Whenever 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.