In-law rows step up as kids step in

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

AS THOSE clas­sic moth­erin-law jokes would sug­gest, deal­ing with the fam­ily you marry into can be hard work.

But re­search shows that we are ac­tu­ally more likely to have rows with our own fam­ily than the in-laws. How­ever, there is a catch. Af­ter cou­ples have chil­dren, the in-laws, now grand­par­ents, feel more like fam­ily. And that sets the scene for them to join in all our fam­ily rows.

The study was car­ried out by the Univer­sity of Turku in Fin­land and pub­lished in the jour­nal Evo­lu­tion­ary Psy­cho­log­i­cal Science.

The re­searchers ex­plained the po­ten­tial for con­flict when ba­bies come along and in-laws lives’ be­come more en­twined.

“The shared re­pro­duc­tive in­ter­est cre­ated through a grand­child among kin lin­eages pro­vides new rea­sons for grand­par­ents to in­flu­ence and in­ter­fere in the lives of other fam­ily mem­bers,” re­searchers said.

They said there might be a “kin­ship penalty”, or a draw­back to a fa­mil­ial re­la­tion­ship, which makes us more likely to ar­gue with our in-laws as we come to feel more closely re­lated to them.

Lead au­thor Mirkka Daniels­backa said: “Daugh­ters-in-law were more likely to re­port con­flicts when their mother-in-law pro­vided more grand­child care. This in­di­cates that the in­crease in con­flicts be­tween in-laws is re­lated to grand­child care.”

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