How To Handle In-Laws Who Are On Your Last Nerve
Dealing with pushy in-laws is a very delicate process. At the end of the day, no matter how much your partner also agrees that his parents cross some boundaries and put their noses where they don’t belong, those in-laws are still your boo’s family. You aren’t allowed to be as firm or assertive with them as he is, or he might be offended. Plus, no matter how much the in-laws drive you nuts, you still want them to like you! You’ll be spending holidays, family vacations and who knows what else with them for years to come, so you can’t afford for things to go sour.
That being said, if in-laws are too pushy, you can feel like you have no control over your life, and other things like how you raise your children, how you spend your money, and where you buy a home. These are big things not to have control over! So, here is how to deal with pushy in-laws, whether you have them now or will soon.
First, ask your partner for help
If at all possible, it’s best that your partner talks to his parents about respecting boundaries. They’re already comfortable with a confrontation with him, and this way, you can stay in their good graces.
Tell them you know they care
If you have to approach the issue with your in-laws, always start the conversation by stating you appreciate how much they care about you and your spouse’s well-+being, and you see how much they love your significant other. Make them feel appreciated (that’s really all they want).
Remind them how much you love their son
Sometimes in-laws just feel that you’re taking over the “parenting” of their son. But if you remind them how much you love their son, and what a great job they’ve done raising, him, they may feel more comfortable handing the reigns over.
Remember, you don’t have to engage
This is a great thing to remember for all confrontation: you don’t have to engage. If your in-laws start spewing off opinions and suggestions about your life, you don’t have to engage in the conversation. You can always smile and nod.
Choose what you share with them
You don’t need to tell your in-laws everything. If you’re about to have the house painted or you’re selecting summer camps for your children, you don’t need to bring this up until it’s already been done. That way, they can’t be involved in the decisions.
Pre-select tasks for them
Your in-laws just want to feel useful. If you don’t give them ways to help out, they will find ways. So think of little ways they can be helpful to you and your partner, call them up yourself and ask for help. This will keep them busy, and out of the way on the more important matters.
Find ways to include them
Your in-laws also want to be a part of your life! So, if you don’t want them showing up unannounced during date night, invite them to watch you and your spouse play kickball on the weekends. They just want to see what’s going on.
Remember the phrase, “We’ll think about it”
Pushy in-laws are always giving unsolicited advice. Keep in mind that you don’t need to say, “Okay, we’ll do that” on the spot. You can say, “We’ll think about that.” That will remind them that it is your and your partner’s decision to think about.
You and your partner must be united
No matter what, you and your partner must be united. Even if you don’t agree on something, in front of the in-laws, you need to agree—you can disagree later in private. If they sense disagreement, they’ll swoop in and push their opinions onto you.
Ask their opinion on things that aren’t that important
Are you truly indifferent to which fancy plate set you buy and which housekeeper you hire? Ask your in-laws for their opinions on these matters. Then they may stay out of the more important issues.
Remember that people love to talk about themselves
If your in-laws just talk and inquire too much about you and your partner, turn the conversation around! People love to talk about themselves, so hound your in-laws with questions about their lives.
Set up routine dinners/gatherings
The best way to ensure your in-laws will not push their way into parts of your lives where you don’t want them is to make them feel secure in the fact that they will be included. You can do this by setting up weekly Sunday lunches or Tuesday night dinners.
Know that pushy people respond to pushiness
Don’t be afraid to just tell your in-laws you and your partner need a little space or need to make some decisions on your own. Pushy people actually tend to respect and respond to assertiveness.
If they go behind your back, address it
If your in-laws try to go behind your back and talk to your partner about something in your life without you, you need to address it. Don’t be mean about it; just let them know they should feel free to talk to you about those issues.
Remember, they have to accept you
No matter what happens, keep in mind that your in-laws know your partner is going to be with you for life. They need to accept you, even if you piss them off, or don’t take all of their suggestions.