Proven Strategies For Creating And Maintaining Healthy Relationships With Married Children

The subject of Mother-in-Law’s is often a thorny one, often the brunt of ribald jokes, and sometimes living breathing monsters in real life. Over the years I have known people that have had some very bad experiences with this sometimes egregious species. However in many cases, once you explored the situation, a different story emerged. There is an old saying, there are three versions of every story, mine, yours, and the truth, which lives somewhere in the middle.

Susan Lieberman has written an interesting and insightful book in The Mother-in-Law’s Manual. Written with some humor the author offers some sage advice on how to resolve, and better yet, avoid the common conflicts that occur.

A very salient point that is made early on in the book is that there are thousands of parenting books available, the young mother has at her finger tips a veritable library of resources on how to bring up a child. Becoming a mother-in-law though does not come with a resource guide, yet in actuality it is all  part of the parenting cycle.

The Mother-in-Law phase of the cycle is often a tough one. Suddenly she has lost her son or daughter to another. There are some emotions that can kick in subconsciously. A resentment brought on by a sense of loss. A need to exert, or at least give the perception of being in control becomes a driving force.

Susan Lieberman gently explains that this is not the best attitude to take. In one chapter she has a delightful section where she lists her top 10 recommended rules:

1 Keep your mouth shut
2 Keep your mouth shut
.
.
.
10 Keep your mouth shut

Marriage, she argues, is rather like an immigration problem. The partners in marriage are like two people from different countries learning to live in a third country. Certain ‘customs’ from your homeland may not be followed, and indeed you may even have to learn some new ‘customs’. Likewise as a mother-in-law you should view your child’s marriage in the same light. They may not do it ‘your way’. They may not organize their cupboards the way you do, they may not vacuum and dust as often as you do, but that does not make them wrong, it just makes them different.

Tolerance is a virtue, and learning to be tolerant can resolve most of the traditional mother-in-law issues.

The author also offers what she calls ‘The seven Mother-in-Law Maxims, this are seven straightforward rules to live by. My personal favorite is ‘Love Is Not A Competitive Sport’. What a true statement.

Susan Lieberman also contains a number of statements from actual son and daughter in-laws that make for interesting reading.

I have been married twice, and both of my Mother-in-Law’s, current and past are delightful people, at no time can I recall either attempting to control my marriage, I guess I am one of the lucky ones. If you are not as lucking as I, then maybe send your Mother-in-Law a copy of this book, though take my advice and send it anonymously 🙂

You can get your own copy of The Mother-In-Law’s Manual from Amazon. Susan Lieberman also has a web site.

Simon Barrett

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