The Ramirez Family
When Victor and Lorena met, Lorena had a four-year old son, Sammy, from a previous marriage. She refused to let Victor or anyone else discipline him. She didn’t believe in setting rules for kids. Victor disagreed with her but didn’t put up a fight.
The couple eventually married and had their first child together, Tommy. By the time Tommy was starting school, Sammy was twelve and already a discipline problem. He was skipping classes, vandalizing buildings and flunking out.
Sammy’s behavior was a wake-up call for the couple. They realized they had to do something different with Tommy. Lorena still didn’t discipline him at home, but she put him in a better school and enrolled him in lots of extra-curricular activities. As a result, Tommy got good grades, acted in school plays and won lots of awards.
The couple was so proud of Tommy’s success that they showered him with gifts, including the latest computers and video games. That made Sammy furious. He never got any gifts from his parents and felt completely unloved. He dropped out of high school and has been floundering ever since.
Sammy’s condition is causing a lot of stress between the couple. Victor blames Lorena for not disciplining him. He’s also angry that she hasn’t disciplined Tommy. Although he’s a good student, Tommy is rude to his parents and often acts like a spoiled brat.
Both parents are locked in a constant fight over their children – and their children fight with each other as well. Sammy can’t shake the feeling that Tommy got every advantage in life, while he got none. He’s jealous of his brother and verbally abusive towards him as well.
No one in this family gets along or has any hope that they will!
Lorena Barriere is a 39 year-old life insurance agent and mother of three. Her first child, Sammy, is from a previous marriage. Her second child, Tommy, is from her marriage to her current husband, Victor.
Lorena was raised in a strict home and hated it. So when she had Sammy, she decided not to set any rules for him. As a result, Sammy has no discipline or direction in life. He’s a high school dropout and is currently unemployed.
Tommy, as well, has no discipline. He refuses to do chores and talks back to his parents regularly.
Lorena doesn’t allow Victor to discipline the boys and doesn’t do it herself. Yet she’s overwhelmed by how chaotic her household is. In addition, she and Victor have a stale, sexless marriage. So Lorena spends a lot of time fantasizing about abandoning her family and getting a job overseas. She’s tired, depressed and wants out of her life.
Victor Ramirez is a very calm, mild-mannered man. He came to this country from El Salvador when he was 19 and has been working at LAX airport ever since. That’s where he met his wife, Lorena.
At the time, Lorena had a 4-year-old son, Sammy. Victor tried to be a father to Sammy but Lorena didn’t let him. She refused to let Victor discipline Sammy or even their other son, Tommy.
Victor is very frustrated that he hasn’t been allowed to parent either boy and believes that the kids’ lack of discipline has contributed to their unruly behavior. He’s disappointed in his sons and feels unloved by his wife. He complains that Lorena criticizes him often and in response, he’s pulled away from her emotionally.
Sammy Barriere is a 19 year-old high school dropout. He feels that his parents favor his younger brother Tommy over him and has grown angry and resentful of them over the years.
Although he is good looking, smart and charming, he has very low self-esteem. He doesn’t think he can get his GED or even his driver’s license. He’s tried to get his license three times and has always failed the tests. He doesn’t know what kind of a job he’ll ever get since he doesn’t have any skills.
Sammy is a lost, angry boy with no direction and little hope.
Tommy is Victor and Lorena’s only child together. He’s 13 years old and is starting to act like a brat. He doesn’t clean his room or do chores. He also talks back to his parents regularly with no repercussions.
Tommy is a good student, so his parents reward him with lots of electronic devices. This makes his older brother, Sammy, very jealous. But Tommy doesn’t care. He thinks that Sammy is a loser and doesn’t deserve the same kind of treatment that he gets.