5 Tips for Dealing with In-Laws at Thanksgiving

Because — that’s life

Let’s face it, when you get married, you marry a whole other family. In in some cases — some very rare cases — you get lucky when dealing with in-laws, but for the most part, things can get a bit tricky when trying to meld two families together. We’re joking, we're joking… or are we? 

In any case, the holidays are often an incredibly stressful time, with all the cooking and shopping and entertaining, but can get even more so when you have tons of people in your home. So to keep things calm in between carving the turkey and serving eggnog, we’ve reached out to the pros. 

Deanna Brann, Ph.D., a leading expert on mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationships and author of the new book Reluctantly Related: Secrets to Getting Along with Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law, shared a few tips on how to deal with the in-laws this Thanksgiving and throughout the rest of the holiday season. 

Here are five of her tips to help you be thankful, not resentful, this Thanksgiving:

1. Be a team player: Regardless of who is hosting, remember to ask questions, compliment your mother-in-law or daughter-in-law, offer help, and let her know you’re interested in her thoughts.

2. Don’t take things personally: Everyone is stressed during the holidays, so as long as you know you’re on your best behavior, you can be certain "it’s not all about you."

3. Find the humor: No matter what happens, look at the humor in it and tuck it away for a story about what she did "this" time.

4. Find some down-time for yourself: Just a few minutes to reflect and re-energize can be just what you need to get your energy back.


5. Establish ground rules in advance: Talk to your spouse and agree on how long you’ll be staying. If necessary, take two cars and don’t forget to let your family know what time you plan to leave.