This is sort of why John can never quite understand why it is that someone who's still pretty much the same slender girl he fell for only with unaddressed posture issues she won't admit exists insists on commenting on how fat and pale and ugly and unworthy of love she is. He simply can't understand that he can't fix the problem because it goes too damned deep. He also can't understand why Elly doesn't see the real problem with the kids. His idea of the real problem is that they forget their place while her idea is that they seem to be conspiring to disgrace her and thus open her up to more bullshit about incompetence from her idiot mother.
This need of hers to see them as threats to the status she only thinks is precarious is sort of why she gets too damned angry with them. She regrets having to explode when her conscious mind sees good kids who make mistakes and fears screwing up but her subconscious mind is too afraid of censure to allow her to be tolerant and lenient. Also, she's got something of a temper even on the best days and it shows. This means that we're going to be in for a rocky decade as she clashes with her well-intentioned but short-sighted clod of a son. More on him next.