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How To Get Along With In-Laws: Good Things Utah

Marriage is a wonderful change, but it certainly brings some challenges, not just for the couple involved, but also for the in-law relationship dynamic. I recently sat down with the Good Things Utah to share my top 3 tips for daughter-in-laws and mother-in-laws:

Daughter-In-Laws

  1. Set Clear Boundaries
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    Communicate with your spouse to determine what boundaries you’ll have in your family, then lay them out clearly and kindly to your in-laws. For example, maybe you say, “We won’t be able to make Thanksgiving dinner this year, but we hope to be there next year!” Or you may make a simple request like, “please call before you come to our home.”
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  2. Assume Positive Intent
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    Always assume that anything irritating or uncomfortable your mother-in-law is doing is done out of love. Although it may be intrusive or inappropriate, assuming positive intent allows you to respond in a way that is kind and respectful.
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  3. Recognize Loss
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    When a child gets married, there is a sense of loss for the family. Be empathetic of the family shift that has occurred, and recognize that your mother-in-law may still be experiencing some grief from the loss.
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Mother-In-Laws

  1. Expect & Respect Boundaries
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    Your son and daughter-in law will have boundaries and traditions that are different than your own. Be prepared to respect and follow them, even if you don’t understand them or fully agree with them.
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  2. Give Advice Only When Asked
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    There may be times when you’re dying to give advice, but don’t offer it unsolicited. If your son and daughter-in-law have a problem that they tell you about, it’s alright to say something like, “I have some ideas. Are you open to feedback?”
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  3. Ask For Feedback
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    If you want a good relationship with your daughter-in-law, ask her for her ideas! Inquire as to whether or not there’s something you’re doing that’s bothering her, and ask her how you can better support her.
About Dr. Julie Hanks, LCSW:
Dynamic self & relationship expert Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW loves to make a difference for women. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy and regularly contributes to KSL TV's Studio 5, and her advice has been featured nationally including Wall Street Journal, Parenting, Fox News, and others. Connect on Facebook & Twitter. Her books The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide are now available.

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