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Tips for Handling the “In-Laws” This Holiday Season

The holidays are back! That means lots of food, breaks from school and work, and if you’re visiting family this holiday season, it could mean dealing with your in-laws for a little while. If the mere thought of interacting with your spouse’s family gives you a stress headache, here are some tips on how to make these holidays a little more painless.

Talk to your spouse beforehand

Especially if you have children, get a game plan together. Decide what’s important to the both of you, such as what and when you let the kids eat. That way, your family has more established values that you can then communicate more clearly to the extended family.

Appreciate your spouse’s familial relationships

While you both may agree at home that your partner’s parents are a handful, keep in mind that they are still your partner’s parents. Never put your spouse in the impossible situation of having to choose between you and a member of his or her family. Try to understand the bond they have and try to be supportive of it.

Be direct

If an in-law offends or belittles you in some way, calmly face the offender head-on. Don’t ask your partner to do the talking for you. This kind of communication is much clearer and less likely to be misinterpreted. It also keeps the responsibility for your feelings off of your partner’s shoulders.

Be yourself

Even if your mother-in-law always wanted her son to marry a great homemaker, and you’re simply not her ideal partner, don’t try to fit the role. There’s never any sense in pretending to be something you’re not, and it doesn’t benefit anyone. If anything, you’ll end up confusing your spouse, who knows (and hopefully likes) who you really are.

Even if your spouse’s parents may be a little tough to get along perfectly with, they have the best intentions. Make the most of the holiday season with your whole family! Happy Holidays!

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