How to deal with in-laws


Courtesy photo: Matt and Christine Daugherty

To avoid strained relationships with the in-laws, it is best to be flexible and to cooperate with each other.

Laura Bucklin

Some may cringe when they think of their future in-laws. The post “Oh Happy Day” from explains this feeling.

“I look forward to the day that I get to place my mother-in-law in the old folks home … I will drop my mother-in-law off kicking and screaming without even stopping the car. I will simply nudge her out the door as my tires squeal around the curb. As I drive by with my middle finger out the window and in the air, I will smile as I watch her roll and tumble into the arms of a burly orderly who immediately injects her with a sedative. I’m sure that I will also be laughing uncontrollably. Then, I will do the Macarena the whole way home stopping only at the closest bar to buy everyone inside a round of drinks.”

To avoid these hateful feelings toward individuals who you will be related to, we’ve put together a couple of tips for dealing with in-laws.

The first tip is to express empathy toward your in-laws. You always need to remember your spouse is their child, brother or sister. They will always be looking out for his or her best interest.

“If you put their son or daughter first in your life, they can see that you make each other happy, and they will love you,” said Amanda Golding Fontana, an open-option freshman, who recently married Spencer Fontana, also an open-option freshman. 


If your parents clash, don’t worry, because it’s a way of life. No one is going to like everyone, and these issues come up all the time. It is important to remember to shake it off. Your parents are adults, so they should be able to handle their own issues.

Golding and Fontana’s families get along well because they “spend a lot of time together.”

So if your in-laws don’t get along with you or your family, maybe it’s time to plan more get-togethers so everyone can understand each other better.

If your in-laws upset your spouse, it is important to remember to keep your cool. Snapping at your new family may be awkward or uncalled for.

It’s common sense that people don’t always get along. Most students are not always singing “Kumbaya” with their own parents either. Issues come up here and there, so it’s important to deal with them like an adult.

“We try to listen to each other’s opinion or side of the story, and figure out what the best way to go about fixing it is,” Golding Fontana said. “Sometimes, that is easier said than done.”


Holidays can also be a huge issue, but it’s all about communication and compromise. You’ll always run into the trouble of dual-holiday invites.

“We haven’t had any issues so far, because we spend time with both families in the same day,” Golding Fontana said in regard to holidays.

The Fontana and Golding families are fortunate because they live very close, but for other couples, this may not be the case.

To spare yourself from multiple holidays, compromise with your in-laws.

Decide if you want to do every other year and promise them you’ll split the time equally.

It is also important to be truthful. If you don’t intend on going to your sister-in law’s church choir performance of Silent Night, then don’t promise that you’ll be there. That will just lead to more issues in the long run.

Another holiday issue is tradition. If your in-laws are forcing you to do traditions you don’t like or don’t feel comfortable with, then negotiate. If you’re at your own house, remind them you make the rules and try to incorporate each family’s traditions here and there.

It is also important to embrace the new family you’re legally a part of. Try your best not to have hateful feelings like the post above. When you try and enjoy your in-laws, they won’t feel like a legal obligation anymore. They’ll feel like actual relatives.

“At first, I thought it would be hard because I wanted his whole family to like me,” Golding Fontana said. “But now everything is normal. It’s like being around my own family.”