“You need to put the kids to bed earlier!” or “This child should be helping you with chores by now.” Such comments from the in-laws, criticizing your parenting method, are downright unsavory. Their words make you uncomfortable and communicate disrespect. Parents are given the onus of bringing up their children by God. While it’s okay to offer advice on how they can ace the parenting journey, it is wrong to make them feel incompetent as you impose your parenting tactics on them.
Instead, consider being helpful. Rather than telling your daughter-in-law she should have the kids in bed already, ask if you can dress them in their pj’s and read a bedtime story. This way, you are helping with your actions rather than condemning with your words.
(When in doubt, don’t offer an answer unless they first ask a question.)
10. Your Family Does That?
Families are unique, possessing varying family traditions. Different cultures, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and regional distinctions all pour into how families commune. Perhaps your sister-in-law’s family has to round up on Christmas Eve and take photos in their pajamas. Or perhaps they have to go camping twice each year. Though their traditions may sound a little puzzling to you, avoid criticizing what they do. Nitpicking at what the other family fancies is demeaning and disrespectful.
In addition, if you allow your attitude to turn sour, pointing out the “weird” things they do, you are likely missing out on fun experiences for you and your kids. Give camping a try! Or see who can find the gaudiest Christmas pajamas. Learn to embrace the eccentric pieces of your in-laws’ traditions. They might just become your favorites!