As I type this, we’re in the middle of one of Lynn’s exercises in nagging her children about a perceived flaw: their alleged idleness. The current manifestation of said need has all the elements of one of these irritating spectacles. First, Mike wants something fairly pricey and tells Elly or John about it. Second, John and/or Elly lecture him about the need to work for money while telling him that he wastes time on unproductive things that he shouldn’t even want to do like playing or hanging around with his friends and is also a bad, horrible, ungrateful child for doing so. Third, they set him to work at something that’s both boring as hell and just beyond his capacities and pay him what they think it’s worth. Since he gets paid a pittance for the joe-boy job, he’s got to race around like an imbecile to work up the dough for his prize. When he comes home with his goody, John and Elly lecture him about how he pisses his money away on junk when he should be saving up for something useful.
If this is supposed to be effective parenting, I am the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If this is supposed to teach him about how good it feels to accomplish something or how to handle money, I am the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. What this teaches him is that work is for suckers and that his “loving” parents don’t give a brass farthing for him or his concerns and are also full of crap. A parent who wanted to teach a child how good it feels to do something or to save towards something would do the reverse of what John and Elly do. The problem is that neither John nor Elly seem quite capable of realizing that their mothers weren’t quite right in the head. I don’t know a hell of a lot about Carrie Patterson but given the fact that one son went all the way to Australia to get away from her and the other is John, she must have done something wrong but we do know enough about Marian to realize that Elly’s bizarre and off-putting behaviour has its root cause in her being a highly defective parent. Notice how both women are mindless packrats and get way too damned territorial about housework. I should think that the reason that Elly and John don’t pay the kids an allowance and teach them about saving is that their mothers didn’t either and they’re both too stupid or isolated from the real world to know how effed-up their upbringing really is.