The daughter-in-law's survival guide

The daughter-in-law's survival guide

Mother-in-law Confessions
We polled 55 mothers-in-law about their relationships with their daughters-in-law.

Do you like your daughter-in-law?
62 per cent YES
38 per cent NO

Do you get along well with your daughter-in-law?
65 per cent YES
35 per cent NO

Respect your elders

It's a basic virtue, like having good manners.

Some mothers-in-law may take it as an indicator that you'll bring up their grandchildren with a sound value system too.

"Some families are more traditional than others, so greet your elders in order of seniority. If your grandparents-in-law or other senior members of the family are present at gatherings, greet them even before you greet your mother-in-law. It shows a healthy respect for them as individuals, and it's reassuring to know that you are likely to pass this on to your children." - Leong T.G., 58, secretary

Show some initiative

The next time you visit your in-laws, offer to help with chores, especially the ones they appear to be having difficulty with - like clearing out high drawers or dusty storerooms.

It's a nice gesture that shows you're caring and sensitive to the needs of seniors.

"Even if you don't live with your in-laws, offer to help with some chores - washing the dishes after meals or changing the cushion covers - when you visit. It always leaves an endearing impression and lets us know that you're capable of keeping a good home and taking care of your family." - Angela Ang, 62, administrative assistant

Speak the same language

If your in-law isn't fluent in English or Mandarin and you're hopeless at dialect, put some effort into learning to speak her language.

Get your husband to teach you a few basic greetings or phrases to get by first - it will be enough to impress and touch her.

"It's important for me and my mother to be able to communicate with and understand my daughter-in-law - it helps us rest easy to know that my son is well taken care of. So if your in-laws' family is only proficient in dialect, make an effort to learn to speak it - it's a big plus when you're willing to go the extra mile for them." - Lian T.Q., 56, homemaker

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