In laws can be good, too interfering, or downright manipulative, just like people all around the globe. In general if we come across people that rub us the wrong way and that we just don't get along with, we try to keep our distance from them as much as possible - and if we have to cope with them because they are our colleagues or seniors at work, we associate with them no more than we have to, and forget all about them when we are back in the comforts of our own home.
But what should we do when the people who annoy, anger or needle us the most, actually live in our homes?
These situations arise in two ways:
- When the son and daughter in law lives with the parents.
- When the in-laws move in with the son and daughter in law.
In this article we will focus on the first group:
SON LIVING WITH PARENTS
In India you often find sons living in their parent's houses even after their marriage. If the daughter-in-law is living in the house of her in-laws, she ideally needs to adjust according to what is generally considered acceptable in that house, but she cannot be treated like a slave.
Although the daughter in law may have done things differently in her own home, she needs to display some flexibility now. If everyone in her new house wakes up at 7, she too needs to do the same. But if they all wake up at 10, then she alone cannot be expected to wake up earlier than everyone else! She needs to adjust just enough to do as much as the others do, and no more.
A mother-in-law cannot expect to hand over all duties to the 'bahu' unless she is unwell. If the mother in law is not feeling well, the daughter in law along with other sisters in law, if any, should all help out at home. If the daughter in law has a full time job, then she needs to be given less responsibility at home. The members of the family who do not have a job should help out more at home.
If a very traditional mother-in-law wants her daughter in law to wear saris at a family event, the daughter in law should respect her wishes. If she and her husband are going out separately with their friends, the mother in law should not tell her daughter in law what to wear.
The mother in law cannot assert her rights over her grandchildren, and cannot dictate how they should be raised under any circumstances.
If a bahu doesn't like the way things are in her in-laws household, she and her husband should make the decision to live separately. It would be selfish for the husband to insist they all live together just because he wants to be with his parents, unless there are severe financial constraints.
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