How to Have a Happy Holidays WITH the In-Laws

Hello! It's the time of year that we start thinking about the holidays--and spending time with family and the in-laws. Here to help is moxiemom and in-law expert Jenna D. Barry who wrote the book on in-laws literally, A Wife's Guide to In-laws. Hope you enjoy her sage advice. Check out her site too below.   

Guide to Happy Holidays With the In-Laws

Some people look forward to spending the holidays with family,

while others would rather be run over by a reindeer. Some folks

anticipate a time of love and joy-- while others can't wait for this

season of guilt and manipulation to be over.

It's true that some in-laws are stereotyped unfairly, but others

really are difficult to be around. Some mothers-in-law gossip

about us, pry into our personal lives, and manipulate us with guilt. Some

fathers-in-law criticize us, offer unwanted advice, and meddle with

the way we raise our kids.

Spending time with our spouse's family is part of the marriage

commitment, so we might as well learn to make the best of it.

Here are five ways to improve visits with your in-laws:

1. Get out of victim mode. You are an adult on equal standing

with your in-laws, so don't behave as though you are a child on an

inferior level to them. Their needs and opinions do not outrank yours.

Be confident and assertive (but not antagonistic, hateful or vengeful).

2. Unite as husband and wife to deal with difficult in-laws.

Make decisions based on your needs as a couple, and then communicate and

draw (reasonable) boundaries with Hubby's folks as needed. If

your partner struggles with making you a priority over his parents, then

educate yourself on how to gain his loyalty.

3. Learn how to minimize destructive gossip. Avoid criticizing

your husband's parents in his presence because that will trigger his

instinct to defend them. When necessary, vent your frustration to a

counselor or support group instead of your family or friends.

Apologize to your in-laws for gossiping about them, tell them you

intend to stop doing so, and ask them to show you the same

respect. Ask your spouse to refuse to listen if his folks start to talk

behind your back.

4. Be prepared to handle difficult situations with your

in-laws. Memorize some key phrases to use when they ask intrusive

questions, interfere with the way you raise your kids, offer

unwanted advice, manipulate you with guilt, etc.

"That's classified. I could tell you, but then I'd have

to kill you."

"Let's talk about something else instead."

"You're entitled to your opinion, but I've made my decision."

"I know you're just trying to help, but this isn't your decision."

5. Learn to let your in-laws be upset. When you start behaving as

a confident adult, they may act offended, cry, throw

a tantrum, gossip about you, accuse you of being disrespectful, etc.

They might test you to see how serious you are about setting

boundaries (just like a toddler would), so it's very important that you stand

your ground (in a respectful manner) instead of arguing, apologizing,

or giving excuses for your behavior.

When you start to behave in a new way, your in-laws will begin to

A Wife's Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband's Loyalty Without Killing His Parentstreat you differently. And who knows? Someday you may

actually look forward to the holiday season.

Jenna D. Barry is the author of "A Wife's Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband's Loyalty Without Killing His Parents." To join her support group or find a counselor, please visit

Popular Posts