This month’s Ask Coach Kathy discusses how to positively deal with a critical mother-in-law.
My mother-in-law went with our family on a vacation this summer. Our kids are 9-years-old and 11-years-old.
She criticized me several times on my decision to let our children stay up until 11:00 a couple of times during our trip. She also told me I shouldn’t indulge them with so many snack foods. During the school year, we make sure our kids are in bed by 9:00 and they don’t have snacks except on the weekends. I want to tell her to butt out, but I don’t think that would go so well.
I would venture to guess that you are right. Telling your mother-in-law to mind her own business would probably not be received well. You want to nip this situation in the bud so that you can be on future family vacation without you feeling resentful for her overstepping her boundaries.
As soon as you can, I would have a face-to-face conversation (otherwise known as a difficult conversation) with her. I would emphasize how much you enjoy her being a part of the vacation and that you look forward to future ones.
This is a spring board for you to then say something to the effect of, “Moving forward, I have a request. When I make decisions that you might disagree with in regards to our kids, I’m going to ask that you refrain from sharing what you might do in the situation. It would mean a lot to me for you to give me space and trust to make decisions involving our kids while on vacation.”
Of course this is said with a light, positive tone so that she can hear your core message.
Do you have sensitive issues in your relationships that you need help with? Ask Coach Kathy about it. Submit your question below.