How to adjust with in laws

There are 10 basic rules for dealing with your in-laws, according to The Complete Idiot’s Guide, and maintaining peaceful family relations. In this article you’ll learn how to

  • Show a solid front with your spouse
  • Set and enforce boundaries
  • Communicate to resolve conflicts
  • Set realistic expectations
  • Keep your cool — and your sense of humor

How to adjust with in laws

Your in-laws are a crucial part of your spouse’s life. This makes them a crucial part of your life as well. No one ever said it was easy to balance your needs with the needs of others — especially the needs of an entire new family. But creating family harmony is possible — and it’s very much worth the effort.

You realize it won’t be easy to build bridges — and rebuild some that have been burnt — but you also realize that it’s a valuable way to spend your time. The return you get on your investment will last the rest of your married life. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Work With Your Spouse

This is the key rule, numero uno, the whole enchilada. As my wonderful husband reminded me last night, dealing effectively with in-laws all starts with first working conflicts through with your spouse. Remember, you’re in this together.

Never put your spouse in a situation where he or she has to choose between you and a relative. If you do so, you’re putting your spouse in a nearly impossible bind. Instead, try to understand the bond your spouse has with his or her grandparents, parents, and siblings. If possible, try to support that relationship. Even if your spouse has parents from hell, they are his or her parents.

2. Set Boundaries and Limits

No candy before mealtime for the kids? No loans for in-laws? With your spouse, decide what’s important and what’s not.

For example, we let our kids eat anything they want anytime. Want ice cream ten minutes before dinner? Fine by me…as long as you eat a reasonable dinner. But we’re really, really picky about school work. I don’t think it has dawned on my kids yet that there is a grade below “A.”

Working as a team, set your family values. Then communicate your values to your in-laws. All of your values and all of your in-laws.

Speaking of boundaries, don’t make promises that you can’t keep. Remember Neville Chamberlain, Hitler, and Poland? In an attempt to achieve “peace in our time,” British politico Neville Chamberlain gave Poland to Hitler as part of the British appeasement policy. Remember how well that worked? Hitler just kept right on seizing chunks of Europe. Placating people to keep the peace rarely solves the problem — especially if your in-laws are tyrants.

3. Enforce the Boundaries and Limits

Without being as inflexible as a teenager, stick to your guns. For example, if you don’t want drop-in company, tell your in-laws that you’d prefer that they call before they show up at your doorstep. If they ignore you, don’t answer the door the next time they just happen to drop-by. Even if they do have a lemon meringue pie.

Are your in-laws toxic to your relationship? Watch the video for the warning signs:

4. Communicate Directly

Whenever possible, avoid communicating through a third party. Don’t ask your spouse to talk to his sister about something she did that hurt your feelings. Talk to your sister-in-law directly.

If something bothers you, address it as soon as possible. Sometimes it’s a genuine problem; other times, it might be a misunderstanding.

Tori married into a family whose members had been born in Germany. Every time a family member went into the kitchen, he or she shut the door — often leaving Tori out. For years, she stewed over the situation. Finally, she got up the courage to ask her mother-in-law why she closed the kitchen door.

“Why, to keep in the heat,” she answered. “We always did that in Germany.” Closing the kitchen door had nothing to do with Tori. A cultural misunderstanding had caused years of distress for her — which neither her in-laws nor she ever realized.

5. Know Yourself

Shakespeare said it a zillion years ago, and the advice still holds today: Don’t try to remake yourself into the person your in-laws want. For example, what if they’re looking for little Susie Homemaker and you’re a high-powered corporate attorney? You’re under no obligation on your day off to bake Swedish rye bread and churn your own butter. Get a manicure and call for some take-out instead.

6. Get With the Program

Not every father-in-law lives to snake out your kitchen sink; not every mother-in-law dreams of baking cookies with her grandchildren. Put away the stereotypes and adjust your thinking to the reality of the situation. Don’t expect what people can’t deliver.

7. Learn to Cool Off

I tend to jump in where angels fear to tread. It’s always headfirst, too. Fortunately, my husband is far more levelheaded. Many times, the best thing to do is nothing. Time heals many wounds — and wounds many heels.

While we’re at it, play nice. Spare your in-laws the insults and character attacks. For example, Jack’s father-in-law once called his son a knee-jerk liberal. “I had it on the tip of my tongue to call him a “bloody fascist,” Jack said. “Fortunately, I bit my tongue-even though he really is a fascist.”

8. Be Mature

Your parents have to love you; it’s in the contract. But your in-laws don’t. Accept the fact that your in-laws aren’t your parents and won’t follow the same rules. Try to think “different” — not “better” or “worse.” To make this work, give in on small points and negotiate the key issues.

Learn to see the situation from your in-law’s point of view. And even if you don’t agree, act like a big person. For example, I hate pork. I never eat it; I rarely cook it. Nonetheless, for years my mother-in-law would make a pork roast when we came to her house for dinner.

After wallowing in more pork than Congress produces, I came to see that she was trying to please her poor pork-deprived son. Big deal: I learned to have a salad before we ate at her house. My husband porked up in peace and the only one to suffer was Babe, the poor porker.

9. Be Kind

Even if you have to grit your teeth, try to say something nice. And if you really can’t say anything nice, shut up and smile.

10. Keep Your Sense of Humor

A very dear friend tells this story: “When I was pregnant with my first child, my father-in-law bought me a special gift: My very own funeral plot. ‘Why a funeral plot?’ I asked him. ‘Well,’ he replied, ‘you might not make it through the birth and I thought you should be prepared.'” I probably would have slugged the codger upside his head; my friend, in contrast, laughed and thanked him for his gift.

P.S. She and all her children are fine.

Do you only see your in-laws on holidays? Or maybe holidays are just super stressful? Check out our tips for dealing with in-laws on festive occasions.

September 28, 2016 By Beth | Heads up: Buying via our links may result in us getting a commission. Also, we take your privacy rights seriously. Head here to learn more.

Although it’s only the end of September, many of us are starting to think about the holiday season. For those who are coupled up, this might mean heading to your partner’s parents house, or hosting them at your place. It also might mean you’re white knuckling it through Thanksgiving and counting the minutes until the Christmas gift exchange is over. If you live close to your in-laws, the holidays may be the least of your worries. Maybe you’re just trying to get through the weekly Sunday dinner. A lot can contribute to a dicey relationship with your in-laws: different values, political views, communication styles, backgrounds, and so on. Despite the frustration you may feel at having to deal with your spouse’s family, it’s pretty hard to avoid. If you’ve had a long-bruised relationship with your in-laws, this won’t be a magic solution, but the following nuggets of wisdom may help ease the pain a bit.

This you when your in-laws’ Buick pulls up in front of your house? (image credit)

You marry the family, not just the person

If your spouse is close to his family, or even just sees them on a regular basis, it is absolutely a truism that you commit to not just the person, but the family as well. Going into this arrangement accepting this fact is crucial. It will prepare you for the long haul. You’ll see each other at weddings, funerals, and holidays. You’ll deal with family drama together. And unless your spouse’s family patriarch is Charles Manson, you should really support your spouse being close to his family–it’s healthy and important to keep those ties.

Find common ground

You can’t change your in-laws. If your spouse’s father is a passive-aggressive type who refuses to addresses conflict directly, and you’re more of a lay-it-all-on-the-table type, it’s pretty unlikely anything you do will change that. Accept that this will always be something that drives you insane. Then try to find something that you do have in common. Do you both like to read sci-fi? Garden? Watch baseball? Cook? Fish? Find something, anything, and connect. Cultivate your mutual interest in it by discussing or doing things related to it. Trust me, it’s a lot better than spending your time together staring at each other blankly and occasionally making comments about the weather.

Apologies to all the awesome mothers-in-law out there…

Compromise

Ugh, the worst part of being an adult, right? Why can’t we just have what we want all the time? Although it is fair and right to set boundaries, you do have to compromise. A little. That means you can’t ban her parents from your house. It means you do have to go to family birthday parties, and maybe, occasionally, her nephew’s band concert. Grab a pair of ear plugs, gird your loins, and Godspeed.

Set boundaries

Mom-in-law comes by without calling to drop off the hideous knickknacks she purchased at the church craft sale? Dad-in-law assumes he’s always welcome to watch his football games on a better television set? Sister-in-law thinks you’ll usually be free to watch her devil-spawn twins? Whatever your partner is accustomed to before you came into the picture, this will have to change, at least a little. Broach the topic gently. After all, this has been the status quo for a long time. Give both parties time to adjust, and suggest small changes. Maybe Dad comes over only every other week, and you convince Mom to call at least an hour before she wants to stop by.

Set boundaries, you say? I have just the thing…(image credit)

Put each other first

Surely you’ve heard this one before, right? Family of origin is important. The people who raised you and made you–if you or your partner treasure those ties as an adult, that’s marvelous. But once you start a new family (which includes picking a mate), that union has to come first. Avoid arguing in front of either set of parents, and never make a beef that you have with your in-laws part of your relationship with your spouse. Be each other’s champions, have each other’s backs.

You and your husband have the perfect marriage but that doesn’t mean things can’t change. That’s why I am sharing these 8 Tips to Protect Your Marriage from In-Laws. Sometimes, you simply don’t like your in-laws. Sometimes they are just meddling all the time. The tips below will help keep your in-laws from SABOTAGING your marriage!

How to adjust with in laws

8 Tips to Protect Your Marriage from In-Laws

While you didn’t enter your marriage looking for an ax to grind with your in-laws, over the course of your marriage you’ve had cause to question their character and morality. In fact, there have been many times that you’ve wished you could just divorce yourself from them. Unfortunately, you can’t! So what can you do?

According to marriage and family therapist Lesli M. W. Doares, MS, LMFT of Balanced Family Therapy and author of the forthcoming book Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage: How to Create Your Happily Ever After With More Intention, Less Work, it is possible for a marriage to survive even when you don’t get along with your in-laws, but it takes a clear understanding and agreement between you and your spouse. The old saying about marrying your partner’s family is true to the extent you let it be,  says Doares. Extended family can have a strong impact on your marriage, so it’s a subject better dealt with head-on and not left to chance.

Your allegiance should be to your spouse

Of course, you are still a member of your family of origin and that familial relationship is important. However, note Doares, both of you must remember that once you marry, your allegiance should shift to your partner.

You are forming a new family that takes priority over the old, says Doares. Hopefully, everybody can get along. But in any disagreement between spouse and family, you need to side with your spouse if their position is reasonable and rational. If someone has to be disappointed, it should be the in-laws, not your partner.

Spouses need to manage their relationships with their parents

Because you are the one with feet in both camps, it is your job to manage the relationship with your parents. If you truly want to protect your marriage from meddling inlaws, this is a must. It is unfair and, ultimately, unworkable to leave this role to your spouse. This means you will have to deal with any outstanding issues you have with your parents.

Couples must define and enforce reasonable boundaries with their respective parents

When it comes to abusive, meddling, advice giving, or surprise visiting in-laws, what you tell them about your relationship, holiday celebrations, child rearing, etc. don’t allow behaviors or habits to start that you don’t want to live with for the length of your marriage. While you can’t stop your parents from trying to do what they want, notes Doares, calmly refusing to go along with them is your choice.

If your in-laws don’t want anything to do with the grandchildren it is their loss, not your fault

The more you try to change their minds or behavior, the more power you give them in your lives, advises Doares. Grieve their choice, provide appropriate information about your family, manage your hurt, and move on.

Sometimes you can try all these things and there will still be animosity between your spouse and your parents

Learn to let go of that idea of one big happy family says Doares. You don’t have to choose between them to have a happy marriage. Your spouse may never want to have anything to do with your family but you can still be in contact with them. You will just have to adjust your expectations about when and how you see them while protecting your marriage at the same time. Sometimes, if you can drop your end of the rope and stop trying to make everyone get along, the two parties can change their position over time.

Eight DOs and DONTs for surviving the in-law wars

#1 DO prioritize

Your partner and your marriage are your top priority. Protect your marriage.

#2 DO set boundaries

You and your spouse must clearly define the boundaries of your marriage. This means deciding who comes in, when, and under what circumstances. You promised to forsake all others. This means your parents.

#3 DO figure out holidays up front

As early as possible, decide how you want to spend holidays and other important occasions as a couple. Do not just go along and hope you can change it later.

#4 DO be a team

Recognize you cannot change your family’s behavior, only your response to it. Have a clear and united response that supports your marriage.

#5 DO keep an open mind

Listen to your partner’s viewpoint and feelings about your family with an open mind and heart. Don’t automatically defend your family.

#6 DON’T betray your spouse to your parents

Be clear about what is okay to share about your marriage with your parents. Do not betray your spouse’s confidences or vulnerabilities. Make sure you tell them about the positive aspects of your spouse and marriage.

#7 DON’T force the relationship

If you cannot reconcile your partner and your parents, stop trying. Do not force your spouse to be with them if it is too hurtful. It’s okay to visit them alone.

#8 DO be the bad cop

You are the spokesman and enforcer for your marriage to your parents. Do not leave it to your partner to work things out with your parents. Let their relationship be as easy as possible.

As you can see, there are a few easy things you can do to protect your marriage from meddling in-laws. While not all in-laws are bad, you should still consider these tips so you don’t make a bad situation in your marriage.

September 28, 2016 By Beth | Heads up: Buying via our links may result in us getting a commission. Also, we take your privacy rights seriously. Head here to learn more.

Although it’s only the end of September, many of us are starting to think about the holiday season. For those who are coupled up, this might mean heading to your partner’s parents house, or hosting them at your place. It also might mean you’re white knuckling it through Thanksgiving and counting the minutes until the Christmas gift exchange is over. If you live close to your in-laws, the holidays may be the least of your worries. Maybe you’re just trying to get through the weekly Sunday dinner. A lot can contribute to a dicey relationship with your in-laws: different values, political views, communication styles, backgrounds, and so on. Despite the frustration you may feel at having to deal with your spouse’s family, it’s pretty hard to avoid. If you’ve had a long-bruised relationship with your in-laws, this won’t be a magic solution, but the following nuggets of wisdom may help ease the pain a bit.

This you when your in-laws’ Buick pulls up in front of your house? (image credit)

You marry the family, not just the person

If your spouse is close to his family, or even just sees them on a regular basis, it is absolutely a truism that you commit to not just the person, but the family as well. Going into this arrangement accepting this fact is crucial. It will prepare you for the long haul. You’ll see each other at weddings, funerals, and holidays. You’ll deal with family drama together. And unless your spouse’s family patriarch is Charles Manson, you should really support your spouse being close to his family–it’s healthy and important to keep those ties.

Find common ground

You can’t change your in-laws. If your spouse’s father is a passive-aggressive type who refuses to addresses conflict directly, and you’re more of a lay-it-all-on-the-table type, it’s pretty unlikely anything you do will change that. Accept that this will always be something that drives you insane. Then try to find something that you do have in common. Do you both like to read sci-fi? Garden? Watch baseball? Cook? Fish? Find something, anything, and connect. Cultivate your mutual interest in it by discussing or doing things related to it. Trust me, it’s a lot better than spending your time together staring at each other blankly and occasionally making comments about the weather.

Apologies to all the awesome mothers-in-law out there…

Compromise

Ugh, the worst part of being an adult, right? Why can’t we just have what we want all the time? Although it is fair and right to set boundaries, you do have to compromise. A little. That means you can’t ban her parents from your house. It means you do have to go to family birthday parties, and maybe, occasionally, her nephew’s band concert. Grab a pair of ear plugs, gird your loins, and Godspeed.

Set boundaries

Mom-in-law comes by without calling to drop off the hideous knickknacks she purchased at the church craft sale? Dad-in-law assumes he’s always welcome to watch his football games on a better television set? Sister-in-law thinks you’ll usually be free to watch her devil-spawn twins? Whatever your partner is accustomed to before you came into the picture, this will have to change, at least a little. Broach the topic gently. After all, this has been the status quo for a long time. Give both parties time to adjust, and suggest small changes. Maybe Dad comes over only every other week, and you convince Mom to call at least an hour before she wants to stop by.

Set boundaries, you say? I have just the thing…(image credit)

Put each other first

Surely you’ve heard this one before, right? Family of origin is important. The people who raised you and made you–if you or your partner treasure those ties as an adult, that’s marvelous. But once you start a new family (which includes picking a mate), that union has to come first. Avoid arguing in front of either set of parents, and never make a beef that you have with your in-laws part of your relationship with your spouse. Be each other’s champions, have each other’s backs.

How Do HR Professionals Research Laws and Regulations?

How to adjust with in laws

How do professional Human Resources practitioners keep up-to-date on federal and state policy issues and laws that affect the areas for which HR is responsible? Laws and policies are ever-changing and they vary from state to state and in various world-wide countries. The variation is even greater if you serve an international team because you have employees in more than one country.

For example, healthcare, labor and employment laws, retirement, injury, and worker’s compensation, unemployment, paid time off, and other laws and regulations that affect employment all deserve constant attention. In a frequently encountered question, HR professionals ask whether a database or some other resource exists that will help HR practitioners keep track of state, federal, and international HR-related policies?

The Bad News About Keeping Up With State, Federal, Local, and International HR Resources

Lacking a single source to recommend for keeping up-to-date with the US and worldwide employment laws and regulations, most HR managers have cobbled together a number of ways to keep track of changing laws and policies.

Most people who work in HR have created a similar list. It’s not the best, but it does help keep HR managers up-to-date on the laws and regulations. This is increasingly important in this litigious world in the US. Worldwide is perhaps better but you still want to follow the law.

Employment law questions are part of the workday, pretty much every day, when you work in HR. It seems that every employee’s situation is an exception so you struggle to treat employees fairly and with a consistent approach. You want to make wise decisions for the business but you want to look out for the interests of employees as well.

You know that you are setting precedents for other employees every time that you make a decision so you must take that into consideration, too. All of this thinking and decision making is in addition to knowing and understanding existing case law and recent court decisions. It also recognizes the friction that can exist between the interests of the employees and the interests of the organization.

Resources for Staying Up-to-Date in HR

Following are resources that HR professionals and managers can use to stay up-to-date on issues relating to the legal and ethical practice of HR services.

Society for Human Resource Management Services

Subscribe to the Society for Human Resource Management’s legislative updates. To receive them, you definitely need to become a member. They have other useful newsletters and tools and access to the website is important for staying abreast of changing laws and regulations. They offer a lot of free content, but the most important articles and policy samples reside behind a paid-only firewall.

Use the Services of Additional Professional Associations

Depending on your specific interests, job title, and job description, additional associations exist that you may want to consider joining. These are 12 of the best known. They each have a different reason for existing with a distinct mission.

  • Association for Talent Development
  • WorldatWork
  • Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology
  • College and University Professional Association for Human Resources
  • American Payroll Association
  • National Human Resources Association
  • National Association of African-Americans in Human Resources
  • International Public Management Association for Human Resources
  • Human Capital Institute
  • Academy of Human Resource Development
  • SHRM Executive Network: HR People + Strategy
  • International Association for Human Resources Information Management

Contract With an Employment Law Attorney

The most important way that many companies are kept up-to-date, though, is to have an employment law attorney on a contract and their office sends legislative updates for anything going on in your state or at the federal level. For example, substantial guides to the Affordable Care Act changes have been a priority as have been best practices for returning to work.

Hire an attorney who takes time to know you, who understands your company culture and the goals that you have with your employees.

Subscribe to Government Publications From Relevant Departments

Subscribe to email updates from the Department of Labor and subscribe to email updates from your state Department of Labor (or its equivalent), too. Every state has an equivalent organization that deals with employment law and rules and regulations for the specific state. You can find links to the state offices on the DOL website.   Many countries have an office dedicated to employment as well. All of their organization names vary but they all help you stay in the know.

Public Sector Resources

Public sector employment: no opportunity exists that will let you check all states’ regulations at one location. People with a specific state or country question need to contact their equivalent of a department of labor, cited above. HR professionals have also found “State and Local Government on the Net”   and “Federal Public Sector Employment Law Toolkit”   which provide some links to topics, useful in their professional HR work.

Privately Owned Websites

The best private-sector sites for HR information provide some free content but many of them have become paid sites. It is impossible to stay abreast of all private sector sites especially since so much of their content is behind a paywall. You might look at sites such as these that also offer tons of free content in addition. They are in no particular order as they all have fine offerings.

  • TheBalanceCareers: Human Resources
  • HR-BLR
  • HR.com
  • Workforce.com
  • Deloitte.
  • Talent Management and HR (TLNT)
  • NOLO Employment Law Center
  • The Harvard Business Review
  • Korn Ferry Institute
  • MERCER
  • Cornell Legal Information Institute
  • Wolters Kluwer Business Owner’s Toolkit

It’s impossible to keep up with all the laws that have an impact on this site’s worldwide audience without the assistance of the above resources.

The Bottom Line

To emphasize the most important source of information, one more time: find a professional, knowledgeable attorney and make him or her a part of your HR team. Provide the time necessary for the attorney to understand your approach to employees and your company culture. You’ll be happy that you did.

How to adjust with in laws

If you’ve ever lived with extended family, you’ve probably learned that it has its pros and cons. There are quite a few reasons why you might end up living with your in-laws. Perhaps you’re saving money, and it makes financial sense for you and your partner; maybe someone is sick and requires special care, or it might be part of your culture for the family to share a home.

Whatever the reason, this living situation can come with its own challenges. It’s easy to get on each other’s nerves when living in tight quarters. Disagreements aren’t uncommon, and there may be adjustments to a new lack of privacy and independence—but don’t worry. There are plenty of solutions to get along peacefully with your partner’s parents.

Living with your in-laws can also bring heaps of benefits. Both parties can help each other in a variety of ways. For instance, there are more people to potentially pitch in by cooking dinner, picking the kids up from school, and helping out with chores or daily responsibilities. Of course, the greatest silver lining is the opportunity to get to know each other better and bond as a family.

No matter what your specific situation may be, adjusting to sharing your space will be much more seamless if you put in the effort and prepare properly. So how do you survive the transition together? Keep reading for five ways to master the art of living with in-laws.

Set Boundaries

You might wonder at first if it’s a good idea to live with your partner’s family. Before making the decision, talk to your spouse about what life will be like when you move in together. “Chances are, in-laws’ values will differ to a larger or smaller extent, depending on the family,” says expert Elizabeth Dorrance Hall, Ph.D. “Respect for one another’s values can be shown by asking about certain issues, actually listening, and responding in calm, respectful ways.”

It’s helpful to come up with some ground rules around the house. If you take turns with household chores like taking out the garbage or making meals, you can avoid one person feeling like all the responsibilities land on their shoulders. Maybe one family member would rather commit to doing the dishes than folding laundry (or even mowing the lawn). Few of us enjoy every single chore, but it’s possible to share them together in a beneficial way.

By communicating with each other about daily life, everyone gets to have a voice, and you’ll be able to find a system you’re satisfied with as a whole. It may be uncomfortable, but you should also discuss living costs to know which expenses you’ll need to cover. Another rule might be that you and your spouse must have at least one night a week to yourselves. The important part is to create some guidelines that will help you get along and feel at ease, regardless of who you’re living with.

Find Privacy

One thing married couples need—especially newlyweds—is privacy. It’s the only way to have intimacy, get to know each other better, and build your own family. Although it may be more difficult to find privacy when living with extended family, there are a few ways to ensure you’ll have your own space. Even if you’re in a small home or apartment, try designating certain areas that are off-limits to you or your in-laws, like the bedroom.

It’s all the better if you can set up a separate living space within the same complex or house. This way, you don’t have to be around each other 24/7, and you’ll be able to maintain your independence while still relying on one another from time to time. If you’re not getting enough time alone with your spouse, it might be helpful to plan regular date nights or do household errands together to find a few hours for yourselves every week.

Stay Out of Family Arguments

Living with parents can bring up a lot of old memories and habits, so don’t be surprised if there are problems with your in-laws. Your spouse may be tempted to fall into patterns from childhood when they’re spending so much time with the people who raised them.

“It is an open secret amongst psychotherapists that if we want to test how far our clients have progressed, we send them home to spend Thanksgiving with their own families. It is amazing how quickly we become our worst selves when we return to the house in which we made our first acquaintance with love and power,” says expert Andrea F. Polard, Psy.D.

It’s understandable for your spouse to feel trapped, or even resentful, about the situation; however, this could lead to arguments. When your partner gets into a disagreement with their parent, you might want to stay out of it. Let them ride it out together.

Your spouse may also let their parents take over their personal responsibilities once you move in together. When your in-laws are doing your partner’s chores, you might be understandably concerned that you’ll end up taking over when you’re on your own again one day. That weight should be distributed evenly—so don’t be afraid to have a conversation with your partner about what you expect from them in the household. Eventually, everyone will find their own rhythm and be able to live together harmoniously.

Pick Your Battles

Besides staying out of arguments your spouse might have with their immediate family, you may want to avoid getting into arguments with your in-laws yourself (which might be easier said than done). “You might not be good enough in their eyes. This never feels good,” says Polard. “Because trying to disprove a fantasy is as futile as it is exhausting, the best you can do is to be okay with the verdict.”

That’s not to say, however, that you shouldn’t speak up for yourself if you feel some boundaries have been crossed. For instance, if your mother-in-law keeps walking into your bedroom unannounced, you can ask her to knock in the future. Or, if your brother-in-law makes a habit of eating breakfast in his underwear every morning, it’s alright to ask him to get dressed first. It might take some time to create a comfortable living situation for everyone; remember that your spouse’s family is adjusting to you, too.

On the other hand, if someone makes one fleeting comment, you might consider letting it go rather than picking a fight. It’s consistent behavior and comments that you’ll want to focus on addressing. If you feel your in-laws are being too controlling at home, approach the situation delicately, and identify some specific ways you can live better together.

Ask for Help When You Need It

Dealing with your in-laws can bring on different types of stress and emotions for everyone in the household. “Casual, non-committed relationships just don’t go where it hurts. Quite frankly, not that many people care as deeply about what you do and do not do as your in-laws,” says Polard. If the situation becomes overwhelming or you’re feeling depressed, you might consider seeing a family therapist or counselor. An objective party could be just what you need to work things out and avoid conflict.

There’s no shame in asking for help when you need it—especially if your in-laws are hurting your marriage. It might be nice to save money or help out family, but if it could lead you toward divorce, it’s time to think about your options. You might think about seeing a marriage counselor, or if it’s necessary, finding a way to change your living situation. While relationships with family are an important priority, your marriage and happiness should be, too.

Here’s what’s driving the behavior, and how you can respond.

How to adjust with in laws

MILs, DILs, SILs — if the word “in-law” is in the name, the relationship is bound to be tricky. DILs complain about their MILs; MILs complain about their SILs. And one set of in-laws complains about the other set of in-laws.

And unlike dealing with a friend who’s toxic, you can’t exactly just cut them off. (Well, you can, but not without paying a hefty price.)

Jennifer Freed, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and family therapist in California, says that most problems arise from an in-law who doesn’t exude maturity. That means that you have to be the adult — with a lot of understanding and a great sense of humor. Easy? Not at all. But you can do it.

1. The No-Boundaries In-Law

Your DIL shows up unannounced at your house, grandkids in tow, because “the kids really wanted to see you right now.” (And she stays even if it’s clear that you’re busy.) Or your SIL assumes you’ll watch the kids before he even asks. Boundary issues, anyone?

What drives the behavior: Like exuberant puppies, people without good boundaries are so excited about connecting with others, they aren’t always aware of needs outside their own. Underneath that enthusiasm lies anxiety to get what they want, which makes their behavior anything from incredibly annoying to downright rude.

How to respond: Acknowledge the good, then ask for what you need. Example: “We love spending time with you and the grandkids. We’re just asking that you call, ask, or inform us beforehand.” Say it whenever necessary.

2. The Over-Sharing In-Law

The other set of in-laws love to tell you intimate details about your daughter and their son. They also share details about their son’s business, details he probably told them in confidence. Oversharers tell others information that is inappropriate — and often embarrassing to hear.

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What drives the behavior: “The oversharer has probably never felt sufficiently responded to,” says Dr. Freed, “and learned that by telling too much, he or she definitely got attention.”

How to respond: Forget trying to change the behavior — it’s ingrained. Rather, use humor (“Here we go again!”) or change the subject. But most important, watch what you say with this kind of in-law. Don’t share what you don’t want broadcast everywhere.

3. The Overly Sensitive In-Law

You dine or vacation with your son and DIL and promptly get grilled by your other DIL She wants to know when you’ll be dining or vacationing with them. After all, it’s only fair, right?

What drives the behavior: Overly sensitive people see their world as a list of losses. They are also highly competitive with their counterparts. Though there can be five good things to every slight, they focus on the slights.

How to respond: Don’t take personally what they take personally. Accept that they are not out to deliberately hurt you, but conversely, do not rescue them. Acknowledge their feelings by saying, “We love being with both sets of our kids,” not, “Okay, when do you want to go out for dinner?” “If you treat them as if they can handle both the perceived slight and your acknowledgment of it,” says Dr. Freed, “they will get over it.” If you try to make everything even steven, you’re fueling the fire.

4. The Control-Freak In-Law

The other set of in-laws plans so far ahead that by the time you invite the kids for a holiday, they’re already booked up. Ditto birthdays, vacations, and special events.

What drives the behavior: For control freaks everything is about the need to feel safe and secure in an unstable world. Anything outside the realm of their control (you, your family, their adult child, the rest of the world) is very threatening.

How to respond: Forget trying to out-control a controller. It will make things worse. Rather, talk to your adult kids and say, “We totally understand your wanting to spend time with the other parents, but we’d like to spend some holidays with you too.” If the adult kids waffle, try this, “We feel lonely and marginalized when you do every holiday (birthday, whatever) with Tom’s parents.” Let them figure out how to make it work.

5. The Strings-Attached In-Law

Every time your SIL offers to help you with something around the house, he says, “It’s gonna cost you.” Smile, smile. No favor is a favor with this kind of person; it’s a bargaining chip for when he (and maybe your daughter) need something from you.

What drives the behavior: “People who attach strings to kind deeds don’t really believe others will love them unless they have to,” says Dr. Freed. “Somewhere along the line, they learned that bribery might sustain a relationship.”

How to respond: It’s imperative to let your SIL know that your connection with him stands outside his offers to help. Tell him, “We always appreciate your help, but when there are conditions, it feels like we’re in a brokerage not a relationship.”

Then show him you care about him by making dates to get together one-on-one — invite him to a ball game, out for burgers, anything that shows him you value him for more than just what he does for you.

6. The Fundamentalist In-Law

You and your spouse are moderates in everything you do. Somehow, however, your moderately raised child marries a person so politically or religiously fundamental that you feel constantly judged, damned, insulted, or dismissed for any beliefs that run counter to the “correct” one.

What drives the behavior: “Most humans have a core need for beliefs,” says Dr. Freed, “but for intractable thinkers, those beliefs become an antidote to the terrifying uncertainty and ambiguity of life.” Their beliefs are as essential to them as crutches to someone who breaks a leg.

How to respond: There’s absolutely no changing their beliefs, so become a master at steering the conversation to areas of common interest. Be understanding that these fundamental beliefs are a coping mechanism, not a slam against you.

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How to adjust with in laws

Mother and daughter-in-law conflicts can range from general disagreements to passive-aggressiveness and manipulation. Perhaps you have unmet expectations of one another. You may have brought up your kids differently from how she was raised. If you feel your daughter-in-law’s manipulative behavior is causing problems for you, it can be hard to settle the problem with your son and grandkids in the middle. When dealing with a manipulative daughter-in-law, tread carefully but stand your ground in order to protect yourself as well as your family relationships.

Step 1

Recognize manipulative behavior. A manipulative in-law may use subtle tactics, which can make you question why you feel threatened, according to “Manipulative Family Members or Partners” by clinical social worker Tom Fletcher and mental health counselor Anita Fletcher of Fletcher Counseling PPLC. Make a mental note of times when your daughter-in-law plays the victim by becoming defensive and accusing you of being the one at fault. Be aware of when she exploits your weaknesses and takes advantage of them. Recognize when she is trying to turn family members against each other — such as you and your son or you and your grandchildren — to get her way.

Step 2

Assert your boundaries and don’t feel guilty for saying “no.” Speak up in a calm but assertive — not aggressive — manner when you recognize your daughter-in-law’s attempt to manipulate you. Stand firm to show her know that she cannot use underhanded tactics to control situations where you are concerned. “I don’t appreciate being emotionally blackmailed. If you would like me to do something, ask me directly and we can discuss it without using the children as a pawn.” Lay out a consequence for an overstepped boundary. For example, “The next time I am unable to babysit and you threaten to leave your children unattended, I will have to ask you to hire a real babysitter.” This will show her that you are not going to fall into her trap of believing that you are at fault.

Step 3

Hold her accountable for her own feelings and actions. Be prepared for her to shift the blame to make you feel guilty, warns family therapist Kim Jones in the blog post “emotional manipulation” on her website. It is important to hold her accountable — otherwise, she may never change, says psychologist George Simon in “Playing the Blame Game as a Manipulation Tactic” on the Counselling Resource website. Refuse to apologize when she tries to make you feel bad for something that is not your fault.

Step 4

Shine a light on her behavior. Ask her questions that reveal her manipulative behavior, suggests professor of communications Preston Ni in “How to Spot and Deal With Manipulative People” for Psychology Today. “Do you think it is fair to ask me to loan you that much money? I care about you and my son, but I have my own debts to pay off.” Try to sound more logical than angry. This may open her eyes to how unreasonable her requests sound.

Step 5

Gain control by using time. When your daughter-in-law makes selfish or unreasonable demands, pushing for an immediate answer may be her way to pressure you into an agreement that you don’t want to make. Tell her you will take some time to think about her request. This will give you some time to think about whether she is asking too much of you.

Step 6

Consider therapy. Find a therapist who specializes in in-law relationships. You may have to shop around for a therapist that is right for you. The therapist may be able to help you through specific situations regarding your daughter-in-law, son and grandchildren. If you think her manipulative behavior is affecting other family members, consider asking the rest of the family to join you in therapy.