Monday, November 20, 2017
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Time set limits on smothering in-laws

RECOMMENDED READING


Q: My in-laws are too nice. My husband's mother calls him once a day, sometimes more. Every time he and my daughter visit them (about weekly), they insist on sending things back with them, usually foods we're trying to avoid. Each of these gifts requires me to call and say thanks, which then turns into a lengthy chat.

My in-laws want phone calls anytime we travel long distances or in bad weather, just to be sure we're safe. They keep track of our kids' doctor's appointments so they can ask how things went.

Is there a polite way to get them to back off, just a little? We love them and appreciate that they are always there for us, but it's too much of an burden to handle their anxieties about our everyday life. When we try to speak up, my mother-in-law is very hurt and feels we don't want her around.

Smother-In-Law

A: You describe a mother-in-law who is manipulative, controlling, insecure and boundary-challenged. Is your husband as uncomfortable with this as you are? Is he ready to set some limits?

A good read on this topic is The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. It will seem like a loopy recommendation for "just" a fussy mom, but it's actually square on point. A session with a family therapist may also be useful.

It won't be pretty, even if your husband's fully aboard. He'll need to be kind and sunny and absolutely immovable on these, phased in gently:

• Screening her calls.

• Saving your "We made it home okay!" calls for when there's some doubt.

• Supporting you when you say "Thank you" by note or email.

• Realizing her distress does not obligate him to appease her.

Comments
Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’ has a Dia de los Muertos theme and is, well, lifeless

Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’ has a Dia de los Muertos theme and is, well, lifeless

Disney-Pixar’s Coco was more enjoyable three years ago when it was titled The Book of Life and came from Twentieth Century Fox.Both animated features spring from Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos celebration, the annual "day of the dead" when departed rela...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Tell Me About It: Couple considers living on one income

Couple considers living on one incomeQ: My husband and I, both unhappy in our jobs, have determined that with some strategic penny-pinching, we can live on one salary for a while. The question now is, whose salary?The argument for my husband quitting...
Published: 11/20/17

Tell Me About It: Consistently treat twins as individuals

Consistently treat twins as individualsQ: We have 11-year-old identical twin boys who are wonderful and very different little guys. They both do well in school and their other activities, but "Dylan" is pulling ahead a bit, particularly in sports. We...
Published: 11/19/17
With Harry Potter’s Christmas, Universal Orlando proves holidays are big business

With Harry Potter’s Christmas, Universal Orlando proves holidays are big business

ORLANDO — Christmas has finally come to Hogwarts at Universal Orlando in a new holiday attraction opening Saturday. In addition, Universal Studios has completely upsized its holiday parade with more Macy’s balloons, stunning floats and snowy effects ...
Published: 11/17/17
First look: Harry Potter’s Christmas finally arrives at Universal Orlando

First look: Harry Potter’s Christmas finally arrives at Universal Orlando

Christmas has finally come to Hogwarts at Universal Orlando, with the promise of warm butterbeer, a Frog Choir singing carols and a magical light show projected onto Hogwarts Castle nightly followed by fireworks. It opens to the public on Saturday. C...
Published: 11/17/17

Tell Me About It: Mom’s stroke threatens plans for children

Mom’s stroke threatens plans for childrenQ: Recently you gave advice about how it’s "never the perfect time to have a baby," and that’s true, but does the calculation change any if you’re planning to be a single mom?I’m 36 and a year ago I broke up w...
Published: 11/17/17

Tell Me About It: Wife uses silent treatment to be cruel

Wife uses silent treatment to be cruelQ: My wife is a wonderfully sensible person and appropriately sensitive. She is the oldest of three sisters and often feels left out. The age and geographical distance make it understandable that her two sisters ...
Published: 11/16/17

Tell Me About It: Woman takes mom’s advice the wrong way

Woman takes mom’s advice the wrong wayQ: I was laid off recently from a job of 15 years. My confidence took a blow.When I told my mom, she said, "Hurry up and update your resume. And don’t forget to add your Employee of the Year award." I had of cour...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/19/17
5 under $5: Sand sculptors, free ice skating, Pinellas Trail performances

5 under $5: Sand sculptors, free ice skating, Pinellas Trail performances

1Sanding Ovations: This annual Treasure Island sand sculpting competition brings master sculptors working in 150 tons of sand. This year artists come from Ireland, the Netherlands, Singapore, Russia, Lithuania, Canada and the United States. An adjac...
Published: 11/15/17
Weekend fun: St. Pete Beach BikeFest, Chillounge Night, Christmas at Universal, Busch Gardens

Weekend fun: St. Pete Beach BikeFest, Chillounge Night, Christmas at Universal, Busch Gardens

BIG WHEELS: St. Pete Beach BikeFestThe new St. Pete Beach BikeFest at the TradeWinds resort and runs through Sunday with daily poker runs, an expo, a bike show and competitions. But the real draw will be free concerts on the beach, including former M...
Published: 11/15/17