Are you divorced? If so, are you friendly with your in-laws? I had a long conversation with a friend yesterday who is struggling with being cordial with her ex in-laws. Her relationship ended a few years ago but she shares children with her ex-husband and occasionally she has to deal with his family. They weren’t supportive during the relationship and became downright vicious during their divorce.
With school out, her children have gotten invitations to hang out with their cousins and that means awkward drop-offs and one word conversations with her ex sister-in-law. My friend feels a bit put out and annoyed that her children have chosen to keep in contact with the side of their family who have been unkind to their mother. As a child of divorced parents, I know how fragile relationships can be especially after divorce. People take sides and leave people battered and bruised with words that are often hurled with partial information.
My advice to her was to understand that children unlike adults have the ability to forgive and forget. She shouldn’t be upset because they want to spend time with their family. Children shouldn’t have to defend or fight their parents battles. Secondly, I’d invite my in-laws out for lunch or coffee. Explain to them that though there’s been friction in the past, you want to forge a new and healthy relationship. Not only will you benefit from having your true feelings heard, your kids will learn conflict resolution. Lastly, I’d speak to my ex about creating healthy boundaries and how damaging “bad mouthing” each other is. Apologize if you must and move forward.
Relationships, even broken ones need someone to be an advocate of peace and humility. I can’t promise you that your ex and in-laws will be mature enough to be kind or receptive but you’ll be at peace knowing that you tried.

Are you dealing with crazy in-laws? Let me know in the comments

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