Deanna, on the other hand, had a much more difficult time dealing with Mike owing to the fact that he acts like a character from a sixties sitcom preaching Strict-But-Fair Parenting By Bad Example. If the Pattersons' world were a television program, Deanna herself would be the kid protagonist learning that the "free" kid whose ability to come and go as he pleases and do pretty much ever he wants craves the structure lovingly imposed on him from Sainted Mira and Wilf; instead, his father is more a growth oozing out of a chair and his mother a negligent idiot Who Should Probably Not Have Had Kids. It's quite obvious that Michael cannot cope on his own and needs to be dependent on a kindly adult to save him from himself. Deanna's job is to make sure that that adult is Elly.
Good thing for Elly that all Deanna can do is rebel against her mother; that way, she can have Mike to be her BABY forever and always while allowing Phil to be one of the kindly adults who parents her children for her.