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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Innocence of In-laws

So my sister-in-law wanted me to address the topic of in-laws! I guess she is trying to tell me something? No, I have good in-laws, and we all get along well or at least I hope so!

Anyway, when dealing with your in-laws it can be difficult because sometimes they can get in your business. For example, they may be telling you how to raise your children or how your marriage should work or telling you how you should clean your house. So in dealing with these things, you should be honest with your in-laws about how you are feeling. Let them know you are hurt by their comments or angry at them for trying to run your life, instead of enlisting your husband or wife to be the go-between person. Being honest with them is important. Also, be patient and know that they may be unaware that they are doing anything wrong. Explain to them how you feel and what is causing you to feel that way.

Also, acknowledge that they may be excited about having grandchildren and want to know that their grandchildren are being taken care of adequately. Furthermore, acknowledge that they are excited for their son or daughter to be married, but afraid they won't be able to be as important to them anymore.

Moreover, figure out your real feelings about the situation. Why do you really feel the way you do about your in-laws? Why does it bother you? Is it because it is truly inappropriate? Do you feel threatened? Maybe discussing it with your husband or wife can give you some insight into why you truly feel the way you do. Then, put yourself in your in-law's shoes. Feel empathy toward your in-law and see if this can give you a new perspective to help you understand their point of view.

Another key point is to support your spouse if they are having trouble dealing with your parents (their in-laws). It's not necessarily helpful to be defensive either when your in-laws hurt your spouse. If their parents, siblings, or relatives are hurting them, ask your spouse how you can support him or her rather than getting angry at your in-laws.

Always listen to the other side-listen to what your in-laws have to say. You will get your turn to speak, so offer them the same respect by listening to what they have to say.

On another note, holidays may be tough because you have several different places to go, so it is helpful to come up with a compromise in this situation. That may be alternating holidays, spending only short amounts of time at each place, or inviting everyone to your house so that you can all be together. However, it is important to not overextend yourself, so compromise if the situation becomes overwhelming, too expensive, too time consuming or too hard to get to every place you need to go. Deciding on a schedule where you can spend equal time with each family is a great compromise, but make sure to let everyone know what you decide, so they won't be shocked when the time comes to split time. This may also be a time when you develop your own family traditions. Keeping your own family traditions with your spouse is most important, especially when holidays are held at your house.

Furthermore, you may have to establish spending limits with your in-laws if you feel gifts and giving has become too outrageous for your taste. Have them check with you before they buy you or your children any high dollar items. If they do not adhere to your wishes, set up consequences for not following your guidelines. If they consistently insist on buying you or your children an overly expensive item, you can let them know you have the right to donate the item to charity if they buy it anyway or return the gift and donate the money to charity.
Dealing with in-laws can sometimes be frustrating, but being open and communicating effectively can reduce stress and problems associated with your in-laws. Leave your comments about ways you have effectively communicated things with your in-laws below. Please let me know if you have any other questions about in-laws as well.

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