On the cable TV show "Weeds," Shane Botwin (Alexander Gould), the teenage son of drug dealer Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), used a croquet mallet to fatally strike a female drug rival. Observing the two women arguing, Shane, once the show's moral compass, believes that the murder he committed was to protect his family. Because of the murder, family members are on the run from her Mexican drug-kingpin husband and the authorities.
Shane's behavior parallels his mother's, Schulz said. "Drug wars involve a warped gang-love mentality, where you kill over territory, and that's the code Shane has copied," she said. "He's learning about relationships in the sociopathic world which is his family."
Nevertheless, there's still hope for children raised in troubled home environments.
"A kid can take trauma and turn it into a positive life," Schulz said. "Children are very resilient."
Even television characters.
One young character who has made the best of an absent biological-father situation is Manny Delgado (Rico Rodriguez) of ABC's "Modern Family." Wise beyond his years, he validates Schulz's optimism.