For Moms & Dads


How to Deal with In-laws who Overstep Boundaries

Here are ways to respectfully enforce boundaries when your in-laws are going beyond the line.

mother-in-lawWhenever my mom and I have disagreements about my life choices, she always says ‘the age gap does not change—you are, and will always be, my child and I will always want what is best for you’.  I guess the best really is what a parent would want their children to have, regardless of how old we become.  Sometimes though, parents can go overboard and overstep their boundaries, especially when their child is all grown up and has a family of his or her own.

What do you do when your in-laws still insist on treating your partner like a child?  How do you deal with them always being worried about their child being stressed or burdened by the day-to-day dealings of family life?  How do you cut the cord between a parent and her child that is being coddled too much?  What do you do when your in-laws get in the way of opportunities for your partner to step up and be his own person because they take care of everything all the time?   

Having predicaments like these opens up a whole lot of problems that can make your relationship with your partner and your in-laws strained and unhealthy.  Not only that, it can hinder how your own family’s dynamics grows and matures.

Here are a few things you can do to deal with this in-law dilemma:

1. Start with your partner
Have a talk with your partner about how that aspect of his or her relationship with his or her parents is affecting you and your family. Steer clear of resentment of blame when you do have your conversation because they will not help you attain your goal. Be as objective as possible and remember that both your partner and your in-laws are accountable for allowing an unhealthy indulgence. Then, as a couple, try to make a plan to make some changes without being hurtful to your in-laws.  

Also, be understanding if change happens more slowly than you would want. Old habits die hard. What matters is that you and your partner are clear about each other’s feelings on the dilemma and you are taking steps towards making things better.  


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  • cherry_lyric Jan 10 2014 @ 06:37pm
    Currently I am having this problem. After getting married I move out from my apartment to my husband's rented condo. We are living with his mom and everyday of my life she always interfere with us. She makes decisions for us and I am really having difficulty dealing with this situation. I wanted to confront my husband about it but each time the issue will be discussed it will start a fight or debate between me and my husband.
  • Guest Feb 04 2013 @ 03:12pm
    My husband and I have grown kids. We moved to the city because his mom was sick. Well, now weare in financial stress. They promised that if the could move in they would pay half the bills. The backed out of the deal. Now they think that we need to justify why we are or are not going to work. They use the pass key and let themselves in without calling. So now we are stuck with bills we can't afforded. They are mad at us because of the lack of money when it is there fault. We moved for her. Not us!
  • Guest Oct 24 2011 @ 08:45pm
    it took 2 years for he and I to be on the same page when it came to his family getting involved. Those 2 years included my pregnancy with our daughter. They told him I probably wasn't having his baby and that was strike one. Eventhough he told them he loved me they always wuestioned him behind my back if he was sure he wanted to be with me. When I would confront them they denied their gossip and would say "well thats's what I heard". Then they would turn around and say I never respected them. How do you respect an adult who gets in the way of their son having a family? I even reached out to them when I noticed how he was being affected and asked how long are they going to go without making things right. My daughter is the only baby girl in the family and what they say they always wanted. I told them if they were so concerned about this baby not being his they could have atleast been honest with me and say how they felt but they would rather gossip. They call themselves Christians too. The first time they saw her was 6 months after she was born. Then they turn back to their old habits and call me a bad mother and say my mother doesn't love me ect. What is wrong with these people? I just had a talk with his sister yesterday since the whole family never wants to resolve this inperson at the same time. She had been wanting to talk to me to try and make things right so she said. I explaing=ed they have overstepped their boundries and the only way to work things out is to not repeat what they have done over and over again. She didn't think they were wrong in any way. If anyone is going to say they did something wrong it would be me since this is my family and all this did happen to me. Nothing was resolved.
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