- They're obsessed with how little money they think they have. We always see John and Elly fretting about how they're barely getting by despite his being a successful dentist.
- Since they're self-absorbed jerks who don't want to blame themselves and their poor decision-making for their problems, they scramble to find someone who cannot fight back to blame their worries on.
- The fact that they've no moral fibre makes them see Mike not as a child with hopes, dreams and needs but as an expense that will not pay off for decades if ever.
- We must also take into consideration that the two of them are filled with a free-floating hostility which crowds out empathy for others while still affording plenty of room of contempt for those who are weak.
- They are also animated with an overweening need to pose as having near-dictatorial authority over their children to compensate for their feelings of societal impotence; bellowing about ingratitude is a great way of encouraging the dependence they need to feel like someone has to listen to them.
- Finally, the two of them parent as if they're fighting a rear-guard action against chaos; we see a bland, ordinary little boy who's a little bit more active than he should be. They see a Lovecraftian horror-freak who wants to destroy the world and force them to a subservient position.
The end result is that we have a pair of selfish, hateful dumbasses who rationalize away their viciousness with a pious moan about how they're being taken advantage of.