Welcome to the second of our 12 Christmas Blogs that will lead you through the festivities up to the 2nd of January. We will be looking at lots of different subjects including coping with the stresses of Christmas, recipe ideas, debt, savings and New Year’s resolutions. So come back each day to see what topic we’ll be discussing.
How do you deal with a father-in-law who’s a nightmare over the Christmas dinner? Julie from Swansea wants to know how to cope with her in-laws. Do you have any advice or support for this week’s A Problem Shared?
If you need some help with any ideas or with any issues that are causing problems for your family why not share with the FamilyPoint Community? You can get advice and support from other parents as well as get an answer from one of our trained and experienced helpline adviser advocates. Click here.
It’s that time of year again when I have to suffer my husband’s mother and in particular his father. He’s a nightmare. He doesn’t like how we’re bringing up our children, he doesn’t like my cooking (who has cauliflower at Christmas?!), he treats my partner like he’s an idiot, the list goes on and on. My mother-in-law just nods along. I suppose it’s the easy option when you live with a bully.
Thing is, what can we do? We always have them round for Christmas dinner. I’ve suggested to my husband that maybe this year we don’t invite them but that went down like a lead balloon. I think he’s worried for his mum, that she’ll have to deal with him all by herself (he doesn’t have any brothers or sisters). Plus even though they’re a pain in the backside, they’re still my children’s grandparents. Family and all that…
So, FamilyPoint, how do I cope with my in-laws this Christmas? It seriously stresses me out and it’s already affecting my mood and my sleep. I simply want to enjoy Christmas again.
Answers on a postcard…
Our FamilyPoint reply to Julie
Thanks for contacting us at FamilyPoint Cymru. So sorry to hear that you are having difficulties with your in-laws and that you’re already dreading Christmas day.
It’s always hard to deal with family that we don’t particularly get on with. From what you’ve said it sounds like a very awkward and difficult situation to deal with. It’s a natural feeling to dread the situation.
You mentioned that you’ve already suggested not to invite them round for dinner but your husband wasn’t keen on the idea. You could suggest an alternative time to see them on Christmas day this year instead, maybe go round to theirs so that you are in control of how much time you have in their company. The children can still see their grandparents on Christmas day and you could then return home to have Christmas dinner with your husband and your children.
Distractions could be the key
If you don’t think this would be an option, you could think of activities for everyone to do after lunch as a distraction, some form of party games that appeal to everyone. This link has plenty of suggestions for family games you can try out.
You could also suggest going for a walk after lunch, this could be the distraction that you all need and you might find that your father-in-law’s attention would then stray away from what he usually talks/complains about. Maybe you could get your children involved and ask them what they would like to do with their grandfather and explain to them that after lunch could be their time with him.
Could you negotiate with them a specific time they have to leave by? I’m sure everyone can appreciate how special Christmas is and the importance of having quality family time together. Setting a time could be a good way to compromise with them and at least you’ll know that by a specific time it will just be you, your husband and your children then.
I hope these suggestions are useful and despite the difficulties with the in-laws that you have a lovely family time together this Christmas day.
Join us each day until 2nd January for more of our 12 Christmas Blogs
If you would like further information on national or local support services, then you can contact us at FamilyPoint Cymru via phone 0300 222 57 57, text 07860 052 905, or IM/Chat. We are open Monday – Thursday 6pm – 10pm and Friday & Saturday 10am – 2pm. We are open over the festive period, even on Christmas Day.
The FamilyPoint Cymru Team
A Problem Shared… is your space to share both your problems and your advice with the FamilyPoint Community.
Check out our recent ‘A Problem Shared…’ posts for more family advice: