10 Tips for Coping With In-Laws

Mar 18, 2019

Dealing with your in-laws can be extremely challenging, but there are effective ways to stop them from exerting an excessive amount of influence. Here are ten tips that will help you keep the peace and hold onto your sanity at the same time.

1. Let go of negative stereotypes

When you first get married, do not assume that your in-laws are going to be troublesome figures in your life. They may well be supportive, generally pleasant and respectful. If you begin your relationship with an open mind, you are less likely to let negative stereotypes cloud your judgment.

2. Talk candidly

If you do encounter problems with your in-laws, talking to your spouse is one of the most important things you can do. Do not let your spouse blithely continue without any idea of your struggles. Explain any issues tactfully but openly, and make sure that you make major decisions (such as whether to raise issues with your in-laws) together.

3. Enforce boundaries

In-laws may overstep your boundaries, showing up uninvited or attempting to interfere with your parenting strategies. Once you and your spouse have agreed on acceptable boundaries, it is vital to enforce these boundaries in order to send the message that they are not flexible. In more extreme cases, holding boundaries might even mean refusing to answering the door.

4. Make them feel useful

In many cases, giving your in-laws a bit of harmless input can help them to feel important and useful, dissuading them from interfering in more objectionable ways. For example, you might ask them to help you choose between two potential gifts for your child or see if they want to recommend a good decorator.

5. Find common ground

You can connect with your in-laws more effectively if you find areas of common ground. Try to discover shared interests and compatible views, then use this knowledge to help you instigate enjoyable conversations if you have been struggling to get along.

6. Do not change to fit their ideals

Your in-laws may have strong opinions about what their child’s spouse should be like and it may be painful to discover that you aren’t exactly what they imagined. However, do not try to change your personality or appearance to fit their mold. Remember that your spouse chose you as you are.

7. Know that your in-laws do not reflect your spouse’s feelings

Similarly, do not forget that the disapproval of your in-laws does not have to tell you anything significant about what your spouse thinks. Try not to blame your spouse for any difficulties that your in-laws cause, and do not allow these difficulties to make you insecure about your marriage.

8. Do not involve them in marital disputes

Even if you are close to your in-laws, avoid going to them with your marital problems. No matter whose side they take, their involvement complicates your marriage and can allow issues belonging to your in-laws to become muddled up with the issues in your own relationships.

9. Respect your spouse’s feelings about your in-laws

You might think that your in-laws are insufferable, but if your spouse wants daily conversations with their mother then you may have to take a deep breath and try to be tolerant.

Meanwhile, if your spouse is estranged from their father then do not push for that relationship to change, even if you find the father very agreeable. Remember that you may not understand all the nuances of their complex family history.

10. Think carefully about accepting financial assistance

On a practical note, you should always be cautious about offers of financial assistance from your in-laws. It is important not to become so indebted to them that they feel they have the right to control your life.

However, it is equally important to avoid letting pride get in the way of receiving the help you need. Debate the issue with your spouse and make sure your in-laws are clear about any expectations surrounding any loan.

Referring to the above ten tips should help you cope with the most common problems that may arise with your in-laws. If you are careful about your actions, your relationship with in-laws can be enjoyable, respectful and loving.

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