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5 tips to handle unwanted advice from your mother-in-law

Marie Barone, played by Doris Roberts, is the

Marie Barone, played by Doris Roberts, is the condescending mother-in-law who knows no boundaries in the sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond," set on Long Island. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

"I would never feed my baby formula . . ."

"Why doesn't she have socks on, her feet must be freezing."

"My kids slept on their stomachs and turned out just fine!"

Sound familiar? Is your mother-in-law like Marie Barone from "Everyone Loves Raymond"?

As parents, we've all endured unsolicited parenting advice from others, but it's even harder when it comes from your mother-in-law. And while not all in-laws interfere, there are tips to help you handle unwanted advice. Here, Deanna Brann, author of "Reluctantly Related: Secrets To Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law" (Ambergris Publishing; $16.95) offers her advice:

* Don’t take what she says personally -- it speaks more about her than you.

* Use humor. When she brings something up, just laugh, shake your head like she’s told the funniest joke and then change the subject.

* Turn it around. When she jumps in with unsolicited advice, ask her if that is what she did with your husband when he was a child … get her into a discussion about that (this shifts the focus away from you and your parenting). When you’ve finished, change the subject.

* When she makes her comment, stop what you’re doing, look at her but say nothing. Let the silence linger for a few minutes, and then change the subject.

* Present a united front. Together you and your husband can approach his mother and let her know that although you appreciate her insights and suggestions, the two of you have determined what parenting style works best for you and do not really need her input.

 

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