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          Advice for In-Laws

          September 02, 2002

          Is there tension between you and your new son- or daughter-in-law? Are family events not what they once were? Dr. Phil has some questions for you to ask yourself:
          • Are you over-involved? Are you injecting into this new family? 
          • Are you too critical? Have you thought about the effect your actions have? It’s not a matter of intention; it’s a matter of how your actions are perceived.
          • When you visit, remember that you are a guest. It’s their house. You may not like the way your son’s wife is doing things in her home, i.e. rearing children values, but it isn’t any of your business. Ask yourself if you have a sense of entitlement and expectancy that is inappropriate. If there are issues that you don’t abide by, then you need to just not visit them.
          • Are you having trouble letting go? That’s your issue, so don’t make your child — and his/her relationship — suffer for it.
          • Don’t get pulled into arguments by your child and in-law. You can be supportive and still let the couple handle their own problems. Take a step back and trust that you have raised an adult who has the vision and the courage to resolve the problems that concern his/her own family. 
          • Understand that new couples need to set boundaries on their relationship … and that it may take them some time to find the right ones.

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