How to Deal with Immature in Laws: 6 Steps - MakeSureHow
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If Grandpa needs a babysitter as much as your kiddo, help him act grown up.


If your in-laws are acting immaturely — trying to hoard your youngster, interfering with the relationship between you and your child or acting irresponsibly — it's probably time to step up and make some changes. The way to deal with immature in-laws is much the same as dealing with overbearing or possessive ones: You have to lay down the law. You don't have to be cruel about it, but communication is the key. Just remember, if all else fails, you can always change your name and flee the country. Hopefully though, you'll be able to work out a solution that doesn't involve luggage and a passport.

Steps

  1. 1
    Present a united front with your partner. When you talk to your in-laws about their behavior, it's important that your partner is on your side. If you have a rocky relationship with your in-laws, it may be better to let your partner broach the subject on his own. You want to make your partner fully aware of the situation (if he isn't already) and discuss the issues that need to be addressed with your in-laws. Figure out where you're willing to make compromises and where you just can't budge. Stopping by for an extra visit or two during the week may be tolerable, but picking up your kiddo half way through the day from preschool to visit the ice cream parlor just isn't acceptable.
  2. 2
    Explain the issues in no uncertain terms. If they're filling your kiddo with candy before dinner each time they visit -- and they visit a lot -- tell them this is not acceptable. Be kind, but firm. "We understand that it makes you happy to give Tori treats when you come to visit, but she's not hungry for dinner when you do. You have to stop giving her treats when you come over." When possible, provide alternatives. "You’re welcome to bring over a treat, but we'd appreciate it if you'd hold on to it and show it to her after dinner."
  3. 3
    Stay calm. If your in-laws are immature, they probably won't accept your boundaries graciously. If they rant and rave or brush off the conversation because they "know about raising a child better than you do," simply reinforce your message calmly. There's no need and no benefit in turning the discussion into a screaming match.
  4. 4
    Stick to the boundaries. You've laid the ground rules and now it's time to enforce them. Be kind, but firm again. It's possible that it may take your in-laws a little bit of time to get used to the rules, but that's why you're there to help them remember. If your mother-in-law reaches to pull out a treat from her purse next time she arrives for a visit, take her aside gently and remind her about your discussion. "I’m sure you just forgot, but remember, it's really important that Talia eats a healthy dinner before you give her a treat. Just hold on to it for a little bit and you can surprise her with it after she's done eating."
  5. 5
    Supervise the visits if grandma- and grandpa-in-law aren't going by the rules. If they're now just sneaking your child treats behind your back, you'll have to be there to be the enforcer. This means you may have to reduce the number of visits, according to your schedule, and your kiddo's day trips out with the grandparents will have to come to an end. You can discuss the issue with them, but be prepared to be met with immature hostility. Most adults, even immature ones, do not want to be supervised. Consider family therapy if the issues persist, where all parties are encouraged to express themselves and a therapist may be able to help you come to solutions that are healthy for each individual person and the family unit as a whole.
  6. 6
    Limit or eliminate contact. If nothing has worked so far or the problems are escalating, you may not want your immature in-laws involved in with your child. It's possible that they may take out their anger by giving you the silent treatment or worse, talking about you to your child behind your back or taking it out on your youngster. If this happens, you have a tough decision to make; continue to try to supervise every interaction or cut off visits until your in-laws are willing to act mature. You may want your kiddo to have a rich family life, but their involvement may be more detrimental if immaturity turns into vindictiveness.

Article Info

Categories: Education and Communications

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