Ponyboy's mother and father are dead, killed in a car crash, but while they were living, it was a happy family. After their deaths, the three boys struggle with Darry as the head of the household. Pony believes Darry is too strict, and they argue too much, but Darry recognizes that Pony has a chance to make something of his life after high school--unlike Soda, who has dropped out; and Darry, who works hard to support his younger brothers. Johnny's parents, however, appear to have no worthwhile parenting skills. They argue and fight all the time, and Johnny is the brunt of both physical and verbal abuse. They pay no attention to him; when he walks in the house, he is usually greeted by silence. He hates his mother so much that he doesn't even want to see her when she comes to visit him in the hospital; his father, apparently, doesn't even bother to come. She gets into an argument with the boys when they see her there, and she angrily blames them for Johnny's injuries. To Johnny, his greaser pals are family, because they are the only ones who really care about him.