To be a great daughter in law, DO :
1. Be clear, honest, and calm with both your husband and mother in law about your needs and desires. To be a great daughter in law, be honest.
2. Gracefully and humbly admit it if you’ve made a mistake, such as expecting too much or trying to control your husband’s mother’s actions or personality.
3. Respect your mother in law’s opinions, wisdom, age, and experience.
4. Build a good relationship with your husband’s mother listening to her. Stay away from your in laws if they could harm or abuse you or your children.
5. Have a “party line” and stick to it (“We chose to spend the money this way and we stand by our decision,” said calmly and repeatedly will eventually dissuade even the most stubborn mother in law).
6. Let your husband – her son – discuss big issues with her. As the daughter in law, stand back. Encourage him to set and maintain boundaries, such as calling before visiting.
7. Call your mother in law just to say hi. Being a great daughter in law starts with being thoughtful.
8. Be firm that your mother in law respects your wishes. If she shows up uninvited despite your request to call first, gently turn her away. You may be her daughter in law but you can stick to your guns!
9. Stand up for yourself if your mother in law criticizes your appearance, house, or parenting style. Point out remarks you think are unfair or unnecessary when they happen (not months later, or to your husband that night).
10. Enlist your husband’s support in standing up for yourself. Building a good relationship with you mother in law involves getting support.
11. Stick to your decisions as wife, mother, and daughter in law. Be considerate of health concerns of your mother in law, such as depression, failing physical health, and fears of aging. A great daughter in law cares about other people’s health.
12. Be consistently clear that your mother in law is not in control of your home, children, or husband.
13. Be patient in the face of hostility, silence, or rejection. Building a good relationship with your mother in law requires patience.
14. Show respect and compassion to your husband’s mother even when you don’t feel like it.
15. Learn the difference between “help” and “control”. Help is lending money; control is dictating how it’s spent. Build a good relationship with your mother in law by focusing on helping or being helped.
16. Realize that being firm and clear about your wishes won’t ruin your relationship. Building a good relationship with your husband’s mother requires work!
17. Pay attention to your mother in law’s needs and wishes. A great daughter in law considers others’ desires.
18. Ask your mother in law to join your world! Invite her to take a walk, yoga class, or art gallery tour with you. Change your environment, and you may change your daughter in law relationship.
19. Accept that personality conflicts happen, and learn to live with differences of opinion, perspective, and culture. A great daughter in law knows and accepts who she is.
To be a great daughter in law, DON’T:
1. Tell mother in law jokes unless they’re positive.
2. Offer excuses or rationalizations to your husband’s mother. Stand by your decisions and choices.
3. Get drawn into arguments, debates, or screaming matches. A great daughter in law lets things go.
4. Let little things bother you. If your mother in law refuses to go to your place for the holidays, then enjoy the relaxation of not hosting.
5. Expect your mother in law and husband to read your mind. Building a good relationship with your mother in law requires honesty.
6. Be afraid to apologize. A great daughter in law says “I’m sorry, I was wrong,” when necessary.
7. Expect an apology from your husband’s mother in return. Building a good relationship with your mother in law requires no expectations.
8. Let your mother in law’s assessment of you color your self-perspective as a daughter in law or woman. You can’t control what others think; you can only be who you are and live up to your own standards.
9. Be swayed by complaints, comparisons, or nagging from your husband’s mother.
10. Be rude, critical, or overly sensitive to your mother in law.
11. Criticize your in laws in front of your children. Building a good relationship with your husband’s mother means that you don’t cut others down.
12. Let your happiness depend on other people. A great daughter in law is happily self-sufficient.