It's more of Phil, not knowing how to deal with kids.
Panel 1: As super-happy Barnacle Lizzie and Mike ask for more forbidden play, attention and stimulation, an exhausted Phil says "That's enough! I can't play any more...it's time for BED!!"
Panel 2: He then asks Elly what's wrong with these barnacle kids. Rather than admit that they've discovered that it feels good to run around and do all the other things she bellows at them for doing, she makes some idiotic talky-talk about how he got them all excited; he chased'em 'round the house and wound'em up.
Panel 3: He explains that he was trying to tire them out. The Voice of Not-learning-from-experience says "Nope. Doesn't work. You wound'em up, now you hafta unwind'em."
Panel 4: He thought-bubbles that he'll never understand what makes kids tick.
Summary: First, children are not clockworks to be wound and unwound; second, the desire they have to play is not evil like Elly and Phil clearly seem to think. It merely inconveniences those adults who cannot remember what it was to be a child; those adults would rip the feeling that knows that it feels good to run in circles and shriek in delight from the souls of the young because it disrupts their solitude.