Categorized | Family

Surviving the In-Laws During the Holidays

Now, with all this joy and good cheer, the holiday season usually brings out the best in people, but at times it can also bring out the worst. While it seems the tipping point rests with the people with whom you’re sharing your time, it actually sits with you.

You might feel the groan growing from the depths of your stomach when it’s time again to make the trek to your in-laws house for yet another blob of canned cranberry sauce and round of stories (and maybe subtle criticisms) you’ve heard for the 300th time.

If you feel like you’re stepping off a cliff at such times, like any good survivalist you need a plan to break the fall. Here are some things that just might help.

It’s temporary. Every interaction we have with others is temporary, and time with your in-laws is temporary too. Knowing something will end can help us relax and maybe even find something positive in the shared time. Attitude can do wonders with making that glass seem a bit less empty.

shifting sand and a door

Take perspective. See them differently, not as an in-law but rather as another human being doing the best they can with what they know. So are you. Your advantage is you know better because you’re bothering to read this article. As renowned poet Maya Angelou once said, “When you know better, you do better.” So much for excuses.

flower, differentBe different. You CAN’T change them but you CAN change yourself and how you interact with others. In relationships where there’s poor or miscommunication there are NO innocent parties.


Hello, Stranger. We tend to treat people we DON’T know well better than the people we DO knowwomen talking well. Talk with them as if you’re talking with a stranger waiting in line or at an airport. What you learn may just surprise you.

family laughingLaugh. Life is short and could be even shorter for your in-laws. Being happy and being happy with others is a choice. If you don’t look for the good, how can you find it?


Take the high road. Don’t let it be personal even if it is. If you find yourself on the receiving end of criticisms and snide remarks about you or someone else, ignore it. We can only grow what we pay attention to.

helping handLend support. If the situation is tough on you, chances are your partner finds it equally as hard. Talk to each other about it. Make a game plan. A secret word that lets them know you need a break. A gesture that tells them they need to step in. When you partner, you avoid playing into the drama.

It might be tempting to just “tell it like it is” when dealing with your in-laws, but it’s not just your time you’d be impacting. All the people presented will be directly or indirectly affected so before you take that leap, step back and consider the consequences on every adult and child present.

One more thing. If the potential for conflict is too high, then it’s okay not to go or to just limit your time there. The most important thing is to talk to each other about it and come up with a solution that works for you two.

You get back what you put out there. What’s worked for you when “surviving” the in-laws?

If you enjoyed this post, you should check out our other Family Posts


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