FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JUNE 20, 2019 • BRIDAL • THE QUEENS COURIER 61
ADVICE FOR NEW IN-LAWS
Getting off on the right foot as a parent-in-law
BY KRISTEN CASTILLO
Th e idea of confl ict between couples
and their in-laws isn’t new, but nowadays
newlyweds and their respective parents
are working hard to have good relationships.
Th ey’d rather have solutions instead
of endless confl icts.
Andrea Imafi don has been married for
seven years. She wants newlyweds and
in-laws to get along. Th at’s why the certifi
ed personal and professional development
coach who calls herself “Brown Girl
From Boston” off ers this advice:
“Work out your diff erences between
one another, and don’t discuss your spats
with your family or friends, because it
will eventually place a wedge between the
marital partners and family members.”
If disagreements or fights aren’t
resolved, get marital counseling from a
professional and unbiased therapist, suggests
In his article in Psychology Today,
Karl Pillemer, a family sociologist and
gerontologist who has studied over 700
long-married older people, explains his
three rules that can help couples get along
with their in-laws:
1) Always be loyal to your spouse, especially
when there’s family confl ict.
2) Remember that the reason you want
a good in-law relationship is that you love
3) Don’t talk politics or other hot-button
issues, which can trigger emotions for
both adult children and in-laws.
Balance and Boundaries
Making your spouse your ally will
strengthen your relationship as a couple.
Decide how you plan to handle issues
with your in-laws. For example, if your
mother-in-law criticizes your cooking or
nags you about your hobbies, how will
you and your spouse handle the matter?
Explain to your spouse what you want
to happen and how you can make that
expectation a reality. Many couples
choose to have each partner be the point
person with his or her family when discussing
in-law confl icts.
Th e fi rst year of marriage is an adjustment
period for everyone, including the
couple, in-laws and extended family.
Oft en adult children struggle with balancing
loyalty to their parents and loyalty to
their new husband or wife. Parents want
to still keep a close relationship with their
grown child, too. Th at’s why it’s so important
for adult children to set boundaries
with their parents. Both sides shouldn’t be
too drastic about expectations.
For example, are unannounced visits
acceptable for the newlyweds and parents?
Or does one party want advance
notice? Decide these expectations early
on, and be fl exible until everyone understands
and respects the boundaries.
If respect doesn’t happen, realize you’ll
need to be fi rm about your expectations.
Reinforce what you need from the relationship
without being rude. It may take
time, but adult kids and parents-in-law
can learn to love and honor each other
under new terms.
Tips for Parents-in-Law
Licensed psychologist Farrah Hauke
says a parent-in-law should keep an open
mind and not off er unsolicited advice or
“Ask lots of open-ended questions,”
Hauke suggests. “Put in the eff ort to get
to know them.”
In particular, parents should take an
interest in their child’s signifi cant other
and learn what drew the couple together.
“Talk to your child in advance about
your new son- or daughter-in-law, and
ask them for advice and tips, as well,” says
She cautions parents to be mindful of
their nonverbal behaviors, too, such as
body language and facial expressions.
Parents-in-law are oft en eager for
grandkids, but that is oft en a sensitive
“Please stop pressuring the bride and
groom on family planning,” says Imafi don,
who also urges parents to mind their business
and remember that deciding whether
to have kids and when is a private matter
for the couple, not for the whole family.
She says that if the couple decide not
to have children or to wait, in-laws who
want grandkids should still be supportive
Kristen Castillo is a three-time Emmy
Award-winning journalist. An editor and
writer for wedding magazines, she’s written
hundreds of wedding articles, as well
as an e-book, “Weddings on a Dime.”