A Word To Parents And Parents-In-Laws

Parents Graphic Stock_BFPO6i0Bo copyRegarding her married children, one mother said, “Lord, give me the wisdom to bite my tongue.” Our hope for parents is that you trust the Lord with your children so that you won’t need to bite your tongue. Let them make some mistakes (by your standards).

Parents tend to give advice on how they would run things, how they would spend money, how they would raise kids, and so on. If your children don’t do what they know you expect them to do, they may feel guilt.


Realize that times have changed —not scriptural values. Your children may live in nicer housing than you did at the same age. Your children may leave their children with childcare far more often than you did. Avoid developing a critical attitude. Criticism will wound your children. No one enjoys being with a critical person. Over time your children may begin to distance themselves from you, and you may destroy your opportunity to watch them grow to maturity and to enjoy them as friends.

It is wise to say to your children, “Listen to what I say, and then do as you please.” This assures you of always having the freedom to offer advice and suggestions based on your experience, yet it assures your children that they can make their own decisions. This leaves the door of communication open for all of you. Allow them to then do as they please without further unsolicited advice or an “I-told-you-so” attitude.

Remember this:

Criticizing your children or their spouses will only drive them away from you. If it continues, they will avoid you and will dread their times with you. Think before using the statements, “You never.” and “You always…” Also, don’t do something nice for your children, and then remind them of it. Sometimes it is best to just drop a subject than to cause conflict.

Don’t forget to be sensitive to their need for privacy. If you live in close proximity, call before you visit and don’t overstay your welcome or visit too often. Instead, establish a visiting pattern that fits everyone. Exchange visits at appropriate times.

When grandchildren come, more communication will be required. Exchanged visits then become even more important. Never assume your children won’t mind if you just drop over, especially early in marriage. When both husband and wife work, their time in the evenings and on weekends may be their only time for privacy. Be as considerate of them as you would your other friends.

Make Them Feel Welcome

Make sure your daughter-in-law or son-in-law feels welcome in your home and with your family. Balance your gifts equally to your married children and their spouses. Treat them as part of the family and they will be. If you do, God will use you in their lives in ways you would never dream. This may be their first opportunity to observe mature Christian parents. Fathers, it would be a good idea to initiate time with your son-in-law so the daughter can spend time with her mom.

Finally, many couples today have several sets of in-laws if their parents have been divorced. This obviously can cause problems, especially around the holidays. If this is the case with you, allow your children and spouses to visit all the parents involved.

With serenity and love, you can become a source of joy to your children all the days of your lives.

The above article comes from the book, Two Becoming One by Don and Sally Meredith. It is published by Christian Family Life, Inc. In this book, couples can learn how to eliminate sources of conflict and put Christ at the center of their marriage. They can also learn the definition of the divine purpose of marriage and God’s faith-based principles for oneness. There’s also practical advice for how to build marital intimacy and how to move from a performance-based to a faith-based relationship.

— ALSO —

Below are a few articles on this same subject. Please click on the links to read:





Print Post

Filed under: Dealing with In Laws & Parents

Join the Discussion

Please observe the following guidelines:

  • Try to be as positive as possible when you make a comment.
  • If there is name-calling, or profane language, it will be deleted.
  • The same goes with hurtful comments targeted at belittling others; we won't post them.
  • Recommendations for people to divorce will be edited out–that's a decision between them and God, not us.
  • If you have a criticism, please make it constructive.
  • Be mindful that this is an international ministry where cultural differences need to be considered.
  • Please honor the fact this is a Christ-centered web site.

We review all comments before posting them to reduce spam and offensive content.


One response to “A Word To Parents And Parents-In-Laws

  1. (USA)  The end of this article mentioned having several sets of in-laws. My husband and I come from divorced families so we have 8 total in-laws/grandparents to our children. This is an enormous source of stress and anxiety for us! If anybody would like to think that divorce doesn’t have consequences I’m living proof that the consequences last a lifetime. My husband and I see that after reading these articles we need to form stronger boundaries around our marriage and family unit.

    I have some questions about boundaries regarding all these in-laws. If my husband and I try to follow some of the advice given here regarding honoring our parents we don’t feel we will have time for our marriage or own family. For example, sharing holidays. How do we do that with 4 sets of in-laws who are not Christians and take offense when we attempt to “be fair” and share our time and visiting? They each have their own separate issues of course, but there has been lots of painful words, as well as some parents choosing to ignore us and cut us out of their lives if we don’t go along with letting them “run” the family. On both sides of our families we have people calling themselves the “patriarch” or “matriarch” of the family and dictating holidays and visits. Because they’re all divorced they all try to play favorites, wanting to be the favorite grandparents, parents, etc…

    We have sought out help from Christians and the advice is hard for us to follow. Either we get told we are being mean by refusing to “obey” our parents wishes or we are told that we are not honoring our parents when we choose not to play their manipulative games.

    We agree with your statements about not discussing parents or in-laws with others (especially the other side of the family) but we cannot keep the rivalry down because we have adult siblings, half-siblings and step-siblings who also keep the games and unhealthy ways of relating going by gossiping and trading information back and forth between in-laws. It has gotten really out of hand. My husband has stepped back and chosen not to contact his family members but I feel so guilty about it.

    Please help suggest some next steps for my husband and I. Thank you!