Dear Dr. Laura:
I learned early on that my mother-in-law was great if you always agreed with her. If she had a personal issue with me, she always let me know, but any honesty from me to her was met with hostility and anger. I learned so much from this woman about what NOT to do to a daughter-in-law.
When my son married, I gave my new daughter-in-law the best disclaimer I could come up with:
I've never been a mother-in-law before, so I'm sure at some point, I might unintentionally say or do something that might upset you. PLEASE come to me right away so I can hear you out and make healthy adjustments for the sake of our new relationship. I am teachable and open!
My daughter-in-law LOVED that. When she was pregnant with our first grandchild, I gave her a similar disclaimer:
I've never been a Grandma before. At some point, I might unintentionally say or do something regarding this child that might upset you because of your parenting style. Please, come to be right away and talk to me. I am open, teachable, and I will make any adjustments toward a healthy relationship between us.
So far, I haven't had to have the conversation with her, and she and my son have been married for six years!
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