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  • Sam DiFranco

The Dreaded In-laws.

We all have heard of, and some have even experienced, the stereotypical over-involved in laws. The mother in-law that tells you how to raise your children, or criticizes the way you do things, but not necessarily outward behaviors. Rather passive aggressive attacks seem to be the method of choice. Let us not forget to include the distant father-in-law who nothing is good enough for. The one who stays distant from the family, or if he is close tends to make scouring faces of disappointment at every turn. While this may not be your in-laws exactly, many people have complaints about their spouse’s parents. But what can be done to deal with this problem? Well, it depends on where you stand in a lot of places, and also how extreme the problem may be. However, a great response to any relational issue is….. BOUNDARIES! Setting boundaries can be an exceptional way to help the relationship between you and your in-laws. While setting boundaries, there are two components that are essential: freedom and consequences. People must have the freedom to make decisions and choices on their own accord. However, if the decision and behavior does not follow the boundaries agreed upon by both parties, there have to be consequences that follow. Be cautious, as consequences are not the same as punishment. You can’t stick your mother-in-law in the corner because she gave your hyper child some skittles. However, you can make a decision based on your child’s best interest that sends a message how you will be keeping boundaries on things that are important to you. Remember your goal. You are not trying to hurt or punish your in-laws, but rather to keep the relationship well and healthy. Be consistent, clear, but also be considerate! Another key point is your relationship to your spouse. It is important for the husband/wife, partners, mother/father to be bonded and communicate these types of issues. Boundaries with in-laws, or even parents will not work if the two parties setting the boundaries are not on the same page. For more information on boundaries, relationships, and mental health counseling visit our website at

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