It's important to know where to draw the line.

By Nancy Mattia
March 20, 2019
Couple Walking Outdoors with In-Laws
Credit: Skynesher / Getty Images

First of all, if you're seeking advice on not overstepping boundaries into your child and new spouse's life, you're to be commended. It's easy to act like a helicopter parent even when your "child" is married. To ensure that you're the best in-law ever, it's important to learn how to show your love without suffocating anyone. Here, our best tips on how to strike the right balance.

Don't offer advice unless asked.

If your son or daughter was old enough to get married, they're old enough to figure out solutions to whatever problems or situations come up. If your knee-jerk reaction is to tell them how to act and what to do, they may resent being treated like young children, too naïve and ignorant to handle things on their own. Even if you mean well and just want to help, hold off until they ask for it. Don't pull the "I know from experience" card either.

Don't drop by uninvited.

At least not all the time. It's one thing to swing by with a pretty houseplant you thought she might like or a plate of homemade cookies that you know are his favorites, but it's another thing to invade the couple's personal space regularly. Want more time with the newlyweds? Invite them to your place or to meet for dinner-they'll soon return the favor.

Never dismiss their choices.

So what if the newlyweds want to buy a house in the priciest part of town while you know they could get more house for their money in a good but less buzzy neighborhood? They know it, too, but ultimately it's their choice to make. Don't criticize them, either when you're alone with them or in front of others. It won't do anything but create bad feelings.

Keep personal questions out of your conversations.

There's no reason you need to know about their finances, sex life, salaries, or when they plan to have kids. Those are intimate subjects they may only want to discuss with each other.

Remember when you were a newlywed.

You felt happy and carefree, excited about this new chapter in your life. Would you have liked your parents-in-law to tell you what to do, or would you have preferred asking for their opinion when you wanted it?


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