What version of Premiere Elements and what computer operating system is involved?
Have you done this...
Right click the monitor, select Select from the pop up menu, followed by the name of the specific file named in the pop up.
The alternative is to select the Timeline clip, and then go to Properties/Motion Panel expanded (version 10 and earlier) or Applied Effects Tab/Applied Effect Palette/Motion Panel expanded (version 11 and later) and use Scale and Position there for your size - position adjustments. Looks like you have been there.
Does that work for you. If not, please give more details including Premiere Elements version and computer operating system.
That seems to work...right-clicking the monitor and selecting the file allows me to edit it -- without always "jumping" to the top layer.
I'm not sure what the purpose is of having it always default to the top layer... but this solves my problem.
Thanks for the. great news that the monitor option of Select and then clicking file name worked. Great job in follow through.