Brent's parents love him, but they are very caught up in their own materialistic wants and do not really see who Brent is. While the family eats dinner together, they do it in front of the tv and don't speak much to each other except to comment on the car ads and admire the material items shown on the screen. However, when Brent mentions that he's going to a party, his mother tells him to write down where he'll be so she knows how to reach him. Even though his parents are not very involved in his life (they failed to ask him more about the party, or anything else about his day for that matter), they work hard in order to provide for him materially, which they feel is important. They give him nice clothes and video games and a car.
After the accident, his mother tries to protect him by hiding the newspaper that has the article about Lea, who Brent has accidentally killed. His parents hire lawyers and psychologists to take care of him, try to protect him legally and mentally, wanting to help him. Brent secretly wants a big punishment, but his parents do everything in their power to help him so that he is not locked away, and he gets probation instead. In their minds, his parents are helping him not get punished too harshly. They also go with him to meet Mrs. Zamora, and when she suggests his journey to put up whirligigs, his parents protest it because they are worried that it will be too dangerous, too hard for Brent to do on his own. Once again, they are trying to protect him. His father also brings his checkbook, willing to pay the Zamoras money if he has to. Brent's parents do everything they know how to do in order to protect him and help him, but they do it with their money and their material possessions, not with emotional support, which is what Brent needs the most.