Everyone has heard of the (more often than not) difficult relationship between in-laws. Particularly a mother-in-law’s relationships with her daughter-in-law. Everybody knows that, and there’s no reason for you to make things worse. Instead work on making the relationship work. Here are something’s to help you out.
Acknowledge the fact that your daughter-in-law is a person who has her own family history, traditions. She knows things you will never know and has experiences you will never have. As such, she deserves to be treated with respect – and as an adult.
Also, do not put her under "categories" like "dumb blonde", "party girl", "farm-girl", "small town hick". Remember, if you want to be treated with kindness and respect you have to show it first.
You are not her parent. If you feel the urge to parent her, stop. Remember, respect that she has her own family, history, traditions. Remember, that you daughter-in-law has a special relationship with her mother (simply because she is her own mother and that they have a bond forged by blood relation, years of love and support.
Accept the fact that she will never feel that way towards you. What you can do is seek to build a mutually respectful and pleasant relationship. Treat her with love and care and she’ll do the same.
Do you feel critical toward your daughter-in-law? Do you find fault in her clothes, her hobbies and just about everything she does? Is her religion unacceptable?
If your answer is yes, ask yourself why. Why do you feel the need to judge? You know, other intelligent people could also find fault in your religion, clothes and interests. Judging others, and seeking to criticize them in order to feel superior, are your own problems that you should address on your own.
Remember this too. If you say something inappropriate to your daughter-in-law, there is a good chance that she’ll tell her husband – your son. You lose you daughter-in-laws respect; do you really want to lose your son’s too? Don’t take comfort in the fact that your son’s opinion of you is unconditional, because there are families where the husband – your son, took his wife’s side before his mother’s.
Never ever succumb to gossiping, especially to other family members, mutual friends or acquaintances. It’s sure to reach the subject. And, it’s sure to back fire and the negative consequences will it you. Consider these: if you got to one person to gossip, your son, who, naturally, is attached to the woman, will feel less close to you and will want less to do with you.
If you gossip among mutual friends and acquaintances, you are tearing your family apart. Picture these: during a get-together with friends and family, how do you think things will go? what will happen if your daughter-in-law finds out you’ve been gossiping about her? Apart from all this, do you think the people to whom you are gossiping will ever trust you again? Think of these things when you are tempted to gossip about your daughter-in-law.
Some mothers need to be reminded (constantly) that their son is an adult and thus go into protective mode with regards to their baby boy. So when the daughter-in-law comes into the picture, the mother sees his son’s wife as some sort of a "new mommy" who always does everything wrong. Or she sees her son as a "victim" of this woman.
Just a reminded, your son chose this woman, pursued a relationship with her. If it seems like a bad match to you, remember that your son has needs that you do not know or understand, and those needs are fulfilled by his wife.
For instance, after being raised in a quiet home, he wanted to marry a social, outgoing person. Maybe he wants a woman who can make decisions. Since he is too busy, maybe he wants a wife who can choose, say, where to go on vacations or pick out the family car, so he can focus on other things.
Or maybe you were a strict mom with high expectations and thus have a tendency to criticize him. He now wants to be showered with love and affection and he receives that from his wife. Again, he may meet his needs in ways you don’t see or understand.
The final things to help you to become a good mother-in-law; do not insult you daughter-in-law’s intelligence. You might think she’s dumb, but chances are, she’s not. After all, she was smart enough to pick out your son.
Lastly, when relatives or family friends ask if your daughter-in-law can come to a gathering, do not answer for her. While you may not consider her part of the family, your son does and nothing will drive them both away faster than that kind of inappropriate behavior.