Amber: Good or bad mother?

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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Natasha (candygirl)
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Aug 28th 2004, 8:26 pm

MyLifeIsBrians wrote: she can certaintly do a lot better but under the circumstances she is a good parent who loves and cares for her daughter.
I think this statement is true for the majority of parents - insane Sybil parents aside, most parents love their kids and do not deliberately go out of their way to hurt or abuse their kids, but many of them are not equipped to be good parents, due to their emotional immaturity, lack of education (on parenting skills), etc. but they do the best that they can given the circumstances. Intent is not the issue here though - I don't think anyone doubts that Amber loves Rayanne, but beyond providing the basics (food and shelter) that are required by law, Amber does not provide the emotional support that Rayanne craves. When she sees her own daughter almost completely immobile, falling down drunk, she yells at her for letting the party get too out of control and gets dressed to go out on a date. A parent's first priority should be their child's well being, not going to get laid.
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Post by MyLifeIsBrians » Aug 30th 2004, 7:38 pm

Exactly.
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Post by Eir » Nov 30th 2006, 6:57 am

SanDeE* wrote:The thing that always kind of threw me off was that Amber is the same age as Patty. Or at least they look about the same age - 40. I would have guessed Amber had Rayanne in her teens, let's say maybe 18, making her 33. Maybe I'm just bad at judging how old someone is by the way they look, but I have a few friends in their early 30s and Amber looks WAY older than them.
It never says she got her in her teens, so I just think she was in her early 20s when she got Rayanne. Rayanne also says that "before she had, she used too..." so I think it sound like Amber had an adult life for some time before she had Rayanne. And if she had Rayanne in her early 20s she is in her late 30s now, which looks to be right.

Amber might look a few years older than her age because of heavy partying, but not that much. Being a single mom and the worries that involve would also add some years to her looks.

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Re: Amber: Good or bad mother?

Post by majesty » Aug 4th 2008, 9:00 pm

Well I have been watching a few epsidoes of MSCL and am curious to know what you guys think about Rayannes mum? Is she a good mother or a bad one? (NO card is all good or all bad). For instance the time when Rayanne and co had been to Let's Bolt and at Rayannes house when she was dropped off by the police officer 'no one was home'. And the night she nearly ODeed.....Amber left Rayanne in that state to meet her boyfriend Rusty (ok, so she thought Rayne was just drunk and not drugged) - should she have stayed home and looked after her?? I think maybe not but Rayanne, despite being able to fend for herself, is a very vulnerable character and perhaps she needed a little more guidance from her mum? They seem to be good friends - but is that enough?? Who thinks Amber is a nice character? Well I suppose she reacted acceptably the night of the party as she had obviously trusted Rayanne 'just to have a few friends over'...and she did mention that she would need a long talk with Rayanne about her behaviour! Any views on this one? I can't decide. If you had to choose between Patty or Amber as your mum (mom) then who would you choose??
I don't think we can label a character on MSCL "good" or "bad." They are so well-drawn and life-like, they all have their good and bad qualities, like real people.

Regarding Amber's parenting, I definitely see good and bad things about it. She does try to be her daughter's friend (which I don't think is ever good for a parent to do... at least, until they are adults) and she instills a lot of values in her daughter. Just like Patti and Angela, it's another testament to how much parents influence their children. She appears to me to be a former hippie who still tries to live in that way as much as possible, so she grants her daughter a lot of liberties most parents shouldn't. She allows her daughter to drink (not good) and doesn't notice Rayanne's growing alcoholic dependency, though she knows other things about her daughter, like what's going on in her daughter's life. But when she does learn about her dependency, she does a good job of trying to support her through recovery. At least, she tries to make sure Rayanne hasn't been drinking up to that point. When Patti confronts her, Amber states pretty certainly that Rayanne has not been drinking.

I remember watching "Other People's Mothers" for the first time and I remember being surprised by Amber's reaction when she got back home during Rayanne's party. I think it shows both sides of her parenting. She's the type of mother who allows her daughter and her daughter's friends to drink at home (bad), but she's not the type of mother who allows wild parties and strangers in her house (good). I thought Amber would have been ok with the party, something that would have been right up her alley, but the way she acted was probably something like how Patti would have if she came home to find Angela throwing a big party at home. I was surprised that Amber fussed at Rayanne, wouldn't allow the party, threw everyone out and reprimanded Rayanne for her drunkenness. Of course, she should have seen her daughter needed medical attention and she should known the dangers of allowing a minor to drink, even at home. But the scene showed she was not just a woman who allowed her daughter to do whatever she wanted. She disciplined Rayanne and had some boundaries.

Like most parents, I think Amber makes some mistakes. She's a single mother. She works a lot and still tries to go on dates. No one was home in the pilot episode because, unlike Angela, Rayanne doesn't have the privilege of a two-parent home. Rayanne just has a mother to support her and a father who sends money sporadically. I think it's important to note the importance of two parents in home life, especially if we're using Angela's family as a model against which to contrast Rayanne's life. A father in the household (or even one who sends money and cared for his daughter regularly) would mean more supervision at home, more consistent parenting, more money and probably a larger living space, etc. Imagine how little supervision Angela and Danielle would have if Graham wasn't in the picture, especially since Patti already works late.

I do think, though, it would be better to call Amber a somewhat irresponsible mother. I remember the Christmas episode when Rayanne mentions the fact that Amber has brought a man over to the house who stays there a lot, making Rayanne feel uncomfortable. Also, Amber hasn't been paying attention to Rayanne's meetings with a counselor.

I would choose Patti as a mother, if I had to pick. But we could easily have a different view of Patti if we singled out small moments in the show and only had those as a basis for a decision. That's the case with Rayanne and her mother.

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Re: Amber: Good or bad mother?

Post by Cami A. » Aug 5th 2008, 1:56 am

Amber was a horrible mother. A good friend maybe--friends can help you grow into independent thinkers and creative individuals--but her parents skills were wack. A friend can eat raw cookie doh(sp?), turn off the phone, and spend the night comforting you just as well as a mother can...but what kind of mother doesn't think that her kid gets hungry? Or doesn't know that her kid's got drug counseling? Or doesn't stay home to make sure her kid's alright when she looks extremely drunk? Don't get me wrong. I love Amber. She's the coolest mom, but also the worst mom out there. Okay...not worst. Her intentions are not bad. She doesn't beat or verbally abuse Rayanne...but she is guilty of negligence. I feel so sorry for Rayanne!
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Re: Amber: Good or bad mother?

Post by ikilledkennyandjr » Aug 5th 2008, 12:13 pm

Amber was my favourite recurring character, but she pissed me off! What kind of mother leaves her extremely drunk and distressed kid, to go out partying with her "low-life sex maniac" boyfriend?
majesty wrote:But the scene showed she was not just a woman who allowed her daughter to do whatever she wanted. She disciplined Rayanne and had some boundaries.
Yes, but the problem is, she set those boundaries too late. She assumed a fifteen-year-old could handle a party with alcohol all on her own, and then got angry when things got out of control. Then she didn't stick around to deal with the fallout.

Amber seems ambivalent about her parental duties. She obviously loves her kid, but the duties of being a mother? She could take it or leave it. She wants to have fun with Rayanne, and be a friend to her, but the responsibility factor seems too hard to deal with. As Cami said, it could be much much worse. But the fact that she doesn't beat her daughter, and even that she truly loves her, doesn't make her a good mother.
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Re: Amber: Good or bad mother?

Post by BuffaloLawnmower » Sep 20th 2011, 6:18 am

Amber isn't a good mother at all. She would be better suited to being a fun aunt or a godmother, but not an actual mother.

I would choose Patty any day over Amber to be my mother.

To be honest, I go back and forth over how much Amber really loves and cares about Rayanne. After all, if you TRULY love someone, how the hell could you leave them when they're drunk or sick just to go out on a date? How could you leave someone alone and vulnerable like that? How could you not take that person to the hospital or at least stay with him or her? Hell, I think that most people would even stay with a stranger or someone that they didn't like in that situation, just to be sure that the person was all right.

This is what makes me doubt that Amber loves Rayanne. I think that she feels some kind of affection for her, but I also think that she wants to have a childfree lifestyle, which you can't do when you have a kid. My guess is that Rayanne wasn't planned and that Amber probably wouldn't have had kids if Rayanne hadn't happened. Rayanne almost seems like an extra puzzle piece that doesn't quite fit into Amber's life. I don't think that Amber resents Rayanne or anything, but I think that she is too much like a friend and not enough like a parent. Parents should become friends when we're older, but not while we're still young.

That said, though, I see Amber more as being irresponsible and insensitive than I do cruel or deliberately neglectful. I don't think that she really knows what she's doing.

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Re: Amber: Good or bad mother?

Post by Superjesus » Oct 3rd 2011, 8:53 am

Certainly I don't think Amber is a candidate for mother of the year. However, I don't think it's fair to call her a bad mother either. Whatever her flaws as a parent, she provides a loving home for Rayanne (something which not all the characters on the show have, especially Rickie and to a lesser extent Jordan) and it's not like Rayanne is starving or dying.

Amber's flaws as a parent come simply because I don't think she knows better. We saw it with her interactions with Patty. She doesn't realize that she's enabling Rayanne's issues. She doesn't realize that letting her daughter drink unsupervised in her home could well end up being more than a few close friends.

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Re: Amber: Good or bad mother?

Post by estrid » Mar 3rd 2012, 12:21 pm

my mum is a mix of both patty and amber. I think growing up with an amber makes you more responsible and, i don't know, free? I can relate to angela being annoyed with her mother for being over-protective, but also with rayanne not getting attention and skipping meals :?
I guess you want what you don't have, rayanne's jelaus of angela for having such a solid family while angela thinks amber is amazing.

I think amber is an all right mother. maybe she should pay a little more attention to her daughter and respect her needs and wishes, but at least she's not holding her back.
I think I would prefer having amber as my mum.

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