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Exit stage left: When do parents push too hard?

By Chicago Tribune

This article was published April 9, 2013 at 11:02 a.m.

CHICAGO — In the late 1970s and ’80s, Melissa Francis was all over TV. She appeared in almost 100 commercials and spent two years in the cast of Little House on the Prairie.

But Francis, now an anchor on the Fox Business Network, didn’t reach those heights by herself. Her mother was right behind her, pushing. And pushing hard.

Francis, now 40, has detailed her mother’s relentless driving in an excellent memoir, Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter (Weinstein Books). And although she says her mother ultimately destroyed their family (the two have been estranged for several years), Francis looks back with mixed feelings.

“I have great memories, wonderful things she did, and other things that were very difficult,” she says. “It was very difficult as a child to untangle the positive from the abusive.”

See Wednesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more, and to see if you may be a “stage parent.”

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