Background: Rumination predicts depression in adults and adolescents. The development of rumination has been linked to parenting practices, but only limited research has investigated this and research has tended to rely on self-report parenting measures. Aims: To investigate the relationship between female adolescent rumination and maternal modelling, criticism and positivity using an observational measure of parental behaviour. Method: A cross-sectional design was used. Daughters aged 16–18 years and their mothers (n = 154 dyads) completed questionnaire measures of rumination and affect. Mothers of girls with rumination scores in the upper and lower quartile (both n = 26) also completed the Five Minute Speech Sample, which was used to measure maternal criticism and positivity. Results: Mothers of low rumination girls made significantly more positive comments about their daughters than the mothers of high ruminators. Mothers made very few critical comments. Self-reported rumination was not correlated in mothers and daughters, suggesting a lack of support for the potential role of modelling. Conclusion: Overall, low maternal positivity was associated with rumination in female adolescents. There was no evidence that maternal rumination or criticism were associated with adolescent rumination. The results suggest a number of implications for future research, including the need for prospective longitudinal studies using observational parenting measures.