It was as if we were dealing with the blank-eyed, death-seeking protagonist of the film; in both cases, it seemed as if they were unaware of how death worked owing to being bleeding stupid. What this tells us that every time we see a Patterson child running around undersupervised, we're not just dealing with a parent who's lazy and probably thinks that children get hurt to make Mommy's life worse, we're also dealing with a cretin going "Duuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhh!!! Oh, look!! Lizzie is about to drink window cleaner!! Let's stand back and watch how this develops!!"
When we combine this with Elly's need to be thought well of by people who don't matter, it's a miracle that any of her children survived. Take, for instance, the Jermy Wormy Jeremy Jones thing. We have on the one hand a child being menaced by a hateful little shit who thought that being in a single-parent household gave him licence to act like a septic ulcer on the face of society and on the other a little girl being menaced by a rat bastard idiot who needed discipline in the form of getting kneecapped by the Provisional IRA owing to his belief that playing a harmonica meant that he got to pound her. Elly's response was not to actually confront the stupid little piece of shit's idiot mother but to fold her hands and see how this developed. Had it not been for a deus ex machina in the form of a bad driver, we'd have a crowing bastard child who got to declare 'victory' in the form of going to juvie to get gang-raped by a group of Yardies-in-training after crippling a small girl. Elly's response to all of that would have been to deny any sort of active responsibility for failing to effectively parent.