Not all in-laws are created equally. Some are intrusive, and cross boundaries far too often. Some may seek to undermine relationships, while others want to control one’s choices.
Of course not all in-laws are bad or evil, but some may seek to pose trouble to their own child or to the partner. Thus, the in-law may not only intrude, but cause conflict between the couple.
The challenge is in setting boundaries.
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Boundaries can range from cutting off relationships entirely, to setting rules with the in-laws, or setting rules between the couple for how to manage behaviour of the in-laws.
A good practice is for the child of the intrusive in-laws to be the one to address their parents. This can be done privately or in the presence of one’s partner, as agreed upon. Either way, it is important for the in-laws to understand that the couple is united in their request or requirement.Limiting time with in-laws and requiring both partners be present for visits can help mitigate intrusions. It can also help to have an escape plan.Click To Tweet This means the couple will have an agreement on asking in-laws to leave or leaving their company on the basis of certain behaviour.
Many folks worry about respecting one’s parents. While this is a reasonable expectation, it only works when that respect is shown both ways.
If ultimately you find you must end a relationship with your parents, it may be helpful to chat with a counsellor first for guidance. Other less intrusive solutions may be available.
If the in-laws are also grandparents to your children, you may also need to discuss a plan for when, if or under what circumstances, you would allow their access to your children. The challenge will be moving forward in a way that doesn’t require legal intervention or provoke legal action. Speaking with a family law lawyer may be appropriate with those concerns.