This need Elly has to pick her children apart because of her sick need to deny them the victory of pleasing her has thus resulted in children who, having been denied the possibility of winning at anything, have mutated into idiots who want a free pass from someone just so that they can feel as if they're accomplishing something. It bothers me that Phil will end up blaming Michael for his failure to become any good at the trumpet but it doesn't surprise me. After all, the man has no real idea that Elly's own personality had been corroded by years of Marian's need to sit on her for her own good. This means that he simply cannot see that Mike makes the calculation "Hmmm....if I have to endure pain in the here-and-now for some goal that I might never be allowed to reach, it might not be worth it....especially when I remember that if I do good, Mom and Dad will accuse me of trying to set myself ahead of them or something."
Of course, it's not just the fact that Pattersons by and large don't want to work all that hard because they're too frail to endure discomfort in the present day for a future that might not come. There's also the fact that they all are aspects of a person who doesn't like doing things that don't amuse her. A cursory reading of Lynn's bio suggests that the reason she was told to collect her doodlings in a book was owing to the fact that she decided that she should liven old boring old diagrams by making them funny, accuracy be damned. Her need to be a stupid, irritating wise-ass is faithfully reflected by Mike being too busy playing the fool when he's supposed to have his mind on what OTHER PEOPLE ask of him.