That being said, there was a time in the strip's history wherein Lynn didn't pretend that the Pattersons knew all the answers; they were allowed to have flaws that, while not especially pleasant to behold, at least made them identifiable as human beings. Mike's flaw used to be an inability to see that what definitely bothered him when it happened to him might be a problem were he to do it to someone else. When we contrast his not taking being mocked for falling for one of an endless series of lying promises to be allowed to hang with the cool kids if he did something stupid at all well, his hatred of being given insulting names and his disbelief that a girl he knew would allow herself to be associated with an asshole who treated her like crap with his smug insistence on being a dick to Liz, we can quickly size him up as a mildly hypocritical stripling with a huge blindspot.
Somewhere along the way, though, the thing that happened to Phil that made him want to build an adult relationship with Elly never happened to him; since he's not really ever going to grow up, he'll always have to relearn that when bad things happen to other people, they hurt as much as he would because, like the seven year old he'll be when he dies in his eighties, he'll always forget that fact. He'll also never really learn that his sister's feelings could possibly be as valid as his own or she'll win being a child.