How do I get along with my son or daughter's mother-in-law?

When your children get married, it can be hard to immediately bond with your son or daughter-in-law's new family. What are some ways to make sure you get along with your child's mother-in-law and what should you do in the case that you don't?

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18  Answers

15 50

Both of my son's have wonderful in-laws and we get along wonderfully with both sets of in-laws.
My daughter-in-laws are also wonderful loving people whom I have accepted into my family as my own daughters, since I didn't have any. I respect all of them and realize that a daughter is close to her mother and family and we as the SON's parents will most often take second place when it comes to holidays and such. That is okay with me. I don't mind if my children are not with my husband and I on the exact date of a special occasion as I know they love us and it is hard to meld families and holidays without hard feelings. My youngest son's wife's family has a tradition of spending Christmas Eve with one side of the family and Christmas Day with the other side.
Where does that leave Dad and I?? When they come home, they plan to spend a day with us, whenever is okay with me. Christmas Day is a day that can be celebrated on many days not just Dec 25. So my answer would be to be flexible with your children and don't make an issue which makes them feel quilty about choosing between parents. Don't make your son/daughter-in-law feel as though they are in competiion with you. THEY ARE NOW AS ONE which means that mom(you) are in second place. Accept that and they will LOVE you for understanding.

9
0 6

You are so lucky dear, I think its because you yourself have a positive attitude. We parents sometimes confuse children and the whole situation by trying to compete, as long as we understand that daughters are closer to their mothers, than obviously mother's in law, we have no problem, we should live with that, it doesn't mean that they don't love their mother's-in-law.

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0 8

Just except them for who they are because if you don't it just make's thing's hard between you and your child! Beside's you have your own Mother-in-law to deal with,LOL!

7
8 13

Treat them like you want them to treat you - with respect and friendliness.
Remember you are their child's mother-in-law, too!

5
2 1

I let her have her glory when we are together as she seems to thrive on it. Family is so important that it's just the right thing to do.

4
2 0

Treat them as if you were the sales representative at a major firm - you want their good will no matter what it takes and your job depends on it. Don't choose to fight it out when you don't like their behavior, because it will have repercussions that will ripple through the family and may be irreparable (and may hurt you the most in the long run). Just remember - you won't see them that often so it won't hurt you to ignore even the nastiest behavior. If you want lessons, just try being nasty to a good sales rep. and see how they handle you (ha ha). The important thing is making life good for your son or daughter and their family and keeping them happy with you.
Also, if you believe in prayer, pray for them (really). Ask God to help you see them through His eyes. They are his children, too. How would He want you to treat them (even when they are bad children). And remember, it's not your job to 'punish' them. If you need to vent, go home and vent to your spouse or a friend (or beat up a pillow).

3
2 0

I should add that my comments are for people who are not fortunate enough to have all lovely in-laws. I had a difficult mother-in-law who loved to put me down and make jabs at me and how I raised my kids (she did that with the other daughter-in-law, too). I also have one daughter-in-law who treats everyone that way. Fortunately, the rest of my family are wonderful. But we can't all be lucky so my advice is for others who aren't always lucky with every relative.

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6 1

I bite my tongue!! Then I remember to be thankful she gave birth to my son's lovely and wonderful wife.

2
3 14

I Am polite but they are not my best friends & I am not married to them. I fortunately don't live near them. I don' t pretend. I accept them as part of my child's circle not mine

1
132 34

Try not to create a snarky relationship over the grandchildren and how they should be disciplined etc. It's not a competition. I've got a blog post I wrote about clashes of parenting philosophies and how to handle them, which applies equally to this situation:
http://auntannieschildcare.blogspot.com/2012/01/caught-in-clash-of-parenting.html

Also don't expect too much. You may have little or nothing in common other than your children; don't impose an expectation of lots of contact and playing 'happy families' all the time- they may not want that. If there's not much to share other than exchanging pleasantries about your children, don't worry too much and don't push it.

Most importantly- if conflict arises between your children, DON'T TAKE SIDES and don't make assumptions about right and wrong. Your kids will probably sort it out, and at the end of that you don't want to have ruined the in-law relationship by blaming the in-laws' child when you don't have all the facts. Butt out!

1
30 0

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0
0 28

I get along with my son don't care for his fiance, and love my daughters husband he wants to be part of the family.

0
3 15

I have always been able to get along with in-laws...many of them, sometimes they do things I don't approve of but it's their business as long as it does not affect my son and daughter-laws relationship.

0
19 7

I had a terrible mil, she constantly ctiticized everything I did from housework to cooking raising children to the "way I looked after my husband" she used to say. I didn't help her enough when we were at her place or I wanted to take over different complaint every time. I realized after many years that she was jealous of me as I had my own money, job, car, travelled, the options to do what I wanted with my life and she hadn't done anything except go from her parents house to her husband's and look after children and a house. When I realized that and tried to be nicer to her it didn't make a difference to our relationship she was miserable to me until the day she died.
One of our daughter's mil and I will never be bosom buddies but I am civil to her when we see each other at family gatherings. We have competely different lifestyles and different values. She was married young had 2 children very soon after, divorced, re-married and divorced 2x, had another child, loved with several different men. Our son-in-law left home at 14 and lived with his grandmother until he finished college in fact he didn't speak to or see his mother for about 8 yrs. His brother and sister also left as soon as they could. Before he and our daughter married my daughter convinced him to re-establish contact with his mother and there were definate rules and boundaries that were put in place that she has to go by.
The first few times we met she was very defensive and tried to make out that she had been such a great mother and all kids move out at 14 and mine were the strange ones to still be at home until college university age. I didn't grow up in Canada and she would mention things that were particular to Canada and when I said I didn't know what she was referring to she would say to my husband " you remember such and such don't you?" They both grew up in a small towns so she claimed they had a lot in common and a small town bond. My husband is 15 years older than her and I am not sure what bond they had. This happened a few times and when I mentioned it to my husband he said he was just talking to her and being polite. I know he was and she isn't good looking so I am sure there was nothing on his part, hers I am not sure. After that when she was around I made sure whenever she started to chat him up I interefened and asked him to do something or help our son-in-law with the bar-ba-que or whatever any excuse would do. Eventually I think she got the hint but a family gathering is coming up in a few weeks so we will see what happens. Our son-in-law's grandmother and I get along very well.
Our other daughter's mil lives overseas and she doesn't speak English very well but when we see each other we have managed to communicate and go along very well. My ex daughter-in-law's mother and I got along great and she also was a single working mom. Go figure.

I think the key is to realize that these people are going to be in your life for quite a few years and you don't have to become best freinds unless you want to but you do have to be civil as you will be sharing grandchildren and have mutual adult children in common and will be meeting sometime. it makes life so much easier and at family gatherings you don't have tension you can cut with a knife.

0
2 0

Yes, I agree. It's a shame that people have to be so divisive, but we can't change anyone else, only ourselves.

11 13

When our daughter married her Mr Wonderful, we accepted him with open arms, as we did his mother, sister and 2 older brothers. His older brothers never had a bar of us and one did not even come to their wedding. His other moved far away just after. His sister thinks we are beneath her, but we dont have to worry. His mother is god of all and wont even come to visit them as they and theri 3 year old son live with us. She only meets them for a coffee once a week at Mc Donalds, and will not have them visit her as OUR grandson is too messy. As they say you cannot pick your inlaws. Our son-in-law has since been brainwashed by her and left our daughter and his son and gone back to live with her. He stays over weekends and we still love him, but have lost respect for what he has done to our daughter. So even if you try, sometimes you may just never succeed in getting along with the OUT LAWS.

0
2 0

Wow - that's really toxic. Leaving your family to move back in with Mom is so unhealthy that it defies words. I hope your daughter is moving on and building a better life for herself and her son. It's a shame when the 'outlaws' as you called them can destroy relationships like that.

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1 0

I am @ a loss!
Background; I have 5 sons, 1 daughter.2 sons married, love my daughter-in-laws & their families.
My daughter has lived on other side of Canada since 2005. She met young man there in 2008 and broke up with the boyfriend she moved there to be near. She brought him to BC, to see the mountains, in the summer of 2008, and we met him. He fell over himself to be accepted.He did not come back with her, when her younger brother came home to marry, 2009. Instead, chose to quietly, in kahoots with, move my daughter's possessions out of my marrying son's house.(they were room mates), to a building, 50 feet from his parents' home. Neither, my daughter-in-law nor my son knew what he was up to, until they got back home. Stuff went missing, including another roommates canoe, which my son was storing.Neighbours witnessessed him & friend, taking the canoe & putting it on top of his vehicle.
He asked her to marry him about 8 months later.
I spent weeks & money on postage and making beautiful wedding invitations for her wedding.
All her family were making plans to travel from all across western Canada to attend wedding. I decided I would drive across Canada, 3 weeks early, with my 4 yr old grandaughter.
Her maid of honour & 1 of her bridesmaids would be travelling a long distance, also.
1 week before I was leaving, my daughter called to tell me all about the Bridal Shower that the groom & his mother had for her, that day! None of us knew anything about it. Not only, were none of us nvited, we never even heard about it.
After driving 7 days, and arriving late in evening, I spent 2 nights at my daughter's residents, on the living room floor.
The first evening there, his family, who live 50 feet away, were too busy, to meet me.
The 2nd morning, my grandaughter & I were woke up at 8:30 am, (which is 6:30am my time), shivering, because he had the door wide open. Him & his friends were busy moving numerous pieces of gyp rock, noisily, from upstairs, out the wide open door.
Later in the day, I found myself in the middle of a disagreement, with my daughter. First, over the groom's sister, having made her own version of wedding invitions & having mailed them out to his side of the family, and then, the subject went to, the groom & family were upset because, her brother & wife, had just drove out to her house, to pick up my grandaughter, for the day. I tried to extract myself, but by that time, my daughter's emotions were going over the top, and it did not go well.
Twice, I turned away from her, and she grabbed my arm, turning me towards her to scream & swear into my face, and would not stop. The second time I gave her a backhand to get her out of my face & away from me. To which she came right back at me, spun me around again, and continued to scream obscenities into my face. She had me backed up against a set of shelves. Once again, I back-handed her to try & get away from her. To which she grabbed hold of my left arm dragged me around to her back, then tried to flip me over top of her. I was able to use my body weight to avoid that happening. Then I fell over her leg that she stuck out and fell hard to the ground onto my right shoulder. While I was crawling on the floor, trying to find something to hang onto to try & get up off the floor, she was on her cell, calling the groom's father, for help! They both hung up and both called the police.
The police were very understanding, came to my defense. Told me not to just leave Ontario, because I would later regret missing the wedding.
My daughter was in the house crying and going on as if she'd been attacked.The groom pulled up and ran into the house.
It took me an hour to pack my vehicle back up and the 2 officers helped me carry all of my stuff out. I drove away, with no idea, where I was or where I was going.
I phoned my son, and him & his wife, made room for me.
She also found places for all our family to stay. Their friends and neighbours put us all up. My daughter-in-law even made up Thank You baskets for them.
This she managed to do while her family all arrived for my sons graduation from RMC, on the Thursday and Friday. They had all their possessions being packed up & moved out and were being transferred to my son's new posting. A 20 hour drive away, which they left to do Monday morning.
I told my daughter that she needed to find a way to drive the 2 hours to the airport and pick up her family, when they arrived. THAT was all the groom & her did.
The groom's family did not open their home for anyone.
My husband's family travelled also, from around the east to come to wedding. We had a big lunch for all family after the graduation, on the Thursday before wedding. Neither him or any of his family showed up, just my daughter.
I met the mother-in-law, after I'd gotten out of the limo, at the outdoor wedding. I walked over to her, put my hand out and introduced myself and gave her a hug. (I immediately wondered if she was abused)
Seconds later, it was time for me to walk down the isle.
The woman never spoke to me again. I never was introduced to the groom's father. A HUGE big mouthed man who avoided all eye contact with me as he spent the entire reception standing holding the exit door open.
I later learned that he had been bad mouthing me, to everyone, including one of my own sons, the entire night.
The next morning, we all learned that there had been a wedding breakfast and there was a planned, wedding gift opening party at the wedding couples home.
We only found out because my daughter-in-law called, to find out if my daughter was coming over to say goodbye to her brothers, leaving. When I asked her about the gift opening, My daughter said, "Well, you can come if you want.".
I had made up Thank You cards for her to use and sent her home with a Thank You gift for the groom's parents. To which I never heard a word from the parents or the groom.
That was May 2010.
I hear from my daughter occasionally.
Her older brothers have always claimed that she was spoiled and got away with everything.
I always thought that we were really close when she was growing up. Now, she claims verbal, physical and controlling abuse.
She says her marriage is based on honesty, genuine respect and unconditional love.
I am @ a loss.

0
2 0

You are not alone in this confusing mire of emotions that seem to rise up around some families. I hope you have the support of friends and perhaps a church - that always makes it easier. My mother suffered from anxiety and was verbally and physically abusive, but I chose to treat her with love and keep in touch despite her occasionally lapses (and our occasional misunderstandings and 'fights' - I had a bad wedding experience with her). She is now 89 years old and struggling with her health. I am glad that I didn't push her out of my life. If I had been through the mess you describe, I would personally seek out a professional councellor and have them help you put perspective on it - then you can decide if there are any things you can mend on your end and put the rest in it's proper place. In fact, there have been a couple of times in my life (including a divorce 35 years ago) when councelling really helped me not to 'take sides' and stay there. Moving on and being health are important and only you can do that for yourself. Good luck - you've been through some painful stuff. I wish you all the best.

42 5

Since my daughter-in-law has no contact with either of her parents, this is not something I have any experience with. I do know that my parents and my in-laws were always very friendly with each other and would even take trips to visit each other (they lived about 8 hours away from each other).

0
2 0

What a blessing that your parents and in-laws are friendly - that means a lot. Does your daughter-in-law keep in touch with you, despite her estrangement with her parents? I assume so, as you didn't mention otherwise. Cherish the good experiences. : )

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0 32

i love them - they treat my daughter like the daughter they never had - and we the same with their son - we love him - his family is great

0
4 6

Love them until they mature... only do what you are asked if you would like to

0
4 11

Love them for who they are! And remember they are a part of the family! Just be yourself!

0

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