"There's a natural tendency to be competitive in a mother-daughter relationship," said Shannon Fox, a marriage and family therapist and Momlogic.com contributor. "The mother used to be young and beautiful. And in this case, Dina's still an attractive woman, but she's not in her 20s anymore. So she's struggling to compete with her daughters with how she looks, how sexy she is, how she can still party like a teenager."
Her behavior makes it clear: Dina wants stardom. Dina wants money. And her famous daughter is her key to getting both. But Dina's desires turn the parent-child relationship upside-down and may ultimately undermine what's best for Lindsay.
"Because the child is a celebrity, there's a dangerous imbalance of power," Fox said. "Lindsay's in control in her family because she earns all the money. Dina works for Lindsay. She can't tell her no. That's a really dangerous, really unhealthy imbalance.
"Dina's also making choices for her daughter based on what's best for her career, not based on what's best for her as a young adult," Fox said. "She said, 'Sure, go ahead, pose nude as Marilyn Monroe. It'll be great for your career!' But is it great for her as a young woman?"
Some argue Dina's a great parent. Earlier this month, she was honored as a Top Mom by the Mingling Moms Organization, a charity based in the Lohans' native Long Island, N.Y., for her "behind-the-scenes" contribution to Lindsay's "tremendous career."
And there are celebrity moms who have made such helpful contributions to their kids' careers. Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn succeeded in nudging their daughters, Mamie Gummer and Kate Hudson, into the acting industry without scandal.
But, said Fox, by selling out Lindsay and now Ali in what appears to be a bid to extend her own 15 minutes of fame, Fox believes Dina has failed in her role as a mom.
"I think Lindsay has lost a mother and instead she's getting a tag along," she said. "Dina's like her other younger sister who also wants to be a star."