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What should a mother in law do ?

11 Oct 2015

It is every mother’s dream to see her son grow-up and get married.

Mostly every mother in law believes that her daughter in law is young, inexperienced and unlikely to be aware of her new family needs as well that of her son’s needs, likes or dislikes. 

Most of the times, daughter in law is unaware of the expectations. Probably she is unaware due to the fact that these expectations are communicated implicitly. Mother in law, on the other hand assumes that she had communicated the expectations clearly and expects her to meet them.

Both mother in law and daughter in law hold different meaning about the stated expectation. This likely causes confusion, misunderstanding and unhealthy, negative perception about each other.

In addition, mother in law takes a role of guiding her daughter in law’s behaviour in how to take care of the needs of her son. Often times her overly involved guidance likely questions the ability of the daughter in law to work independently.

Over involvement from mother in law is perceived more like an interference by daughter in law.

She may perceive her to be controlling and dominating while the mother in law may perceive that she cannot afford her daughter in law to be making mistakes.

This may develop frustration. Both begin communicating with sarcasm and criticism which may worsen the situation.  

Both may feel dissatisfied and may complain about the same to her son and to her spouse, exacerbating the problem.

Habitually, mother in law is also more inclined to express emotional care towards her son e.g. she may ask for him at the unusual times, expect him to share the events of his day to day life, unaware of the fact that her daughter in law also hopes, and desires to be listened and cared for like a daughter by her mother in law.

"Daughter in law too wants to be appreciated and feel valued by her mother in law. Lack of expression in love and care for daughter-in-law while in the same time doting on the son can make the daughter in law feel undervalued and this feeling can bring an emotional turmoil."

If the daughter in law is working member of the family, the expectations from her would not become less rather would become more as compared to her spouse who is working too to run the household.

He is the son, so more value and appreciation is attached to his work than to the work of daughter in law who is trying to balance her life between both work and home.

In such a situation, mother in law expects her daughter in law to not only take care of herself but at the same time she is expected to take care of family as well as spouse needs.

On the contrary, daughter in law may expect motherly concern and love from her mother in law which she may feel is given to her spouse but not to her. Daughter in laws perception may lead her to feel resentment, disappointment, and unfairness.

Hence, this may impact her communication with her mother in law which may start a sequence of miscommunication between them.

This miscommunication may often carry the tone of anger, mistrust, suspicion and doubt for each other or they may not communicate with each other at all.

Then what can a Mother in Law Do?


Tips to build good relationship with your daughter in law

Try not to put expectations on your daughter in law. Let her develop her own understanding related to her role and she will learn through the process.

·Encourage your son to take help of his wife in making decisions, and sharing the daily events.

Be considerate of the fact that your son’s role has widened. Encourage him take care of his wife wishes, desires and feelings too. Always remember that he needs to share his time with his wife too.

·Take your daughter in law’s advice, opinions and suggestions to solve family matters this will make her feel valued and respected by you.

·Avoid criticising, questioning and highlighting her mistakes. Give her time. Always remember you have also made mistake when you newly adopted the role of daughter in law yourself.

·If you have issues with your daughter in law solve them calmly and gently than to blame and accuse her about the wrong done by her.

Expressing anger through blaming and accusing will hurt yours and your daughter in law’s feelings. No issue can be solved when both sides are in anger.

·Try to understand and accept your daughter in laws behaviours, needs, wants, desires. Above all, her mind-set. Your daughter in law was brought up by different kind of upbringing, rules, discipline, or standards which may be completely different than yours.

Be patient, considerate and give her space and time to know and ask than to give advice and suggestions on your own.

·Do not assume the meaning behind her actions/behaviour or what she says. Always ask questions to understand her behaviour and thought pattern.

·Appreciate and compliment your daughter in law wherever you feel proud of her actions/behaviours

Only if you love and adore your daughter in law just like the way you adore your son, not only your daughter in law’s relationship with your son will become bliss but your relationship with her will become rewarding and satisfying.

If you are experiencing a troubled relationship with your in laws/daughter in laws and this is causing you great deal of hurt,’s relationship psychologists & experts can guide you through the process to better your relationship with your daughter in law

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