My mother-in-law could ruin Christ­mas

South Waikato News - - Community Cookbook -

be­neath pro­ceed­ings. It’s good that your daugh­ter has voiced her threats; bet­ter to have ad­vanced warn­ing rather than be am­bushed on the day.

Slam­ming the door on your mother-in-law or is­su­ing ul­ti­ma­tums might tem­po­rar­ily solve your Christ­mas lunch dilemma, but it doesn’t solve this prob­lem in the long-term. And nor does it help your daugh­ter learn how to deal with tricky peo­ple in life. I think part of the an­swer lies in your open­ing sen­tence: my el­derly mother-in-law is not kind to my daugh­ter. This is the one thing your daugh­ter can most learn: kind­ness.

Some peo­ple think kind­ness is weak­ness but it’s not. It takes guts to be kind in the face of spite, ig­no­rance, or mis­guided ad­vice.

Be­ing el­derly can be fraught too. Your mother-in-law comes from a gen­er­a­tion where man­ners and hard work ruled and she is prob­a­bly crit­i­cis­ing out of love. Another thing that might help would be a chat with your daugh­ter about the age­ing process. Some el­derly peo­ple, cer­tainly not all, lose per­spec­tive and filters as they age. They don’t re­alise the hurt they are caus­ing when they crit­i­cise — or how loudly they are crit­i­cis­ing.

Why don’t you en­list your daugh­ter’s help for part of the meal? She could search on­line and find some­thing she’d like to cook, or some table set­ting she could make. It would give you both some­thing pos­i­tive to fo­cus on.

A ‘no de­vice’ cur­few for a chunk of Christ­mas Day would be another way of not an­tag­o­nis­ing her grand­mother, (that rule would have to ap­ply to ev­ery age group).

If your daugh­ter boy­cotts Christ­mas din­ner it will just re­in­force your mother-in-law’s opin­ions.

Good luck on this one, it’s no fun be­ing the ref­eree when ev­ery­one else is play­ing. Hope­fully you won’t need your whis­tle.

With­out turn­ing the ta­bles or be­ing mean to the old lady, you could have a pass­word up your col­lec­tive fam­ily sleeve that you bring out if gen­er­a­tion war­fare erupts.

Some peo­ple lose per­spec­tive and filters as they age, and don’t re­alise the hurt they are caus­ing when they crit­i­cise.

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