As you know, Michael is about to enter Grade One; this means that he will accomplish things that you'd expect that John and Elly would be proud of and praise him for. You, sadly, would do so in vain; the only time those two take notice of him or, for that matter, any of their children is when they disappoint them. As howtheduck and clio_1 remind us, the two of them are immature, selfish parents who view the kids not as individuals in their own right but as extensions of themselves; the fact that the two of them loathe themselves means that they have insanely high standards that guarantee that the kids will never do anything to satisfy them. It doesn't matter that Mike ruined his life to become a big-time author or that Liz immolated herself on the pyre of Elly's stupid expectations for her or that April had a lot going for her; the insatiable hunger they have for an impossible perfection means that John and Elly will never praise their children. Passive, depressed Liz will take this lying down in a doomed belief that someway, someday her parents will actually like her and tell her she's done well while April will eventually drift away from a place she knows she's not wanted and not be missed. Mike's loyalty is the one thing that doesn't track; he's not the kind to passively accept mistreatment and he's full of rage; we should have seen an explosion of rage about how selfish, callow and vain the 'rents are followed by years of Elly whining about how he never writes or calls.