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Whether you have a sweet loving mother-in-law or a monster-in-law carbon copy straight from the movie, you're bound to butt heads from time to time, but don't fret. With these expert tips, your tiffs won't tarnish your relationship for long, but should help reconstruct it at the very least. Here, our experts reveal cooperative ways to nurture the relationship and tips on how to resolve any fight with your mother-in-law.
1. Give her credit where credit is due.
When your mother-in-law has said something to make your blood boil, "remember she devoted time and effort in to raising the person you love," says Ruth Nemzoff, PhD., parenting expert and author of Don't Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family. You can even respond to her know-it-all comments, about raising your children, by acknowledging this very effort. Begin by saying, "I really appreciate all you did to raise my spouse, but on this one..." Nemzoff suggests, going into what you prefer. Be sure to give her credit, when her comments are something you like, and can use to your advantage too.
2. Process and acknowledge your feelings.
You don't have to keep your feelings bottled inside just to keep the peace, says Rachel Needle, Ph.D., clinical psychologist in Palm Beach, Florida. "Communicating with your mother-in-law could be helpful in both expressing feelings as well as understanding why she chose to express herself the way she did," Needle says. The conversation should lead to a better understanding of the response and the person you are dealing with.
3. Remember it's OK to see things differently.
It may feel like it's her way or the highway, but "remember there are many ways to view any particular situation," Nemzoff says. And you don't have to change your views to acquiesce to a single request by your mother-in-law. "You can say, 'while my choice would be to do this differently, in deference to your strong feelings, I will do it your way,'" she suggests. She will respect the fact that you went along with what she thought was best.