 when her second album came out, she was free to control her career as she wished, so she fired Joe as her manager and hired a new one through her record label. He introduced her to the production duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, best known for their work with Prince. They required she move to their hometown of Minneapolis during the production of her third album specifically to keep Joe out of the creative process. Their efforts paid off as Control was the album that made Janet a superstar in her own right.
  • The Beach Boys suffered through years of dreadful stage-fathering. Murry Wilson, father of Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, was a mildly successful songwriter/producer. For their first few years, he acted as the group's manager, producer, and publisher. Among other questionable practices and decisions, he allegedly whacked Brian in the head with a 2x4, causing hearing damage. A 30-minute-long tape taken from the recording sessions for "Help Me, Rhonda" has long circulated among fans. In it, Murry (who'd already been fired as the group's manager, but was invited to the session as a fence-mending gesture by Brian) freely admits to being drunk, gives the band confusing instructions on their vocal harmonies, berates Brian for being a perfectionist, and generally exhibits an It's All About Me attitude that leads the famously-polite Brian to lose it and finally start screaming at his dad.
  • Luis Gallego Sánchez, aka Luisito Rey, was a Mexican singer whose career was starting to decline when he noticed that his oldest son, Luis Miguel, was a Child Prodigy who could become greater than he ever was. From an early age, he controlled "Luismi" and his career and was allegedly physically and psychologically abusive. By the late '80s, when Luismi was old enough to do so, he told off his dad and fired him. Luisito Rey became so depressed that he died in 1992.
  • The Shaggs, a band comprised of three sisters, came into existence because their father believed a prophecy that they would form a popular music group. As soon as they were old enough, he pulled them out of school and bought them instruments and lessons, and forced them into gigs and the studio from 1968 until his death in 1975. Despite his efforts, the band would go down in history as legendarily So Bad, It's Good.
  • Pop girl group Destinee & Paris' mother is like this. The main reason they became Destinee & Paris was that their mother suffocated the previous members of their rock band (Ariel and then Sarah, who lasted less than half a year as the Clique Girlz) and they were forced into it after all the bad publicity (Ariel went on to name her next band NMD — No More Drama — as a Take That!). When the two were featured on the E! reality show The Dance Scene, their mother continuously told everyone around them that they weren't ready to perform on the night of the performance despite Laurieann Gibson (choreographer for Lady Gaga) saying they were great. Laurieann dropped them as clients not long after.
  • Quite common in Classical Music:
    • A number of well-known classical composers — especially of the Child Prodigy variety — were pushed into playing and composing music from an early age due to their parents' wishes. For example, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his sister, Maria Anna, toured Europe as little kids playing piano and violin, under the tutelage of their father Leopold, a well-known composer in his own right. There are also darker examples, like Ludwig van Beethoven's father, who was so obsessed with his son becoming the next Mozart that he beat him if he didn't practice enough. But overall, the "child prodigy" notion has become so ubiquitous in classical music circles that fans are often surprised to find out that some of the greatest composers — such as Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms — didn't start writing music until middle age, and even the so-called "child prodigies", including both Mozart and Beethoven, didn't really hit their stride until at least their late teens.
    • If you were a prepubescent boy in 17th-century Italy, and you showed promise to be a great singer, your parents might have had you undergo a... procedure to turn you into a castrato soprano.translation If successful, there was a chance that you could become incredibly wealthy and famous, and had famous opera composers start composing arias specifically for you. Otherwise, you'd end up mutilated and possibly a social outcast for the rest of your life because your parents thought you'd make them incredibly wealthy. Fortunately, with help from the Catholic Church, the practice became defunct by the 19th Century.
    • Even today, it's very common to see kids starting to play the piano or stringed instruments at preschool age. This happens even if there are no expectations for stardom from the parents; it's just that since practically everybody who has a shot at stardom in this field started playing when they were that young, anybody who started later is at a disadvantage. Then some parents try to do the same thing with wind instruments or opera singing, where it isn't a good idea to start so young because those fields pose physical risks that could hurt one's chances at an adult career.
  • Vaudeville star George M. Cohan's father is a rare positive example. Cohan, his mother, and his sister were all brought into the act, and encouraged every step of the way; Cohan spoke of how encouraging it was to see his father in the crowd cheering him on for his entire life.
  • Nick and Aaron Carter's parents' behavior wound up having disastrous consequences for Aaron later in his life. At the height of Aaron's career, they blew through his earnings, leaving him saddled with tremendous debt before he turned 18. He cut all business ties with them when he found out what they were doing. Between that and his drug problems, Aaron eventually had to file for bankruptcy in 2013, at the age of 25. Their mother had also attempted to launch a singing career for their sister Leslie, but that went nowhere.
  • It's suspected that Beyoncé's estranged father Mathew Knowles was a huge stage dad during the early stages of her career with Destiny's Child. His apparent determination to make his daughter a star had fractured the family until they managed to get a record deal, and while he was an effective manager, his abrasive personality made him unpopular with industry folks and fans alike. Beyoncé has gone on record that when she turned 18 and started having more of a say in her career, her relationship with her father became more tenuous. His personal and financial problems are rumored to be the real reason why Destiny's Child broke up, and she cryptically mentioned in an interview with Oprah about "needing to let him go" after severing their professional relationship.
  • Ringo Starr is an aversion. His own experiences with the music industry, both with The Beatles and as a solo act, made him understandably reluctant to let his son Zak Starkey follow in his footsteps. It was actually Zak's godfather, Keith Moon, who bought him his first drum set and encouraged him to become a drummer.
  • Menudo founder and manager had the members' parents sign away parental rights to avoid dealing with stage parents. Subverted in one instance, per the docuseries Menudo: Forever Young: the father of one member traveled with the group and would interfere with filming and rehearsals. In a subversion, he was not pushing his son, but making sure he and the others ate and took breaks, clashing with founder Edgardo Díaz who allegedly made the boys work long hours.
  • Downplayed with Whitney Houston: early in her career, she had her mother Cissy calling the shots and also going back and forth between working in conjunction with and battling the surprisingly like-minded Clive Davis, both of whom were determined to make sure she stayed with a certain image. As her career began to flourish and while she still was close to her mother, Davis had much more of a say in everything she did.
  • Filipino singer Sarah Geronimo is a product of a national singing contest, and she simply wanted to use her talents to raise her family from poverty, starting her career at just the tender age of 14. However, her mother Divine meddled too much in her affairs, holding her finances hostage just to get the other children a better life and even pressuring her not to have a relationship with another man. This constant meddling culminated in February 2020, with Sarah (then 31 years of age) marrying her long-time boyfriend, actor, and former car racer Matteo Guidicelli, keeping their ceremony a secret from her intrusive mom. But the lid blew over, as the so-called "Divine Intervention" caused a minor scuffle, dragging even a bodyguard hired by Sarah's family (whom Matteo allegedly punched) into the mess that eventually made national headlines.
  • Downplayed with Rebecca Black, singer of the infamous "Friday". Her mother paid a fee to a record label ARK Music Factory in exchange to have the song written and produced (which was their bread and butter throughout the 2000s and 2010s) when Rebecca was only twelve. Rebecca in fact didn't want to sing the song and only picked it because the other option was a love song she didn't feel comfortable singing at the age of twelve. She and her mother were however united in suing ARK over copyright for the song.
  • The Cowsills could well defeat The Beach Boys and The Jackson 5 in the "Band of Relatives with an abusive Svengali dad who pushes them to success but screws up their lives royally" sweepstakes. Inspired by The Beatles, young brothers Bill, Bob, Barry, and John Cowsill formed a band, which was managed by their dad Bud. Bud, a Navy veteran, ran the family like a drill sergeant and had issues with alcohol and philandering. Eventually they got signed to a major label, but, to give them a promotional gimmick, the label (with the full support of Bud) insisted they add their mother Barbara, their kid sister Susan and their younger brother Paul to the band, which horrified the brothers, who wanted to be taken seriously as a rock band. Then at the height of their success, Bud and Bill got into a fight that was so bad, the police were called in, supposedly instigated when Bud caught Bill smoking pot, but really because Bill, the Brian Wilson figure, had his own musical vision for the band, and Control Freak Bud couldn't accept a challenge to his authority. Shortly after that, Bud kicked Bill out of the band, and they predictably collapsed afterwards. And, in true Murry Wilson fashion, Bud made all sorts of bad deals and investments that left the family almost broke. On top of all that, Susan says she was the recipient of unwanted sexual advances from Bud.
  • Abraham Quintanilla, the father of late Tejano singer Selena, displayed signs of this, viewing her as a way back into the music business as the family band Selena y Los Dinos (featuring Selena and her siblings) became the main source of family income following the family restaurant going out of business and the family being evicted following the early 1980s oil bust in Texas; and exhibiting a heavy amount of influence over his daughter's public image that continued even after Selena was murdered in 1995; to the point where he received criticism from some circles as having painted her more like a "saint" than a singer.
  • Hank Williams Jr. was a Child Prodigy with a natural affinity for performing and a knack for singing and playing music, which should be expected since he was the son of Hank Williams. His mother Audrey, a shrewd businesswoman, realized that with his talent, his famous name, and a Country Music audience still mourning the loss of his father, Hank Jr. could hit it big by imitating Hank Sr., so she became his manager and had him practice mimicking his father's singing voice, guitar style, and even his stage banter, making him a very literal example of Generation Xerox, performing in package shows throughout his adolescence. She even agreed to a deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to make a Hank Sr. Biopic (Your Cheatin' Heart, starring George Hamilton) as a vehicle for Hank Jr., who recorded the film's soundtrack at age 14. But Hank Jr., who'd had an affinity for Rock & Roll growing up, grew tired of his mother restricting his musical style, and Audrey herself had lots of personal problems (including alcoholism), so when Hank Jr. turned 18 in 1967, he legally severed managerial ties with her, and was somewhat estranged from her for the rest of her life (she died in 1975).

  • Wanda Holloway, the woman who inspired The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom and Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story, asked her brother-in-law to hire a hitman, who was, in turn, asked to kill the mother of her kid's rival in a cheerleading competition.
  • In any show about child pageants, all the moms and more than one dad shown will be like this, more often than not to sickening degrees. The show Toddlers & Tiaras is almost entirely dedicated to showing them off. Some of these pageant moms' exploits:
    • One particularly sickening example is the story of Kerry Campbell, who gave her eight-year-old daughter Botox injections. When she was found out, she not only defended this practice (claiming it was never too early to get your child cosmetic surgery to "get rid of the lines") but also claimed that other pageant moms practiced this as well. The fact that the story turned out to be fake did nothing to dispel it.
    • One 5-year-old girl named Carley developed an alter-ego called Darla to cope with her mom's pushing her to win beauty pageants. In other words, the mother's abuse led to her daughter developing dissociative identity disorder.
    • Joel McHale of The Soup fame usually saves his most vicious snark and insults for these particular parents. One such parent was compared unfavorably to Cronos, the Titan famous for eating his children when they were born.
  • George Sampson, the winner of Britain's Got Talent in 2008, should have had a very promising career after his victory in the show. Unfortunately, his career was run into the ground in less than a year, in no small part due to his obnoxious and extremely demanding mother, who was largely responsible for Simon Cowell's company ditching Sampson after they became sick of her. Sampson made a rebound, however, after starring in StreetDance 3D.
  • Rose Hovick, mother of burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee and actress June Havoc, became legendary for this trope following Gypsy's 1957 autobiography and the subsequent musical adaptation Gypsy as mentioned above.
  • A common nickname for Kris Jenner (mother of Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe Kardashian from her first marriage, as well as Kendall and Kylie Jenner from her second marriage to Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn Jenner) is PMK — short for "Pimp Mama Kris". It's commonly believed that she forced her daughters into Reality TV stardom and modeling careers as a means of living out her own dreams of fortune and celebrity. It's most evident from her comments on Kim's famous sex tape:
    Kris: When I saw Kim's sex tape, as a mother, I wanted to kill her. But as her manager...
  • Claude Drouet, mother of Child Prodigy poetess Marie Noelle "Minou" Drouet., was accused of being the real author of Minou's works. While this was ultimately proven false when Minou wrote stuff without her mom being present, the pressure soundly affected the poor little girl.
  • Margaret Palermo, the mother of popular YouTuber Venus Isabelle Palermo (a.k.a. Venus Angelic), was under suspicion of being a stage mom ever since the start of her daughter's career. It was fully confirmed in 2016, when Venus ran away from her with her boyfriend and later husband to Japan, where she now resides and works (as of 2017). Ever since then, Margaret has been ranting and complaining online about her daughter and her career and trying to hijack her accounts.
  • The Sony hacks in December 2014 revealed that during Jeopardy!'s 2014 "Kids' Week" games, a Stage Mom caused a stir with host Alex Trebek when she demanded that a round be re-shot. Trebek threatened to quit rather than giving in to her demands. This was the last straw to the already troublesome games, as Jeopardy! hasn't done "Kids' Week" since and the series has all but distanced itself from them.
  • Downplayed with the Knight family - a Professional Wrestling dynasty in Norwich, England.
    • Paige never had any interest in becoming a wrestler and only trained at their school for fun. She only had her first match because someone else dropped out on the night of a show - and she was picked to replace her. Since then Saraya Knight confessed to knowing that fans find her daughter attractive and marketed plenty of posters and merchandise to sell. Paige recounts a story of being in a car accident one evening and her father still making her wrestle later. Paige did later develop a passion for wrestling in her own right, and making it to WWE was entirely her decision. However, she had to retire at only twenty-five thanks to injuries catching up with her - and starting training at such a young age was thought to be a contributing factor ESPECIALLY when the stories about her parents being abusive trainers went public.
    • Her older sister was a straighter example, pushed into wrestling from a young age and nearly got sent to Japan to train when she was only twelve. For those who don't know, Japanese training is a whole different ball game altogether - pretty much Training from Hell.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Stage Mum, Stage Dad, Pushy Stage Parent, Stage Parent


Manager, not Mother

Noni confronts Macy about how she prioritized Noni's career over Noni herself.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / StageMom

Media sources: