Also, as before, I believe that the nadir of the Pattersonian mistreatment of a child is the infamous Housening; Lynn's zombie army of Angry Awful Human Being Parents might join her in seeing a simple move that would benefit everyone in risk of being derailed by a spoiled little girl who simply wants attention and, since she's a teenager and thus inherently evil, doesn't care that she's going to leave small children hooooomeless. Those of us who have functioning brains, on the other hand, saw a bunch of arsebuckets riding roughshod over a sitting duck in bobbysocks.
I've wasted a lot of time pointing out why this antipathy for teenagers exists but, as far as I know, have failed to cover a key path towards their not-so-comedic sociopathy. Michael points the way to the road to failure when he whines piteously about wanting to be the youngest; that's because like a lot of comic strip old people, John and Elly forget how much it sucks to be a teenager. Always and again, we see harried adults and their lazy children because the failures at the drawing board always forget that being an adult is far cooler than being stuck in high school.
The end result is that we have a cement-headed old fool with a train fixation blithering "Chee, I wish I was stuck in a horrible limbo wherein I had an adult body but was still treated like a child" teaming up with a bloated fathead bellowing that she quits motherhood every five minutes because she envies someone with a chaotic social life. That being said, this is why his parents have to live so far away and why Jim has to be hampered with both aphasia and a well-meaning idiot caregiver; otherwise, they might just get called on their weak shit.