As couples across the country prepare to visit their families, DRUM has some tips on how to deal with difficult in-laws.
Let them help
Yes, your mother in-law has often said your chicken is dry and criticised your decorations but there is a simple solution to this: let her help you. While you sort out the salads and other desserts, give her responsibility to cook something to avoid the drama. The move will also allow for you to spend some quality time together and hopefully develop a newfound understanding of each other.
Keep your manners
“You are looking a little thicker than usual.” “When are you guys giving me a grandchild?”
These are questions everyone has to face at every gathering but it can be even harder to handle from in-laws who come from a mean-spirited place. Rather than mouthing off and letting them see how much it bothers you, rise above it and keep your cool. Hold your tongue to keep the peace.
Plan a group activity
Watching a movie, playing a board game or even taking a walk together – these are just some of the activities everyone can participate in to keep the peace. It acts as a great distraction from the usual, bickering or critiquing that will undoubtedly arise during this time.
Singing Christmas carols or cooking a seven-course meal may be traditions you grew up with but your in-laws don’t have to the same beliefs. The holidays are a chance to create new traditions and adapt old ones. Try finding out why they’re so important to your in-laws and also let them know the significance of yours. Assuming they don’t respect what you believe in may be at the root of the problem. Communication and understanding should be key to how you handle them during this season.
Set a time limit
The festive season is family time so if you’re having difficulty with your in-laws, go be with other family members. You can spend one night with the in-laws to appease them but for the remainder of the season, travel to be with the one cousin who is more like a sister or have one-on-one time with your spouse. It’s also important to make sure you spend time with both sides of the family, so this reason is good enough for you to cut short time with in-laws giving you a headache.