Parenting is a big deal, even for the best of us. No two parenting practices are the same, as parents uphold different approaches in raising their kids. Some persons are authoritarian and practice the 'tough love' principle, while some others are more lenient and open.
When raising your kids, conflicts might arise if you live in a household with people who have varying philosophies and approaches. This is especially true when you live with your in-laws, especially a mother-in-law from a generation or culture different from yours.
Some practices that are important to you might seem absurd to your mother-in-law and vice versa. Such differences are bound to lead to disagreements, and in worst cases, quarrels and frustrations.
However, there is a way to manage parenting differences with your mother-in-law while keeping the peace. Here are 6 tips to try when you have issues with a mother-in-law over child upbringing, especially if they are of a different culture and generation from you.
- Keep an Open Mind
Sometimes, it can be hard to accept differing parental advice from people about our kids because we believe that we know what's best for them. However, when dealing with a mother-in-law, it is best to keep an open mind and hear her out because she is also a mother and cares for your child as well.
While her parenting style might be outdated to you, she has a wealth of experience that you can glean from to handle situations that are new to you.
Also, try to understanding that her concerns and contributions stem from a love for her grandchild and not just a desire to be difficult towards you.
- Help her see things from your lens
Just as you might not understand your mother-in-law's ideas and cultural views, she also doesn't know where you are coming from. So, you must explain your point of view to her.
Help her understand the reason behind your decisions, how they have worked for you, and why you hold strongly to your parenting practice. Engage in logic and dialogue and not confrontation, so that you don't come off as stubborn.
- Find a Middle Ground
Try to find a middle ground between your opinion and that of your mother-in-law when possible. Bear in mind that she is suggesting with the best interest of your kid at heart, and it won't be something that can harm your child.
It helps to remember the fact that your mother-in-law raised your husband, and he turned out just fine.
Meet in the middle if you can, and in cases where you cannot meet because either of you refuses to concede, speak to her calmly about your decision.
- Keep it Between the both of you
While bringing in your husband might be like cross your mind several times, try to settle any disagreement between both of you.
If you bring your husband into every issue, it might seem like you are teaming up against your mother-in-law and could also drive a wedge between you both.
Only involve your husband when things get serious and heated, and you don't think there is any other way out. When making major decisions about your child's life or care, you should involve your husband as his opinions matter as well.
- Have your partner mediate if necessary
As stated earlier, your husband should mediate between your mother-in-law and you in such cases where you can't reach a solution. She raised your husband, so he understands her culture and language better than you do. He is also your partner and understands your point of view better.
Your husband should avoid taking sides when mediating so that no party feels sidelined.
- Blame the culture and not the person
Accept that the problem with your mother-in-law is a cultural one and not personal, so don't hate or feel hated because of your disagreements.
Learn about your mother-in-law's culture, beliefs, and practices so that you can relate better with her. Talk to her about your culture as well, to help her understand you.
In all, ensure that you are trying to build a relationship with your mother-in-law regardless of the cultural differences.