When you get married, you gain more than just a spouse; you gain a new, extended family with their own behaviors and norms. Some people get along with their in-laws splendidly, while for others, it can be a struggle. Here are some tips to make the interactions with your in-laws more pleasant, and smooth.
Communication is a key element to any relationship. Ensuring that you are communicating in an assertive, rather than aggressive or passive manner, will benefit the relationship, as well as make your desires known in a non-threatening way. Being assertive does not mean being confrontational or accusatory, but rather, polite, direct and to the point with regard for the other party’s feelings.
Communication always helps in bridging the gap between two people on the opposite sides of the spectrum and when they are your in-laws, it becomes all the more important to maintain strong ties where there is no room for misunderstanding, hostility, bitterness or animosity, which can be catastrophic for the future of any relationship. While apps like okcupid are mainly for dealing with issues relating to your significant other, it also has an added section on how to manage your in-laws in a friendly way with tried and tested methods that are present in a step by step process.
Set Enforce Boundaries
Although boundaries may be clear within your own family, they may not be clear in your new family. Be assertive when setting and enforcing boundaries. For example, if your in-laws are trying to give your child candy before dinner but you don’t allow treats before dinner, let them know in a calm, direct manner. “I’m sorry! Katie isn’t allowed to have any candy or treats before dinner. Perhaps after dinner!” This should be enough to get the point across in an effective manner, but if it happens again, be sure to remind them, “I know we discussed this before, but Katie isn’t allowed to have treats before dinner, or she won’t eat! I’m sure you know, Katie’s a growing girl and she needs to eat a balanced diet! Perhaps after dinner you can offer her a treat if she ate well!” Another example; if you don’t want your in-laws popping in to visit unexpected, make it clear to them. If they show up, tell them “I’m so sorry. We weren’t expecting company and we’re really busy this afternoon. Why don’t you give me a call and we can arrange a time that will work better? I’d really prefer if you call first!”
Gossip and talking behind someone’s back is never good for any relationship. If you have an issue with one of your in-laws, discuss the issue directly with that person. Don’t discuss the issue with other in-laws, because odds are the story will get back to the person it’s about, quite possibly in an exaggerated form.
Bite Your Tongue
Sometimes, in-laws can be very overbearing with advice and how they believe you should live or be doing things. Although it can be tempting to argue with them, sometimes it’s best to bite your tongue. Remember: You can’t have a battle of the wits with an unarmed in-law.
Take a Time Out
Sometimes, dealing with the in-laws can be draining. If you feel yourself wearing thin, don’t be afraid to take a time out. Skip out on the next few family functions and avoid interaction until you’re feeling up to it. Alternatively, if your in-laws are making it difficult to get along (such as deliberately defying boundaries you’ve set), don’t be afraid to put them on a time out and limit interaction and communication until you feel ready to resume.
When you got married, you made a vow to place your spouse first and foremost. This vow includes when the battles and struggles involve in-laws. Although it can be conflicting and difficult to deal with when you don’t get along with your in-laws, or your spouse doesn’t get along with your family, your loyalties should remain with your spouse. Never attempt to force your partner to choose between you and his or her family.
Dodge amp; Evade
In-laws are great about bringing up those subjects that you have to agree to disagree on, over and over again. Arguing your point will most likely do little to no good, especially if this isn’t the first time the subjects been brought up. If you’re not up for getting an earful, or the stress of arguing, dodge and evade the subject. For example, when Aunt Jill says, “I really think you should formula feed your baby! She’s so tiny compared to what my babies were!” Respond with, “She’s growing so fast! Did I tell you that last week, she pulled herself up on the edge of the couch? I bet she’ll be walking in no time! How old were your kids when they started walking, Aunt Jill?”
This can be very hard to do when dealing with in-laws who push your buttons, but do your best to remain calm and mature; even if this means nodding your head and smiling when you feel like smacking some sense into them! A little maturity can go a long way.