So, your son got married and you want to have a good relationship with your daughter-in-law, but you are having trouble getting along with her. It happens all the time, because mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law often have different temperaments, communication styles, beliefs, attitudes, and approaches to problem solving. How to deal with a difficult daughter-in-law? Here are some tips.
Tip #1. Distance yourself. First and foremost, you need to respect your son's choice. He married this woman for a reason, and the fact that you can't understand what he sees in her doesn't make his choice any less valid. If you just can't connect with her, keep calm and distance yourself from their family. They are adults capable of making decisions, after all.
Tip #2. Be cordial all the time. Your daughter-in-law can be vulgar, crass, crude, unkind, manipulative, narcissistic, controlling, arrogant, indifferent, ungrateful, a control freak... This list can go on an on. The point is that you cannot change her. The only thing you can do is stay calm and be poised, polite, and nice. Keeping it cool will help you prevent a lot of conflicts. When you're around her, act as if your daughter-in-law were a stranger (i.e. with calm politeness).
Tip #3. Get to know her better. Sometimes people just get off on the wrong foot. If you give her another chance, she may turn out a nice person. We aren't saying that you should become BFFs. But spending some time together on neutral territory must help you feel more comfortable around each other. However, if she doesn't want to spend time with you, you shouldn't insist.
Tip #4. Don't let her take advantage of you. You need to set boundaries to prevent your daughter-in-law from taking advantage of you. For example, she likes to drop by unannounced and ask you to babysit your grandchildren. If you let her do this all the time, your resentment will grow. You need to learn to say “No”. Yes, she is your family, but that doesn't mean that you have to accommodate all her needs. Family is about give and take.
Tip #5. Talk to your son, but be diplomatic. Don't criticize your daughter-in-law's personality, it will never work. You can, however, tell your son about particular situations that made your uncomfortable and discuss a way to handle such issues should they occur again. Avoid using generalizations such as “She always...” or “She never...” and resolve one issue at a time. Remember that you cannot change who she is, but you can prevent unpleasant situations from happening by addressing the problem.
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