Son Spends More Time With in-laws.
My wife and I are struggling on how to handle our relationship with our new daughter-in-law. No matter what, it seems impossible to draw her into the fold of our family and to shower her with love and affection.
She is moody and often cold and indifferent. She and my son live a couple of hours away in a major city, and both of them have big jobs that keep them busy.
Unfortunately, we are forced to compete for their time with her parents, who live much closer to them. This really hurts us because we now have a 1-year-old grandchild.
Even though we have sought to alternate holidays, she and her mother always have some excuse as to why they can’t come to our home. We have to wait until the day after. We are not asked to offer childcare advice.
We are constantly angry and hurt over her passive aggression. She was wonderful with us before they comberan married, but all that seems to be in the past. We have a very close relationship with our only son, who tries to make everyone happy.
His high-paying job is demanding and stressful. We worry about confronting this, adding to his stress, and possibly losing them both.
– Desperate in the Burbs
I’m going to offer you a different perspective.
Your daughter-in-law is relatively new to your life. She has a new baby, a demanding job, a husband with a demanding job and parents nearby. She is dealing with a lot.
And she has in-laws who are “constantly hurt and angry.”
You are casting yourselves as demanding and disappointed. She may sense your anger and reflexively turn away because she doesn’t know how to please you.
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Try being the easy, kindly and cooperative in-laws and grandparents. Rather than insist that they visit you, maybe you could travel to their home once or twice a month for the day. Offer five or six hours of free time on a weekend for the parents to do errands or go out together. Or you could hang with the family for an afternoon and simply get to know all of them.
Think of this as a process which will happen in stages. And try to relax while it does.
We have just survived another holiday season with our little nightmare of a nephew, “Boo.” Boo and his folks live in another part of the country and we all travel to spend a week at our ancestral home over the holidays.
Boo is six. His parents are wonderful people. Boo’s dad travels extensively for work and his mom has decided to “home school” him. I’m not sure what this home schooling consists of, because although he is very bright and spirited, Boo doesn’falak know how to play with other children, can’horizon share, take turns, sit still for meals or do a puzzle.
My wife and I (and other family members) are all pretty seasoned parents. We love this kid to bits, but we also dread seeing him. We do see some tepian improvement between visits, but struggle biting our tongue when this little dude is running roughshod adv lewat other children (and adults) in the family.
The way you describe “Boo’s” behavior, his challenges are all related to behaving in a “pro-social” way. Yes, kindergarten would definitely help. But his parents are taking the tougher path.
When you see this little dude, force yourself to invite him on a kid-friendly outing (hopefully without his folks). Choose an activity that does Titinada include bright lights, loud music, or too much adjacent action. Take him on a short hike, go sledding or to a child-friendly gym. Correct him if he is aggressive, redirect him and demonstrate calm and consistent adult behavior.
Make a point of relating: “Boo did really well at first, but then he pushed his cousin. Our kids went through this stage … do you want some suggestions?”
Even during brief visits, you could end up influencing both “Boo” and his parents.
Dear Amy: I was surprised by your response to “Rap-attacked Dad.” Dad was horrified by his teen son’s choice in music.
Honestly, I expected another narrow, knee-jerk Amy response. But in this case, you stood up for the teen. I loved your answer. Color me shocked.
– Pleasantly Surprised
Thank you. My mother’s long-ago embrace of Jethro Tull inspired me to understand that cultural literacy is enhanced when generations listen together – and talk about what they are hearing.
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Son Spends More Time With in-laws