That being said, I almost feel sorry for Elly. After all, she is loathe to admit it because it means that her ability to be martyred would be compromised but on some level, she's always known that she has good kids that she mistreats because of her own issues. I should think that while her mouth tells Connie that she can't understand why April doesn't want to be around her loving parents or return to a home where she's understood and accepted, her conscience is in the background making a mocking comment about how 'loving', 'parents', 'home', 'understood' and 'accepted' are all lies. A lot of the reason that she's not all that sorry that Jim died is that she no longer has to worry about being told what a brainless, self-absorbed, hysterical and deluded failure she is as a mother.
While I am tempted to pity Elly, the only emotion John inspires in me is contempt. His angrily smashing an inoffensive caterpillar to bits in front of the son who pathetically pleaded in vain for it to be spared is a reminder that John hates it when things don't go the way he expects and reacts to the unfamiliar with an unfeasibly crazy level of violence. While he shares Elly's ludicrous belief that if a child disagrees with a parent in the least, it's an intolerable sign of defiance and chaos, the reasons are different. Elly is a messed-up adult who takes out her unhappiness on her children because some idealistic buffoon enacted a law against murdering entitled idiot unappreciative pig jackoff husbands while John never bothered maturing past being a spoiled five year old who wants to smack people who don't give him what he wants.
This means that while Elly regrets lashing out in blind rages and laments the 'necessity' of acting how she believed Marian did, John, having no more capacity to identify emotionally with those around him that a toddler does, resents the implication that he might be the problem in his family. If only Phil had been forced to eat him to survive; April's dad might have had all of his chromosomes.