Uh-oh. Think you might be in a pickle?
Parenting requires some help. Remember the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”? Oftentimes, support will come from your closest relatives, including your in-laws. But sometimes, you may find yourselves looking at different perspectives on child rearing—and this could raise a conflict.
If you see yourself in this situation, remember that no good will come out if you continue to disagree with your own in-laws. They’re parents too and parents take different approaches in raising their child. Instead of setting up a hostile environment for your child, learn these techniques when dealing with in-laws with a different parenting style.
Avoid being on the defensive side
No matter what your differences are, do not argue with your in-laws to the point that no one listens anymore. When a person entertains arguments, he or she only worsens the situation because no one backs down. Instead, find a way to set your own boundaries with a non-argumentative attitude. Listen first and then compose your reasoning objectively. Your in-laws might think they’re just being helpful but if you tell them the truth—in the most respectful manner you can—they’ll hopefully understand. At the end of the day, you are your child’s parent.
Follow through on your boundaries
Once you’ve set your boundaries, follow through with them. Show your in-laws that you’re serious about it and that you only want what’s best for your child. If at some point you realise that you actually need your in-laws’ help, be humble enough to admit it. This way, they know you’re actually a team and are in this together when it comes to raising your child well.
Talk to your spouse
If your in-laws won’t listen to you, there could be one person they’ll listen to: your spouse. Share your struggles with your spouse objectively and create an action plan together. If you find it hard to communicate it with your in-laws, at least then you’d know you’re on the same page with your spouse when it comes to the way you want to raise your child. Then let your spouse talk to his or her parents.
Let your in-laws know you appreciate their presence
Talk to your in-laws about how you feel and appreciate what they’re trying to do for your family. If you agree with a parenting advice they gave, let them know. If they did something nice for your child, tell them that you’re grateful for their thoughtfulness. The key is to let your in-laws know that you are not disregarding their presence and will let them know should you need anything.
Validate your action by citing an expert
A great way to convince someone of anything is by citing a third party expert. For matters concerning your child’s health, quote your family doctor and let your in-laws know that you’ve consulted someone already and will be following that person’s advice. For matters concerning school, you can attribute your decision to advice given by your child’s teacher or instructor.