Handling Difficult In-Laws with Class


Getting married means becoming part of a new family that includes your in-laws; whether you like it or not. In an ideal world, everyone would be blessed with the kind of awesome in-laws that I have (and most everyone I know has) but it’s not always so easy. Some in-laws are tough. Some are mean. Some are unwelcoming, and some can be annoying (hopefully none of us ever turn into those type of in-laws!). If your in-laws aren’t as wonderful as you’d like, you might have to get creative in dealing with them – while still being tactful.

The Critic

If your in-laws are overly critical of everything you do (read: Mother-in-law who always tells you your method of parenting is not as good as hers), you’re going to need to find an appropriate way to tell her about herself. Since you don’t want to stoop to her level, try making your point with elegance. For example, say something like, “You are certainly entitled to your opinion, so let’s agree to disagree about how we see fit to raise our own child.” You’ve just informed her that her opinion is not wanted, needed or appreciated without doing or saying anything offensive.

The All-Up-In-Your-Business In-Law

Your mother-in-law means well, but she calls your house 47 times a day, stops by uninvited, shows up where you’ll be, shows up for events early and is always the last one to leave (inappropriately late, at that). She loves you all and she just wants to be close to her son, you and your family. While it might make you crazy, consider the fact that she’s just lonely and find a diplomatic way to handle it. For example, pass this one off on your husband. Ask him to tell her that while you love having her around, her constant dropping by or staying for hours after it’s time to go is interfering with your family schedule. From that point, make standing plans with her every so often, such as a weekly Tuesday night dinner with her, so she still feels included and wanted.

The Drama Queen 

It could be your mother-in-law or your sister-in-law. Either way, she’s always about her and she can’t handle anything on her own. She needs your help at all times. She needs you to do this or to do that or to help with this or help with that. She is incapable of doing anything on her own and doesn’t hesitate to call and ask your husband to stop taking care of his own family to take care of hers. It’s time to draw some boundaries. For example, if it’s too much for her to mow her own lawn twice a week because she has 10 acres, she needs to hire someone else. Asking your husband to spend 7 hours a day every weekend doing it for her instead of being with his kids and wife is unacceptable and she needs to know this. Make her accountable for herself and this might change.

(Photo by Genevieve de Manio via Getty Images)


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