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    2. Learn to say ‘no, thank you’ and graciously enforce boundaries
    It takes two to tango. You and your partner need to be clear on what must be done to help your in-laws realize that you both are mature adults and can take care of yourselves and your family. Find the strength to say ‘no, thank you’ when they try to take on more than they should. Graciously and politely show them through your actions that there are boundaries that they must abide by. In the beginning they may be hurt by the refusal, but eventually they will realize that it was all for the best.

    Help them to realize that your partner is his or her own person by making sure the boundaries and limitations you have set are enforced. Try to think ahead to anticipate any occasion or event that your in-laws may want to step in for your partner so that you can adjust accordingly and prevent this from happening. After a while, they will get the idea - just be patient.

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    3. Have the talk
    If there is need to really sit down and discuss the dilemma, be very gracious and objective in speaking with your in-laws. Make sure they know that you are appreciative of all that they do and acknowledge the help that they have given you and your family. Gently broach the idea that taking care of too much of your family responsibilities as a couple may not be the best way to help because it prevents both you and their child from being the parents and responsible people that you should be. Reassure them that if there may be a time that you may need their help, you and your partner will not hesitate to ask for it.  

    Keep in mind that as parents, all your in-laws want to do is help and do what they think is best for their child and your family. So long as you show them that you have your family’s best intentions in mind, they will hopefully be open to the changes you want as well.

    You may want to try and assess which would be most effective—talking to your in-laws as a couple, having your partner talk to his or her parents, or having you discuss the dilemma with your in-laws. Either way, get the message across as clearly and as politely as possible.

    Letting go and allowing our children to grow and make their own decisions is a difficult thing to do for any parent.  Being able to realize though that allowing your child to spread their wings and be their own person is something that must be done for their own good.  

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    You may also want to read about Raising your Kids with your In-laws.

    Photo by I.C.U. via flickr creative commons

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