In-laws spoil my children…

by Rod Smith

“My in-laws spoil my children. The kids don’t close their mouths after talking about something they want and off go grandma and grandpa to buy it. I did not grow up this way and I don’t want it for my children. Please help.” (Email not gender specific)


Timing is everything...

First: Although you have not hinted at the possibility, do not ask your spouse to be the messenger to his or her parents. You are the one feeling and expressing the frustration, and so this is an issue that is yours to directly handle.

Second: Speak up, and do so without alienating your in-laws. This requires great skill, an advanced sense of timing, and a great deal of poise on your part. Choose a time when anxiety is low – a time when you are all feeling good about life and each other.

Third: if you are successful, your in-laws will thank you for your insight and somewhat refrain from excessive shopping. You will need to remind them (playfully) of your chat several times over the course of a year.

Fourth: If you are unsuccessful, everyone will end up on bad terms, your in-laws won’t shop for the children again and your children and spouse will be as frustrated with you as you are with your in-laws.

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