Clichés and jokes about in-laws abound for a good reason. And whether it’s your side of the family or your spouse’s side that’s making life a little (or a lot) harder, you still need to learn to deal with the matter in a positive manner if you want to set a good example with your kids. Granted that there’s no foolproof formula for dealing with monster in-laws, learning some coping mechanisms will definitely make your life easier and contribute to a happier marriage.
One of the most important steps you need to take is to let go of the negativity. This is easier said than done, but if you are to fix your relationship with your in-laws you have to let go of your negative attitude towards them. Of course, it’s perfectly natural to feel negative emotions when they do something irritating, but you need to be able to control your response so that you can understand the root of the problem and so move forward in a more productive manner. Kids pick up on emotions really well and will develop a negative attitude towards your in-laws if you don’t watch yourself. Even worse, they might end up unable to handle stress and cope with difficult people and issues in a more positive way as they grow.
Another important coping mechanism you need to learn is detachment. I promise you that if you don’t learn to detach, you won’t succeed in eliminating negativity from your life. Even if you do learn to understand your in-laws and even develop empathy for them, situations will always arise where you will disagree or your family will be adversely affected by their decisions and behavior. In cases like these, your only response would be to detach, especially if the situation is out of your control. Help if you can and if you want to, but take a step back before the negative impact to you and your kids becomes unmanageable. Detaching can mean saying no from time to time or even cutting toxic family members out of your life. This will teach your kids that while being understanding, learning to get along and helping is a good thing, so is being able to stand your ground and protecting your family when you have to.
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