How to Deal With a Difficult Daughter in Law


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
How to Deal With a Difficult Daughter in Law

Much has been said over the years about the difficult mother-in-law - but what if the daughter-in-law (or son-in-law, for that matter) is the one who sets the tone of contention and friction? If your relationship with your daughter or son-in-law is difficult and you feel like you're trying to walk through a minefield every time you get together, you're going to need to tread carefully. Accepting the fact that s/he is the one your child chose to marry is important, and there are things you can do to "grease the wheels", paving the way to a smoother sail in this tricky relationship. Does your relative or in-law actually need psychological assistance; well you can help them get it

1.Respect your child's choice.
Your son/daughter loves this woman, no matter that you can't understand what he sees in her. Remember the old song, "When a man/woman loves a woman...If she is bad, he can't see it, She can do no wrong, Turn his back on his best friend if he put her down." This is absolute truth - so in dealing with her, no matter what your true feelings are, you must never say a word against her to your son.

2. Stay cordial at all times.
She may be a clueless, crude boor. She may be vulgar and crass. She may swear like a sailor while your family is a church-going, proper group. She may actually be unkind, cruel, or a manipulative, controlling narcissist, not caring about imposing on others as long as she gets whatever she wants. There is nothing you can do about this. Just be polite, as you would be to a stranger. The only real exception to this is if you have little kids (your son has siblings who have children, perhaps) around and she's cursing like crazy - then you might say, mildly, "Ooh - can we watch the language while the kids are here? They get into trouble for saying that word and I don't want them to pick it up here. Thanks." No matter how creepy she is, stay calm, cool, poised, and polite.

3. Set your boundaries as you are comfortable.
Perhaps you don't wish to support this union any more than is absolutely necessary to maintain some relationship with your son. That's your choice, absolutely. So simply set things up so that they are clear from the beginning. If your daughter-in-law makes snide or nasty remarks about another family member (perhaps your other daughter-in-law), say, "Well, she may not have much fashion sense, but she is one of the sweetest people I know, and I love her very much." This lets her know, in a calm, non-critical way, that you will not be interested in hearing her snipe at this person.

4. Remember that she may be the mother of your grandchildren.
She will control access to any offspring of your son's that result from the marriage. Your best bet to retain visitation is to maintain a cordial, amicable relationship - bite your tongue if you must to remain civil. Don't criticize her parenting, don't get angry if she changes plans at the last minute, leaving you out in the cold when you had planned to have the kids over for the weekend.

5.Talk to your son or daughter.
Careful, though. Don't just unload a litany of your daughter-in-law's hateful traits. Instead, try to take an approach that is diplomatic and not critical. State the problem, and then request your preferred

Example 1: Your daughter-in-law was supposed to drop your grandkids off for a sleepover on Friday night, but didn't show. You wait an hour and a half before finally calling your son, worried and upset, to find that their plans changed and they have called off the visit. Wisely, you wait a day, then call your son or daughter again to discuss a more suitable way to handle such an issue.

Example 2: You have the opposite problem - Allison drops over and wants to leave the kids with you constantly, leaving you little to no time to yourself, and treating you like the hired help and her personal babysitting service - at her beck and call.
Again, no matter how clueless and rude you believe Allison has been, it's better to simply deal with your feelings about it rather than criticizing her.
you simply say you've already made other plans. If you stand firm on this and don't just allow her to steamroll you, but rather, patiently and calmly just inform her without explaining excessively, she will soon learn that she can't expect this of you.

6.Accept the reality of the situation.
If your son has children with this woman, no matter what you think of her, the children need their mother. Trying to drive a wedge between them and their mom will only drive a wedge between you and your son - and his kids. Instead, just come to terms with this: she may not be the daughter-in-law you dreamed of, but she is the daughter-in-law that you have. Choose to have whatever relationship is possible with her, for the sake of keeping contact with your son and grandchildren.

7.Make nice, if all else fails.
If you know this girl to be vain, flatter her. If you know she gossips, just find some other place to be so that you don't have to get involved in it. If she swears and this offends you, never call her on it in her home - but you may ask her to tone it down in yours. If she is overly critical of your cooking, your decorating sense, your clothes, just blow it off. Learn how to Deal With Impossible People. Listen politely and very carefully to what she says, and then go and do exactly as you please.

Go with the flow.
Learn How to Be Laid Back. There's no payoff in constantly complaining to your son about her. If you've expressed your feelings, made your boundaries clear, and asked your son to intervene, all with little to no positive outcome, then just go with the flow. All you can do is not allow her to run over you constantly with unreasonable expectations for babysitting services, etc., and if she's a nasty little sniper that makes critical or snide comments, just blow them off. And never say anything critical or nasty about her to your grandchildren - she is their mother, and no matter how much you may wish it were otherwise, Mom always trumps Grandma, at least until the kids are mature enough to see their mother for the difficult, confusing, narcissistic person she is. Just try to get along for the sake of the kids, so that you can be an influence for stability and compassion in their lives, and hopefully thereby mitigate some of the damage she is doing to them.

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