Posted by R.Sunitha - facilitator with Parenting Matters and a mother of twins.
Nowadays everybody seems to be worried about their new daughters-in-law. As it is a fact that they are well educated and can earn a living, the belief is that these girls are now independent, stubborn and set in their ways. They do not want to adjust to their new environment or give in to their new relatives.
In-laws or out-laws - I was a worried mom of two 19-year olds, a girl and a boy. I want both of them to be happy. A conversation between me and my daughter went into marriage and in-laws. Promptly I thought this was the time to teach her a few things about how she should be adjusting and accepting of others.
Her response was “Oh! Why should I listen to what my in-laws have to say?”
I asked her, “Don’t you listen to your parents when they tell you something? Then why is it so difficult to accept the same with your in-laws?” I thought that I was very smart by cornering her!
She surprised me by saying, “Amma, how can you expect me to trust them? I know what you tell me is for my benefit but they are totally new so how can I just accept it? How do I know what they are telling is good for me? Anyway, all talk about in-laws in a negative way.”
I said, “Surely in-laws will tell something that is good for you as it is also linked to their son’s life. They would want him to be happy. So you could be open to their suggestions. If you like it, act on it and if you don’t, you could try to communicate your doubts, talk with them and settle matters amicably.”
Earning their trust – When we were growing up, we were taught to accept our elders, be it parents or in-laws, without questioning. But now our daughters have the freedom to choose and make decisions on their own. We want them to stand on their own feet and be independent.
Then as soon as they get married they are expected to change, can they? It does take time to fit in a new surrounding. Instead of understanding this, we blame the girls of the present generation of being too independent and having an ego because they are earning and hence they are not adjusting and respectful to others.
As parents, we dream big for our daughters and as parents-in-law we could do so for our daughters-in-law. Can we earn the trust of our daughters-in-law like we earned the trust of our daughters? Can we view them in a positive light and give them the same space realising that they may have been brought up in a different family environment? They too would want a good married life like we did. I believe that when they begin to trust us then respect and acceptance will follow.