In-laws: Dealing with them the right way
Posted Friday, January 25 2013 at 00:00
In-laws and relatives can be such an inconvenience in a home if not well handled. Thus, knowing the right buttons to press will make their stay with you bearable.
While my aunt was still single, she took in her brother’s wife. She worked hard to provide for the two of them. But to her dismay, her brother’s wife stretched her long hands into my aunt’s purse and stole her money. When it came to meals, she prepared food that was enough for her alone, even though it was my aunt that bought it. Aunt Cathie’s story reminds me of a friend who recently told me of a sister-in-law she had been looking after. The sister-in-law chose to repay this treatment by talking ill about her to outsiders.
Many times, we would love to bring our relatives closer to us but get afraid. However, we do not have to handle them with a biased mind, there are nice ones who can even help us when in difficult situations.
Jonathan Okiru, a counsellor at Family Life Network gives tips on how to handle in-laws in our homes.
Handle everything as a couple
Handling everything that happens in a home as a couple helps in finding solutions faster than when somebody decides to do something on his or her own. On many occasions, people who go by their own decisions on such matters end up misfiring thus causing conflict.
Leave them out of decision making
Relatives are good people but we should never let them decide what we have to do in our homes. This is because they have no idea of what the couple is interested in, say when it comes to the number of children to have or even schools they go to. It is okay to allow them suggest or give their views on any subject but they should never be allowed to make the final decision. “Let the wife or husband be the first priority when it comes to consultation instead of running to the relatives,” the counsellor notes.
Do not struggle to make them happy
Okiru says, taking on the struggle to make the in-laws happy will only bring about stress. Instead, do everything at your own pace. However, make sure you do not wrong or annoy them. If it happens, immediately apologise. Do not bark because the relationship with them will completely die and you will never have peace in the home. Take time to build the relationship, learn the person’s character, and understand them better before bringing them too close to you.
Make a good foundation to the relationship
The counsellor notes that there is need to be deliberate. As a couple, always agree on what should be done when making a foundation to the relationship with in-laws. For example, if it is visitations, suggest when to visit, chat and send gifts. It is usually through this that couples and their in-laws bond.
When they hurt you
Some people think that it is right to revenge when they are hurt. This might make matters worse if applied in a relationship or marriage. The fact is that one needs to do the reverse through controlling the anger and ignoring the person or people who might have hurt you. Always think twice before you act.
Set guidelines and rules
A man is supposed to protect his wife and the family. Usually, after discussing with his wife on how the relatives or in- laws should be handled, he as a family head is supposed to tell them what is expected of them and how things are done in his home. For example, let them know that the gate is closed at 10pm so that they do not move during the late hours of the night.
Always consult your spouse before bringing in relatives
Because a home is run by two people, everything should be done together. Couples should sit and decide on the terms and conditions that will keep peace in the home. The situation might get out of hand if one decides to do things all by him or herself.
Always be open to them
Let your relatives know what you as a team want, no matter what they think. Being open to all our in-laws or relatives will in most cases prevent the marriage or family from problems that might in the long run lead to separation.
Accept them the way they are
One has to just have an open mind and pave a way of dealing with different people since they come from different backgrounds. It will not be easy to impose anything on them. If your in-law is rigid, do not just abuse him or her, but join hands as a couple to work it out.
Do not show them your weaknesses
Although there are good in-laws who can understand and help out in building the new family, there are bad ones who would instead base on your weaknesses to undermine you. In this case, know what kind of secrets to let out and those that are supposed to be heard by only the two of you.