How to Ignore In-Laws

Although in-laws can cause problems with their intrusiveness and unwelcome opinions, the real concern stems from the issues in-laws can cause between married couples. When these problems start to mount, reclaim your marriage and sanity by ignoring your in-laws.

Pick your battles carefully. Set boundaries only on the most important issues, such as safety with your children and discard others, such as your food preferences.

Discuss areas of conflict with your spouse. Perhaps he can shed some light on your in-laws zany or annoying behavior so that you can shift from silent fuming to bemused observation during your next visit.

Acknowledge the opinions your in-laws share. Sometimes the way to stop that broken record is to say, "I hear what you're saying." You don't have to agree with the opinion, but telling your in-laws you acknowledge them may crank down their volume a bit.

Take time to cool your temper. Even if your in-laws deserve an insulting comeback, you don't want to damage your relationship with your spouse. Excuse yourself for a breath of fresh air or an extended visit to the restroom.

Realize that power can mean not having to respond. If your sister-in-law goads you with the same timeworn jabs about your career, respond in kind with a brief canned response. Monosyllabic words like "Hmmm," work well.

Approach your in-laws with a sense of humor. Admit that some of their foibles would be humorous if they didn't involve you so directly. When your father-in-law starts in on one of his Archie Bunker-style rants, just smile and shrug.