Handling difficult in-laws with tact

You’ve heard horror stories of mothers-in-law, well, fathers-in-law can be hard, too. We can help…

“When am I going to have a grandchild?”

“There’s too much salt in the chicken. The other dish isn’t salted enough.”

“Be careful with the baby, this is not how you should be feeding her!”

“Your house is a mess! Don’t you clean it?”

“Why haven’t you brought (baby) to visit me?”


Have you been hearing these comments frequently? Worse, is it coming from family?

          When you get married, you’re not only marrying your spouse but their families as well. And sometimes their families, especially parents, may not get along with you — or each other, come to think of it. Everyone fears “inheriting” difficult in-laws especially when your spouse is close to them and you have no choice but to get along with them.

          Difficult in-laws come in many forms — criticisers, naggers, privacy invaders and the worst kinds, those who dislike you.  

          According to Agnes Teo, a clinical psychologist from Th!nk Psychological Services, one of the reasons that in-laws are difficult to get along with is because of differences in family culture, values and norms. Parents-in-laws might find it difficult to accept or understand that their child’s spouse comes from different family cultures or background.

          Another major reason could be their own feelings of apprehension — of being replaced or becoming irrelevant in their child’s life. As a way to counter these feelings, parents-in-laws might be “difficult” to assert their authority, a display that they are still important in their child’s (your spouse’s) life.

            Bad blood with your in-laws will only strain and might eventually ruin your relationship with your spouse. Instead, you should be the bigger person and try to form a bond or at least an understanding with them.

            “Ensure an open communication channel with your in-laws,” says Ms. Teo. “Understand that misunderstandings might occur due to the differences in family culture. Learn to work through these differences.”


Read on to find out how to deal with different in-law situations…


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