10 Things You Should Not Say to Your Daughter-in-Law

Mar 22, 2019

The hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond got a lot of laughs making fun of the way a mother-in-law with no concept of boundaries constantly tried to take over her daughter-in-law’s life. While the exaggerated pushiness of the mother-in-law made the show funny, many families do tend to struggle with situations involving mothers-in-law who refuse to take a hint. 

If you are a mother-in-law, it may be possible that you have trouble finding out where to draw the line. Knowing where to let others have their freedom can help make for happier relationships. The ten tips below will help you see where daughters-in-law tend to draw the line and how to not say the wrong thing. 

1. You need to be more careful with your money

Everyone has different ideas about what is important enough to spend on. It can be impossible for one person to understand the priorities of another. If your daughter-in-law likes saving up for elaborate holidays, and it worries you that she is wasting money that she could be saving, you should probably not share your concerns with her. Money is a touchy subject. 

2. Homeschooling is a waste of time

As with politics, people often have fundamentally different ways of looking at education. People tend to passionately believe in the homeschool method, in preschool, magnet schools or a number of other options.

If either you or your daughter-in-law has an unconventional idea about how children should learn, you should simply let the subject be. Conversations about the superiority of different systems can quickly slip into bitterness. 

3. Haven’t the children had enough TV time today?

Discussions of child-raising techniques can be a minefield. People tend to have very different ideas about what works, how much discipline to use, what constitutes spoiling and what kind of diet makes sense. Since grandparents are usually present in a supporting role and not to establish policy, it is best to trust the parents and to not take up the merits of various techniques for discussion. 

4. We see too little of the kids

While there is nothing wrong with thinking of ways to see more of your grandkids, it is important to realize that the parents decide how much the grandparents will be involved. Before you bring up that you see too little of your grandkids, you should try to ask about the kind of policy that your son and daughter-in-law have about grandparental involvement. 

5. You are going to name the baby what?

It’s very easy for grandparents to hate an unconventional name and to say something snippy about it. Each generation has its own ideas about what kinds of names are attractive, bold or capable of making a statement. Making a disapproving comment can cause a lasting setback to a relationship. It is best to simply accept whatever name the parents decide on.

6. I know what you should do to lose that pregnancy weight

Weight gain tends to be a delicate subject to broach. Yet, mothers-in-law often feel that since they are family, they have a little extra room to maneuver.

As far as your daughter-in-law is concerned, though, any talk about her weight will probably only make her feel self-conscious. To protect your relationship, it is best to say nothing on the subject unless you have a compliment in mind. 

7. Let me show you how my son likes this

Women do get that they don’t understand many things about their husbands as well as their mothers-in-law do. It doesn’t help to point out that you know his favorite recipes better. There is also the possibility that your son has moved on, and now has different preferences – ones that your daughter-in-law is better in touch with.  

8. Here is the right way to do it

Whether your daughter-in-law is completely competent at running her home or totally clueless, it will not win you any points to offer unsolicited advice. You will only annoy her or cause resentment. If you do need to offer advice, you should find a creative way to do it, so that it is not perceived as intrusion. 

9. There is this house that is opened up

Making a suggestion about one of you moving to an address closer by may not be welcome. Daughters-in-law may feel uncomfortable at the thought that they could have visits from the in-laws anytime of the day. 

10. He was not ever very good at doing that

Sometimes, when a mother makes a knowing comment about one of her son’s weaknesses, it can offend her daughter-in-law in multiple ways.

To begin, she might see an implication there that she does not know her husband as well as his mother does. She is also likely to be uncomfortable about whether or not to defend her husband. It is usually best to leave such criticism off the table.

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