Tips for Dealing with Your In-Laws - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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Tips for Dealing with Your In-Laws



Even if you get along well with your partner’s family, there is bound to be trouble at some point. Bringing together two different families, each with their own views and backgrounds can be a breeding ground for conflict. For some couples, dealing with the in-laws is a complete nightmare while, for others, it isn’t too bad. If your in-laws are difficult to deal with you will be glad to know that there are some simple things you can do to minimize conflict and to make things easier for everyone involved.

If your own mother is driving you crazy you can tell her as much. If it is your mother in-law, however, you may need to tread a little more lightly. As much as you may like or dislike your in-laws, and no matter how close you are, the fact remains that they are not your family in the same way that your own parents are. This means that you may need to treat them a little differently, especially if you don’t know how they will respond to certain comments or situations. You can’t just ignore the problem, however, so try these simple tips to keep the peace between you and your partner and your in-laws:

1. Create Healthy Boundaries – If your in-laws are the type who like to make surprise visits or who like to overstay their welcome, you may need to speak to your partner and his or her parents about setting boundaries. Be sure that you don’t become overly critical – simply tell them that you have other plans and other people to spend time with and you want to make sure that everything gets done. It may help to schedule a day each week or every other week for a visit so your in-laws know that they will be able to see you two regularly.

2. Take a Deep Breath – If one of your in-laws is especially critical, try not to let it get to you too much. Take a deep breath before you react and try to keep your response non-defensive. You may feel like starting a shouting match, but that won’t be productive for anyone. Instead, realize that his or her criticism could be a front for their own insecurities – the criticism may not be about you at all. If conversations simply cannot be productive, put things to an end by agreeing to disagree and move on.

3. Don’t Have Expectations – The best thing you can do for yourself is to realize that your in-laws are different people. Their family history and background is not the same as yours, so you shouldn’t expect them to think and act the same way you do. If a conflict arises, try having a conversation about the core of the issue rather than playing the blame game.

4. You Have to Make an Effort – While it may seem like the best way to deal with difficult in-laws is to avoid them, this will only make the visits you do have that much more painful. Show your in-laws respect by participating in family events and by making an effort to spend time with them.

5. Separate Your Spouse from Your In-Laws – If your mother in-law is being overly critical or downright mean to you, do not hold your partner responsible. Recognize that your spouse and your in-laws are separate people and the way your in-laws act isn’t necessarily a reflection of how your spouse feels. You can certain ask your spouse for help in speaking with or relating to your in-laws, but do not take it out on your spouse if your in-laws upset you.

6. Always Keep Communicating – Even if communicating with your in-laws is a challenge, it is still very important. If you have a disagreement, try explaining not only how you feel but why you feel that way and give your in-laws a chance to do the same. Once you have a better understanding of why they think and act the way they do, you may find that things start to go a little more smoothly.

7. Don’t Take it Personally – If your father in-law says something that upsets you, try not to take it personally. There are certainly situations where you should not simply sit back and take verbal abuse, but if the comment that upset you wasn’t said with malicious intent, try not to take it that way.

8. Don’t Make Assumptions – The way you were raised understandably plays a role in how you think and act. Do not assume that your background is the same as your spouse’s or his parents’. If you come across a conflict, make an effort to explain yourself and give your in-laws the chance to do the same. Don’t criticize – ask for an explanation of things you do not understand and view it as a learning opportunity.

No matter what you do, you are bound to experience some conflict with your in-laws. The best thing you can do is to take everything with a grain of salt and try to see things from their perspective before you get too upset. Keep in mind that communication is a two-way street so try to do your part to keep the lines of communication open and give your in-laws the chance to do the same.

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 04-29-2016, 07:25 PM
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Re: Tips for Dealing with Your In-Laws

Pretty good. Let me add the following.

1. Create Healthy Boundaries – This depends on the family. My wife's family came over a lot and I got used to them. Sometimes you need to adapt.

2. Take a Deep Breath – Agreed. Generally you want to be careful and not let things escalate. I say generally because it can depend. I helped a family member who while I was helping made a comment about how I could have done more. I let go with screaming mixed with profanities. Afterwards, he listened, said are you all right and we went back to the work at hand. Once in a family situation, I was angry and let it simmer, and probably would have been better exploding.

3. Don’t Have Expectations – The best thing you can do for yourself is to realize that your in-laws are different people. Their family history and background is not the same as yours, so you shouldn’t expect them to think and act the same way you do. If a conflict arises, try having a conversation about the core of the issue rather than playing the blame game. Very good.

6. Always Keep Communicating – Let me change that. Think of ways of improving the situation using books like Critical Conversations.

7. Don’t Take it Personally – If your father in-law says something that upsets you, try not to take it personally. There are certainly situations where you should not simply sit back and take verbal abuse, but if the comment that upset you wasn’t said with malicious intent, try not to take it that way.

First, its probably going to be the mother--in-law with comments. Some people criticize more than others.
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