Whether you make a first good impression on your in-laws or not, keeping a good relationship with them is important, for the sake of your significant other. If conflicts and tensions arise, here’s what you need to do when you’re facing difficult in-law relationships.
Find out how to deal with difficult in-laws, and improve your relationship with them for your sake and for the sake of your partner. In 10 steps, here’s how you should be able to deal with in-laws who are causing trouble.
Set Realistic Expectations
If you expect to get along perfectly with your in-laws, you’ll end up disappointed. Even if they’re very welcoming and warm, you’ll still find some things to disagree with. Expecting them to become a second set of parents is just unreasonable. Accept them for who they are and be realistic about their ability to change.
Work With Your Spouse
Just like it’s always important for parents to put up a united front in front of children, it’s also a good idea to do the same with in-laws. If your spouse is not on the same page as you, that means trouble. When you’re trying to deal with difficult in-laws, don’t let that become a source of tension in your marriage and find common ground with your husband to deal with the issue.
Show Respect Before Asking for It
Sometimes all in-laws want is to feel like their opinion is respected, even if you end up going in a different direction. You don’t have to accept any opinion from your in-laws, whether it’s about children or politics, but show them respect by at least listening to it and making them feels like they’ve been heard, not completely written off.
Establish Direct Communication
Communication is very important, so even if you don’t like your in-laws too much, it’s important to have open lines of communication. If everything goes through your significant other, there’s always a chance of a misunderstanding that creates gratuitous tension. Learning how to deal with difficult in-laws is all about good communication.
Address Issues Quickly
When you feel you’ve been wronged by your in-laws, the worst thing you can do is let the resentment build up. Instead, address any issue you might have quickly, in a polite and calm manner. There are a lot of potential misunderstandings even if you communicate directly, but there’s always a chance that your in-laws mean well and they’re open to suggestions on fixing things that they didn’t even perceive as issues.
Work On Healthy Boundaries
Even if you missed the opportunity to set up boundaries in the beginning of your relationship, a good answer to the question of how to deal with difficult in-laws is working on boundaries. As long as you keep your requests polite and pair them with a smile, you’re more likely to succeed in getting through to your in-laws.
Don’t Let Your In-Laws Set the Tone
Fighting fire with fire is not the way to go when it comes to in-laws. Don’t respond to rudeness with more rudeness, either to their faces or behind their backs. Even if they try to push your buttons, keep your tone even and don’t engage in any conflict. Setting the tone later in the relationship can be difficult, but not impossible.
Focus on Actions Not Character Traits
If you feel like you just can’t deal with difficult in-laws, don’t make your husband the target of your frustration. When you’re addressing problems, stick to the facts and their actions, don’t use labels like “controlling”, even if they do apply to your in-laws.
Make an Effort
Bonding over the love for your husband sometimes works, but it’s even more effective when you show that you’re truly making an effort. Even if you find every conversation with your in-laws frustrating or upsetting, don’t try to phase them out of your family life. Make an effort to include them and you’ll always have the moral high ground.
Ask for Help
When nothing seems to work and direct communication only leads to more trouble, the way to deal with difficult in-laws is to simply ask for help. Your spouse should mediate any big conflict, but sometimes you could also turn to their other daughters-in-law if they have any.