The interesting thing about Lynn is that she loves to depict mothers scrambling to keep up with sassy, rude, malicious, messy and destructive monster children that live to eat fulfillment in an attempt to devour the soul of the mother they were born to hate because a love of chaos and wickedness makes them feel as if it's actually good to move and talk and play. This revolting pandering to mothers who actively resent an evil law imposed on victims like them that prevents them from killing their teeming get for looking at them funny takes its worst form when Meredith and Robin come into the picture. While Lynn wants us to believe that Deanna and Mike have done their best, it's damned obvious that the muttonhead father would let his kids drink paint thinner because he's too damned busy cranking out swill to want to be a dad and Deanna, she's so in love with the idea of 'child as superior form of talking doll that she can put away when she gets tired' to want to do anything that isn't mope and fret whenever they get bored. The end result is children acting out because they are not adequately supervised.
Of course, there is another factor to be considered when one contrasts them to Gordon and Tracey's quiet, well-mannered, well-behaved and happy children: Gordon and Tracey are teetotalers while it's damned obvious that Pattersons are heroes of many a well-fought bottle. The irritating fact that most of the children in the strip were the end result of an alcoholic stupor tends to suggest that a lot of their problems in life are derived from their parents' raging alcoholism. One would be forgiven for alluding to Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" and whispering about alcohol in their blood surrogate behind their backs.
Of course, it isn't just Mira who suffers from the Pattersons' insane vendetta against someone whose only known offense is trying to do them good turns that they do not value. It looks to me like Mike and Deanna's children suffer a lot owing to being caught in the crossfire. This is because they are being brought up by an Elly clone and thus suffer from parents who don't want to parent much. Deanna doesn't want them to move or talk or think without her prior approval and Mike sees them as Martians who invade his space for no reason.
This is why a grandmother who dares to interact with her grandchildren and wants them to run and laugh and play and imagine is a monster and the kids being short-changed are kind of screwed. We know what Elly's parenting did to Mike and Liz so a whinier, dumber version of it will probably ensure that when Mike is fifty, his kids will still be in their rooms.
While we're waiting for John and Elly to die so that their inheritors can turn their interior desecrations into holy relics, let's take a look at the children that will have to grow up in a mausoleum. Basic arithmetic tells us that as I type this, Meredith and Robin are attending the same elementary school their parents did; common sense and the ability to remember which patterns in their family lives persist tell us what we can expect to be happening. We must first contend with the fact that the two of them probably spend more time complaining about their homework than they spend actually doing it. The problem area that comes most readily to mind is the bane of their father's existence: math. My personal opinion is that the general reaction is going to be unhelpful commentary from Mike, whining from Deanna and blovation from their idiot grandparents about how some people are simply more suited to schooling than others. Second, we have to realize that Robin is probably going to spend a lot of time in trouble because he can be talked into doing stupid things and that Meredith is probably going to end up trading on her looks rather than using her brain like that weird stousin of hers. Finally, and this is the clincher, we have to realize that at some point or another, they'll more or less fixate on someone of the opposite sex who's lighter-haired than they are. That's the real point of school, you see; it's not about learning skills that will help later on or disciplining one's mind. It's about finding one's Whiter Shade of Pale Twoo Wuv so that the Pattersons can breed an Aryan superman.
As I've mentioned on many an occasion, the Pattersons and their friends love to wallow in self-pity so they can avoid facing up to having done wrong. Over the years we've seen:
- Mike's tormenting Liz being justified by his complaints of persecution and injustice.
- John feeling like he was the wronged one after Elly calls him out for yet another impulse purchase.
- Elizabeth sitting in her room filled with angst because her parents are too busy cleaning up after Mike and don't have the time or energy to satisfy her insatiable hunger for approval.
- April's denials that she was the aggressor in the collapse of her friendship with Becky.
- Elly herself moan and groan because she'd outsmarted herself by running away from her parents and marrying John, who expected her to live up to her insincere claims to love kids and housework.
- Deanna's constant claims that her mother is trying to control her life when we see a kindly, albeit abrupt, woman who wants to look out for her child.
- Anthony's moaning that he has no home because Therese, a woman he won't ever cut a break, expected him to live up to a promise he made with his fingers crossed.
It occurs to me that, sooner or later, Meredith and Robin will pick up a nasty habit from their environment. Sometime in the not-to-distant future, someone is going to howl that she had no choice but to do something to her kid brother, that he had to welch on a promise. We don't have to see them to know they'll whine that their actions aren't their fault.