Things about mothers-in-law that annoy daughters-in-law
The relationship between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law can be prone to hurt feelings and power struggles
Grandparents.com conducted some research to find out exactly what upsets daughters-in-law the most.
The website believe that knowing the problem can help you fix it, the Huffington post reported.
The first mistake a mother-in-law makes, according to Grandparents.com, is when she visit her daughter-in-law unannounced.
By far, this complaint is the most universal, said Terry Orbuch, Ph.D., a psychologist and research professor at the University of Michigan who has been the lead researcher on a National Institutes of Health study of marriage and divorce, following hundreds of couples for more than 26 years.
"Daughters-in-law need autonomy, they need independence, and when you come by unannounced, you undermine that," she said.
And it’s not just the inconvenience of the visit, but it’s the presumptuousness of it, agrees Terry Apter, author of "What Do You Want From Me? Learning to Get Along With In-Laws."
"It’s a lack of regard for the younger woman’s power and control of the family space," said Apter.
"Avoid it and apologize when you do it," she added.
To make it better, simply tell your daughter-in-law ahead of time that you would love to visit, Orbuch suggested.
“Then say, ‘When is best for you?’ We all want control, and by doing this, you are offering it to your daughter-in-law,” she said.
The second mistake is mothers-in-law want their daughters-in-law to call her mom.
This is not a big issue, but for some women find it very hard.
"I have heard this from many women who say, ‘What am I supposed to do? I already have a mom,’" said Orbach who is also the author of "Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship."
It sets up this unrealistic situation where you are asking your daughter-in-law to be as close to you as she is to her own mother, she stated.
According to Orbach, her research showed that if a mother-in-law could say, ‘I think you’re great. I’m so happy that you make my son happy. I’m here for you to support you if you ever need me. Whatever you feel comfortable calling me, I will answer to,’ it would go a long way with daughters-in-law.
Mistake number 3: when mothers-in-law give advice daughters-in-law didn’t ask for.
No one likes unsolicited advice. To a daughter-in-law, it seems like criticism, Apter said.
Even if the advice comes from a place of love, it may be heard as threatening the daughter-in-law’s authority and challenging her role as a mom and chief caretaker in her family, said Apter.
So avoid saying so, but if you can’t control your tongue, try this: "I think you’re a wonderful mother/cook/housekeeper/person. You are so much more patient/adventurous/together than I ever was, but I’m just curious to learn more about your philosophy on x."
Let your daughter-in-law answer, and if it seems that she’s open to discussion, continue to talk. But if she seems offended, you’re back to biting that tongue, suggested Apter.
The next mistake mothers-in-law make is when they criticize her grandchildren.
Grandparents are supposed to speak good things for their grandchild, Apter said.
But if they’re saying, ‘She’s messy,’ ‘She’s impulsive,’ ‘She’s inconsiderate,’ then their daughter-in-law will certainly hear it as a criticism of her parenting, she said.
Orbuch agreed, "There will be differences in how your daughter-in-law raises her children versus how you did it. You have to recognize this. Lots of things are said from a place of love but are still deeply insulting."
Its better to focus on the things you appreciate in your grandkids, she said.
Another mistake mothers-in-law can make is when she talk to her son about his wife.
Complaining to your son about his wife puts him in a very difficult position, Apter said.
If you have felt that your daughter-in-law has locked you out of her life--or the life of your grandchildren--then it’s best to approach her directly.
To solve this problem, Apter suggests using statements that begin with "I," say things like, ‘I feel left out,’ or ‘I feel I’d like to see the children more frequently.’
She asked mothers-in-law to avoid "you" statements like, ‘You’re leaving me out.’ Or ‘You’re keeping my grandchildren from me.’ Then ask, "What can we do to make this better?"