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The Mother-in-Law Conundrum Leanne Braddock, M.Ed., M.A. Licensed Marital & Family Therapist.

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Presentation on theme: "The Mother-in-Law Conundrum Leanne Braddock, M.Ed., M.A. Licensed Marital & Family Therapist."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Mother-in-Law Conundrum Leanne Braddock, M.Ed., M.A. Licensed Marital & Family Therapist

2 Why should we care about being a good mother-in-law? Help support our childrens marriages

3 Acceptance & Respect

4 How do you have a good first meeting? Accept the person for who he/she is – A family member Treat him or her respectfully. Quotes

5 Wedding Woes Carol had wanted a large wedding, but she and her husband had decided to elope and save the money for their education. Now that their son, Jason, is getting married, she wants to give him the kind of wedding she didnt have; a big one. So Carol went ahead and consulted a wedding planner and reserved both the church and reception hall for the occasion, even paying the $300 non-refundable deposit. When Carol told Jason, he said that his fiancée, Yolanda, wants a small intimate wedding with just family and friends. What should Carol do?

6 The First Dance William Doherty & Elizabeth Doherty Thomas

7 Acceptance & Respect in: Boundary Negotiation Communication Conflict Resolution

8 What is a boundary? Something that encloses a space or fixes a limit Fix boundaries by words, time, space

9 Boundaries and the Mother-in-Law

10 Listen Praise Criticism Acceptance & Respect

11 Language Lessons When Zoe was growing and up and asked her parents if she could do something, if she was told, Well see, it actually meant No. One day Zoe asked her mother-in- law Janine if she and her father-in-law would like to go to a cabin with them for the weekend. Janine, a busy lawyer, told Zoe, Well see. Zoe, thinking that meant, no, felt hurt and then angry at Janine and so she invited another couple to go with them. When Janine called Zoe a few days later and said they would love to spend the weekend with them, Zoe was surprised and she blurted out that Janine should have told her when she called the first time and not have changed her mind. That hurt Janines feelings. What should Janine do?

12 Minefields – sources of conflict Time demands (calling, visiting, run errands, where to spend the holidays) Household integrity Money Decision-making Resolving conflict Children/grandchildren Son/husband (criticism of) Death, divorce, remarriage

13 Ask yourself: Is this my business? OR Is this something my adult child and child-in-law need to resolve on their own?

14 Ways NOT to handle conflict: Avoiding it Bottling it up Putting the spouse (son or daughter) in the middle Screaming and yelling Cut-offs

15 Effective Conflict Resolution What is the Goal? Listen, listen, listen Agree to disagree Apologize (at least for your part) Forgive The power of humor

16 Wrap up: MIL/CIL relationship is important Mother-in-laws Role: Friend, Mentor, Wise consultant Up to the MIL to model good behavior and effective conflict resolution skills Skills required for good MIL/CIL relationships can be learned. Good MIL/CIL relationships can help strengthen and support young marriages You can change the world!

17 Case Examples What should the Mother-in-Law do?

18 Time Trials Since Normas husband died last year shes had to call on her son David to help her with many errands and financial decisions. She just sold her house learned she needs to move almost immediately and David agreed to help her. After all the arrangements were made, David told Norma that when he agreed to help her, he had forgotten he had also promised his wife Natalie, that hed watch their five children that day so that she could finally have a Girls Day Out with her friends, something she hadnt done since their second child was born. He said Natalie and her friends had already scheduled a spa and shopping day. What should Norma do?

19 Financial Fuel When Nancys son and daughter-in-law visited for the weekend, Nancy noticed the tires on her son and daughter-in- laws car were bald. In fact, they were downright dangerous. Her son said they were so strapped financially they couldnt possibly replace the tires. Nancy discussed the situation with her husband and they agreed to offer to loan them the money to get new tires. But instead of offering to loan the money, Nancys husband went ahead and bought the tires (for $500). While at work that day, Nancy got a stinging from her daughter-in-law telling her she couldnt believe she would make such a big decision for them and put them even farther in debt. The ended with her daughter-in-law saying that she never appreciated Nancys interference in the wedding plans (2 years earlier) either. What should Nancy do?

20 Christmas Crisis Susans only child Mary, Marys husband Jake and their two small children live about two miles from Susan and they see one another at least once a week. Ever since Mary and Jake married six years ago, they have spent every holiday with Susan and her husband. Jake is from a large family who lives about a 7-hour drive from them. Susan has often made the point that since Jakes mother has other children but she doesnt, it wouldnt be fair for Mary and her family to be at Jakes parents house for the holidays. In November, Mary told Susan that Jakes mother would like for them to come for Christmas because all four of the other children and their families will also be there. What should Susan do?

21 Generous Grandma Pauline is a retired executive, who travels for fun much of the year. She enjoys bringing gifts to her 8-year old twin grandsons. Her son Adam and his wife Lisa are always happy to have Pauline visit, but lately theyve been hinting they dont want her to bring so many gifts for the children because their house is over-flowing with the boys things. Pauline has just laughed it off in the past because she enjoys buying for the boys and so why should they mind? Pauline just returned from Portugal yesterday and called to say she would like to come over and bring some things for the boys. Lisa sounded almost rude when she handed off the phone to Adam. Now Pauline is wondering if they were serious about the gifts. What should Pauline do?


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