Can you give some ways to develop closeness with daughter-in-law?

@Jenaisle (14078)
Philippines
January 14, 2009 11:59pm CST
The relationship of a mother in law and daughter in law is one of the most difficut relationships to cultivate, what concrete suggestions would you recommend to develop a good relationship with her? I have my own ideas but well, I'm very much interested to know more from all of you. Thanks and happy mylotting.
3 people like this
17 responses
@jakill (835)
17 Jan 09
I don't have a daughter-in-law at the moment as my son is divorced. But he has a partner, and while he is away at the moment,I am keeping in touch with her. We went out to lunch together last weekend and call and text each other. She is feeling rather vulnerable wile he is away and I've agreed that she can come and stay here for a week. It is a little further for her to go to work from here and will be difficult as she doesn't drive, so she must have a reason. Perhaps she just needs a listening ear. No doubt I will find out. I know we both have my son's interests at heart so there shouldn't be any conflict there. Jena, you have received a lot of good advice on these pages which I'm sure will guide your actions. Sometimes as well with these things you just have to play it by ear. That's why I gave you the example above.
2 people like this
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
17 Jan 09
Thanks Jean. Yes, you're right, these are all good advices. Many heads are better than one. Lol... And I like what you said about you and her having the interest of your son in mind. Happy mylotting.
@nilzerous1 (2434)
• India
15 Jan 09
I think this is the most difficult thing in the universe. Even I expect to see the end of all rivalry between our neighboring countries - but I do not expect to see any change in the relationship of any mother-in-law with daughter-in-law. I am absolutely frustrated in this issue. If there is only one option, that is to part away and live in peace, when the things go beyond control! Believe me! Both simply can't tolerate each other. This is something strange but this is fact. And the issue is - invariably the Mom's kids, and their pampering by Grandmas! Obviously, on the positive note - there are some ways to reduce the impact of collision, or its frequency of occurance. Both, and both of them, must be heavily occupied in their own field, which should be different. Besides, they must not interact much with one another while at home. Better they should interact while in an outing, or in a party. I know my response may sound silly, but this is based on real-life fact.
1 person likes this
• India
16 Jan 09
Yes. That's the safest option! And I think this is something very difficult to exercise. I know you are very affectionate and caring. But when it comes to DIL - I believe it is difficult to understand what will make them happy!!! Obviously, I have few more suggestions - never show your concern for Mom's child! Mom's are extremely possessive in this issue. And this is the number one source of all issues in most of the cases. Let her do whatever she wants to do with her child. And you need to take it very sportingly. Instead of being silent, (in most cases - this is a common MIL-DIL duel syndrome), you need to try and adjust with the situation, and to try to stay happy. Just try to behave normally. Secondly, start exchanging dialogs within two - to - three days of an incident. Talk about common family matters - like kitchen, or household factors. Thirdly, organize family events as much as possible. And one more final word - never never never take 'few words' as the reflection of an entire personality. We are not 'Obama' or Mrs. Clinton! We are basically commoners. So, while exchanging dialogs few flaws (even shocking) may tend to come onto surface. We do not calculate so much while exchanging dialogs. So, take those words as simple 'exception' to one's normal behavior. And forget it as early as you can. Hope this helps you, particularly point #3, as I have implemented it successfully in different occasions.
1 person likes this
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
15 Jan 09
Hi Nilz, it seems you've had a lot of experience in this area...lol. It is better that MIL and DIL live apart? I think that's what you suggested indirectly...am I right? This is the safest option. That's why MIL are usually called the villains..lol..I hope I'm not one. Thanks for that unique insight on the topic. Happy mylotting.
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
16 Jan 09
I'm confused Nilz, you've implemented this successfully? I thought you were male? lol..but I have to agree that they are sound and logical suggestions. The comprehensiveness of your answer is also impressive. Your purpose is to really help. Thanks for the concern and for those words of wisdom. Take care and God bless.
@Lindalinda (4111)
• Canada
15 Jan 09
Yes, I agree with you, this relationship is a precarious one and it takes time to develop it. I would say I have an excellent relationship with my daughter-in-law. I never want to be her mother, she has a mother already. I cultivate her friendship and have never critized her. If she asks my opinion I give it honestly but respectfully. There are lots and lots of issues where we have different opinions and where I think she is mistaken because she has not had the experience in life. But I leave it at that and keep quiet. I never give my little granddaughter anything to eat unless I check with my daughter-in-law first. At times I help out and pick up the child from day care centre and bring her to her house. My daughter in law usually leaves a note on her kitchen table as to what to feed her. Sometimes the child refuses that food so I give her something else that she had before for instance cottage cheese and apple sauce and tell the mom when she gets home that the child did not eat the food that was left for her. I offer no opinion as to why she did not eat it. I don't buy the type of toys or clothes that my daughter-in-law does not like. I don't like to babysit at night and have told her and my son. They respect that and arrange for a sitter if they go out at night. As far as closeness is concerned I think both of us prefer a respectful but somewhat distant friendship.
• Canada
16 Jan 09
Thanks for your comment. No, I don't tell my daughter-in-law when she has made a mistake. My daughter-in-law is an adult, an intelligent professional woman who stood on her own two feet before she married my son and could do so again if need be. I trust and believe that she sees when she made a mistake and learns from it just as we all do. Even at my age I still learn things almost every day but I sure would not want somebody to tell me every time I made a mistake. You may think this relationship is too distant. Perhaps it is for some people but it works for us and it keeps both our lives free of friction and possible resentment. I guess we all have to find our own comfort level. Best of luck.
1 person likes this
• Canada
16 Jan 09
P.S. I got the advice from my own mom many many years ago who told me that when she got married she had to move in with her parents-in-law and many a night she cried herself to sleep because her mother-in-law. I guess young brides are extremely sensitive. My husband and I lived in another city so I did not see my own mother-in-law that often.
1 person likes this
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
16 Jan 09
You don't tell her her mistakes? I see. Your comment has lent valuable contribution to the discussion. It seems it is a no intervention relationship. You just allow or trusted the judgment of your DIL. Isn't it a little bit distant? Thanks for the vital input. Cheers.
• Philippines
15 Jan 09
In every relationship it takes two to tango. The daughter-in-law (DIL) must be also willing to cultivate a relationship with the mother-in-law (MIL). First and foremost, love between them must be there even before the girl and the son got married. The MIL and the DIL should get along early on the relationship and not after the wedding. The bonding between MIL and DIL should have happen when son and gf are still on their dating stage or serious stage. Since this is not always the case, then taking the effort to talk to her or have a lunch out just the two of you and start to have conversation. Take interest in the DIL's interest. Make SUGGESTION and NOT IMPOST decisions between husband and wife. Love her like she is your own daughter. This should also be done by the DIL. Again a relationship is a two way street.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
15 Jan 09
I'm old but not that old. I'm married that is why I know this things. I could see it firsthand with my mother and my wife. They have a roller coaster relationship at first but now they seem to respect each other and learned to get along.
1 person likes this
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
15 Jan 09
Hello biznizman , you must admit what we both meant was impose...lol...you're right of course. cheers.
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
15 Jan 09
That's a very good advice. I don't impost anything on DIL. I make suggestions only. and all your suggestions are worth a try. You seem to be familiar with the topic, I assume you have DIL? bravo and cheers.
@mayka123 (16583)
• India
15 Jan 09
When I got married 22 years ago my mother in law gave me a very warm welcome and treated me like a daughter and not a daughter-in-law. We had a very good relationship till she expired five years ago. She became a friend whom I could confide in. My husband and I belonged to different religions but my mother in law did not let that be a hindrance in our marriage. She encouraged me to continue going to church every Sunday. Inspite of being a pure vegetarian she took the troube of cooking non-vegetarian food for me on my weekly holidays. I would treat my daughter-in-law more as a friend.
1 person likes this
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
15 Jan 09
That was admirable, being a friend is a good relationship. Thanks for the good input. Cheers.
@dpk262006 (58675)
• Delhi, India
15 Jan 09
Mayka! Great response and superb mother-in-law!
@mayka123 (16583)
• India
15 Jan 09
Thanks Dpk, The best thing about our relationship was we came even more close after my husband expired and she gave me a lot of moral support when I most needed it.
1 person likes this
@vikeyshuy (284)
• China
16 Jan 09
my mother in law is a kind woman.we get on well with each other. she cooks well and often come to my house cooking for me and my husband. she often clean the house without letting me know. she treats me like her own daughter and invites me to go shopping with her,buying me a lot of clothes.when i am ill, she takes care of me. i really love her.i think all above i listed is the secret of developing closeness with daughter in law.
1 person likes this
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
16 Jan 09
Thanks for that vital contribution. Cooking is one that don't have the talent to do. That's very sweet of your MIL. Cheers.
• Canada
25 Jan 09
She is doing all this because you have let her in your life and not excluded her..you see we mothers in laws love to help out and I also love to do things for them. I even have a key to their house..does she have one for yours? You see if she treats you like HER DAUGHTER..you must treat her AS your MOTHER..even if you have a mother..it makes you TWO mothers..one who raised you and can give you advice on how to be a wife..and the other to give you advice on how to be with their sons..this way you will learn all about their son that and save you from having to learn the hard way. hehehe. When you a mother in law as your ally...trust me the son doesn't go running to Mommy. My sons know that they cannot come and complain to me because I will not take sides..and will put them in their place if they are wrong lollllll.. actually my daughters in law ..say..go see your mom and ask her if what you are doing is right.! lollll actually they answer..Nah..she wont take my side.. So you see what I mean..when I say..never ever talk against your mother in law because their sons will go and tell them and they do use their mother as leverage and most mothers think..THEIR SONS CAN'T DO NO WRONG..they are blind. lol
1 person likes this
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
26 Jan 09
lol, that was very good advice dancing. the MIL must be an ally, and son will think twice committing transgressions..lol...that's wisdom. Thanks.
• Canada
15 Jan 09
I believe that the mother/son relationship is an incredibly strong one and it is difficult for many mothers to accept the DIL as "the new woman" in their son's life. All the things the mother used to do (or try to do) for him, she no longer does. I think it's hard for some mothers to "let go" because they don't feel needed or they feel "replaced." However, it's really important that the MIL/DIL relationship be one of respect for each other, as individuals and as women. Also, the MIL should refrain from "taking sides" or getting involved in personal decisions that the couple should make alone (from finances to how to raise kids to what kind of pet to own... any and all of it). If asked, it's gracious to share one's opinion but it's beneficial not to be judgemental or condescending. The younger woman can also be respectful of the older woman's life experience. She's learned a thing or two along the way and probably wants to genuinely help, in a lot of ways. There is often a battle of wills between MIL and DIL and I feel it's important for the son/husband to be involved in the structure and be strong about his relationship with each woman... not favoring one over the other but, rather, considering each situation individually.
1 person likes this
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
16 Jan 09
I agree with your points. Yes, it's difficult to accept that fact and at times the MIL has her own agenda about child-rearing that the DIL might not be able to agree on . The battle of wills is inevitable and the son is the mediator. It is difficult not to take sides in case of the husband as obviously one of them is wrong. I like your comment about not being judgmental and condescending. I totally agree with you, but my question now concerns the aspect about mediating. How could the husband stay in the middle when obviously one of them is wrong? Thanks for that very significant input. Cheers.
@jillhill (37354)
• United States
16 Jan 09
I have actually had a good relationship with my DIL until recently...we have done tons of things together including shopping....going on vacation....weekends scrapping....and for the most part we get along very well.....she is really good to me and I try to be good to her. The part right now is that she hasn't been getting along well with my son.....so she doesn't make any effort to be with me anymore. Hopefully once they get things ironed out she'll return to the relationship that we once had. I do miss the time I have spent with her....but understand how when they aren't getting along...I am still his mom. So I would say...be very respectful to each other....remember you don't always have to say what's on your mind....even if you disagree with her. Make sure you remember that she is his wife.....as his mother you will always be important to him...but she should be first in his heart....
1 person likes this
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
16 Jan 09
Ouch, she would be first in his heart is true. You take the second place. Respect is indeed important and I do hope your son and DIL will soon get things ironed out. Good luck and cheers.
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
26 Jan 09
Dancing, that's amazing! lol...you have indeed experience ..lol..genuine. You might want to give important pointers for all of us here. Thanks for the active participation. I'll remember those that you mentioned. Cheers and happy mylotting.
• Canada
25 Jan 09
Firstly..what is the reason she isn't getting along with your son? Secondly..go see her and say that because she isn't getting along with your son that it has nothing to do with you and that you don't want your relationship to be ruined because of their differences. Tell me what is going on and I will tell you what to do as I am a Mother In Law and I have grand children and great grand children. I'm 65 so I have experience. I have 9 grand children and 8 great grand children and grt aunt for 5. so I think am pretty good at helping to solve a problem.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Jan 09
I have been married for three years now. At first my relationship with my mother-in-law started out very rocky. We had "family meetings" that were designed to help us plan our marriage. Sort of. My husbands parents wanted us to have a down payment for a house, six months salary saved, all my student loans paid off, two cars, life insurance of at least 100,000 on each of us, health insurance, a savings account for our first born child (which of course hadn't happened yet), a few other things before we got married. Well...none the less it would have taken us years and years to get that far in life. Instead we got married on a day we both had off, with a new apartment, and not even two pennies to rub together. This made for a rocky start, but now we have a great relationship. The first thing you should do would be to give it time. No matter what, there is some time that needs to happen to develop that relationship. We all know the horror stories about mother-in-laws and to some extent we are all afraid that our mother-in-law will turn out to be horrible. Other tips include: -Always smile and be warm and friendly -Offer to help when it might be nice for her to have help -Don't offer advice unless it is asked for (it doesn't feel like advice, but rather condemnation). -Make sure she (and your son) know that you are there, but don't be hovering -Always call and make arrangements before you come over. This takes away the surprise visit stress. Good Luck
1 person likes this
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
15 Jan 09
This is a comprehensive response. Spending with each other is indeed great. smiling is a good tip, so is giving it more time. Thanks for this well thought of answer. Happy mylotting.
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
15 Jan 09
Your answer is very comprehensive and well though of. I like your suggestions of smiling, spending time together, giving it more time as very useful, You've covered all of the aspects of the discussion. BTW,you mean when MIL only is visiting? But these are all applicable also when mother in law is living with DIL. Thanks and happy mylotting.
@mjmlagat (3170)
• Philippines
15 Jan 09
Maybe constant communication and openness will help a lot. Plus the time togetherly spent is a must inorder to familiarize each other and consider each other's strengths and weaknesses. Happy posting!
1 person likes this
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
15 Jan 09
Open communication is a good idea and more time, thanks and cheers.
@Fortunata (1135)
• United States
15 Jan 09
I'm not a mother-in-law, but if I were, I'd try to find out what my daughter-in-law's interests and hobbies were. Maybe you can find something you both enjoy to do together. I've seen too many mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law get off on the wrong foot on both sides of my family. The fact that you want to get close to your daughter-in-law is great. Good luck!
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
16 Jan 09
Thanks, yes, I'm trying to discover what her interests are. Cheers.
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
26 Jan 09
Dancing, in some instances that's true. But in my case, I'm glad I'm assured of the love of my son even with DIL around. Thanks for that significant input. I appreciate it and you're right. Happy mylotting.
• Canada
25 Jan 09
That is excellent..the reason that they get off on the wrong side of their foot is because the Mother In Law hasn't cut the amblical cord and accept that her son loves another woman and is affaid that the daughter in law will cut her son's love for her off. That is the main reason for all troubles with between them.
1 person likes this
@lisa0502 (1724)
• Canada
15 Jan 09
My mother in law and I are very close. We spend time together and talk alot. We are very honest with each other for one. We do not judge each other. And we try to spend time together so that we can get to know each other. We do alot of fun things together.
1 person likes this
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
15 Jan 09
That's good. I hope you'll stay that way. God bless and cheers.
@blink182m (182)
• Philippines
15 Jan 09
To develop closeness with the daughter-in-law, you must open up a topic that really makes an interest in that way you can develop closeness to her. Just try to be yourself and not pretending like some other do. I'm sure your daughter-in-law will listen to you if you try to be yourself.
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
16 Jan 09
Thanks for that vital comment. We usually disagree on the discipline of the child. Cheers.
@cblecher (13)
• United States
15 Jan 09
One thing might be to not be a mother figure to her as much as maybe a friend or older sister, I have an awesome mother-in-law and wouldn't give her up, yes we have our ups and downs but we get through them, she never has treated me as one of her children but as an equal, and we have lots of fun, we go places, have great talks and have secrets between each other, she struggles with some of the other daughter in-laws, so since we get along so well I think I am more special to her than the others.
1 person likes this
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
16 Jan 09
That's great , good for you. How did you do it? lol..the other DILs must be envious of you. Thanks for the vital input. Cheers.
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
17 Jan 09
You're right, for it to be successful, it should be a two way process. I do hope mine will be reciprocated. Thanks again for the active participation and happy mylotting.
@royal52gens (5488)
• United States
15 Jan 09
Smile. Welcome her into your heart and your life. Spend time talking and listening to her. Allow her to ask you questions. Don't criticize her. Make her feel welcome and the relationship will grow. Be a friend to her first and foremost. When cooking together, encourage creativity but don't tell her what she is doing wrong or how she should do something. Laugh together but not at her.
1 person likes this
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
15 Jan 09
Those are important pointers, but I think criticism is good as long as it is consructie and done in a diplomatuc way. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks for those vital pointers. Cheers.
@sid556 (30960)
• United States
2 May 09
I was married and divorced twice and am still very close to both of my mother in laws. They always treated me as a friend. They were supportive and not critical. They did not interfere in our marriage...were supportive of our relationship working. Even in times of trouble...they did not take sides (at least openly). It's a 2 way street really. If you like your daughter in law...be greatful that she makes your son happy and treat her as such. Important...when your son and his wife are having problems & they will....be careful of what you say and try not to get too involved. Listen to him but don't side with him against her. When they kiss & make up.....you'll look like the evil MOL!
@rashmigs (400)
• Singapore
15 Jan 09
Yes, very true. This is one of the hardest relationships to cultivate. All that a mother-in-law(MIL) has to do is treat her dtr-in-law(DIL) like her daughter and not as her son's wife. Its as simple as that. The DIL must also learn to respect and love her MIL as her own mother. Though no one can replace a mother's love, DIL needs to know that she has entered a new stage of her life and should know that she needs to respect her MIL. A relationship improves only by treating someone as your own.
1 person likes this
@Jenaisle (14078)
• Philippines
15 Jan 09
I like that, treat her as a daughter. Thanks for that significant comment. cheers.