Couples frequently view their in-laws as a source of strain and long to figure out the secret to getting along better with their partner's parents. On the flip-side, there are parents who are stressed out and unsure how to be good in-laws to their child's spouse. Today Certified Imago Therapist, Norene Gonsiewski, shared tips for being a good in-law.
Advice for Good In-Law Relationships
Don't let your hurt feelings cause a rift. A lot of relationship issues between married couples and parents come up because of misunderstandings or hurt feelings. You are going to feel some unpleasantness from time to time and take issue with something your child in-law does. Be the older adult in the situation and rise to the occasion. I am not going to encourage you to clear the air. Actually I suggest that you let it go and spend time with your child's spouse accepting them as a distinctive and worthy person who is now a part of your family.
Know that your child may adopt some new family traditions. When your son or daughter marries, they are starting their own family and their own traditions. While you might be initially hurt, you need to learn not to take it personally and to look for compromises. Talk to your child and their partner about creating traditions you can share in. Don't guilt-trip them, whine or complain. Years ago you wanted to create your own life with your spouse. Respect their need to do the same.
Respect the autonomy of your child and their partner. You may have certain ideas about how your child's marriage should work based on your own marriage, but you need to remember that every relationship is different, and your child and their partner will figure out what works best for them. Avoid giving relationship advice unless it's directly asked for, as unwanted advice may come across as criticism or disapproval.
Never ask your child to take sides. Whatever you think of your child's partner, don't complain to your son or daughter about the person they married. This puts them in a tough position between two people that they love and when push comes to shove they will side with their partner. You will drive a wedge between you and your child. Unless you feel that their partner is truly endangering their well being, it's better not to say anything. Give your child and your relationship with your child the best chance for success. Accept and love their spouse. For every fault you see in them, look for five positives. Don't make their behavior about you. Being a parent of grown children is a new chapter of modeling emotional intelligence and self-control.