(Original Publication Date, 24 October 1990)
Panel 1: Having stupidly expected grounding Mike to scare him into being suddenly wonderful, Elly berates him because his room is still a mess, his homework isn't done and he hasn't done a thing. His response is to say that he was thinking about it.
This leads into next Monday's whiny demand for unearned respect touched off by non-events because her response to that is to rage-quit and find someone else to pester.
Panel 2: When encountering Liz with her feet propped up on the couch eating a bag of chips, she tells her that she "knows" something that she hasn't been told like ever about how she's supposed to sit and that indigestible dinner is in ten minutes. Liz's response is that she's hungry (for food that doesn't taste the same going in as it does coming out) now.
Again, she must have simply slouched off in despair because she's tried nothing and without hitting them, she's fresh out of ideas.
Panel 3: John tries to reassure Elly by telling her that there's one good thing about having a baby on the way.
Panel 4: That one good thing is that it's the only time you have complete control over them.
Summary: First off, they apply 'control' inconsistently and self-servingly which results in the bad behaviour that frustrates and confuses them. Second, the point of raising children is not to create craven drones who exist to glorify tin gods like this. It'a to produce solid citizens who can function in society without being dependent on parents or parental proxies.