Don't Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws into Family

Overview

More than two million couples wed every year in the United States, bringing together a whole new family unit. The extended family may now include a hard to please mother-in-law who criticizes her daughter-in-law’s childrearing; or a patriarchal father-in-law who expects all the kin round the dinner table every Sunday; or a new spouse, who a year or decade out, still gets shellshock visiting the in-laws. If that wasn’t cause enough for a stiff drink, more than a million couples divorce each year, creating hard to ...

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Don't Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws into Family

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Overview

More than two million couples wed every year in the United States, bringing together a whole new family unit. The extended family may now include a hard to please mother-in-law who criticizes her daughter-in-law’s childrearing; or a patriarchal father-in-law who expects all the kin round the dinner table every Sunday; or a new spouse, who a year or decade out, still gets shellshock visiting the in-laws. If that wasn’t cause enough for a stiff drink, more than a million couples divorce each year, creating hard to define family structures. How do families handle the inevitable friction and how do they make sense of evolving family relationships? Ruth Nemzoff, an expert in family dynamics, empowers family members across the generations to define and create lasting bonds, including how to:

*Welcome a new in-law from a different culture and religion into your family.

*Not let differences of politics or philosophy impact quality time with the extended family.

*Respond to major life changes in an in-law’s life, including financial crises, illnesses, or career changes.

*Retain warm connections with in-laws even amidst divorce and remarriage.

This is a must read for anyone dealing with a difficult in-law as well as anyone who will soon be welcoming a new member to their family.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Nemzoff (Don’t Bite Your Tongue) advises how to improve troublesome relationships with a variety of nonblood extended family members. She encourages parents to work diligently on avoiding confrontations with their children’s spouses and concentrate on their children’s happiness rather than their own disappointment. Adult children are advised to focus on the good qualities of their parents-in-law, to always be civil, and to be generous in what they accept as an apology. While in-law sibling issues can run the gamut from accepting a transgendered sib-in-law to participating in long-term care for a sibling’s disabled spouse or partner, or dealing with sib-in-laws who don’t share the family’s values, Nemzoff also provides useful tools for readers dueling with their child’s in-laws over the love and attention of their children and grandchildren (who gets to spend more time with them? who offers more financial aid?). She also has advice for those with in-laws from different cultures, religions, and races. Offering plentiful composite case studies, the fair-minded, inclusive, and congenial Nemzoff doesn’t promise quick solutions and realizes some problems are unsolvable, but she focuses on helpful ways to improve relationships that with time and effort can be fixed. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
“Offering plentiful composite case studies, the fair-minded, inclusive, and congenial Nemzoff doesn’t promise quick solutions and realizes some problems are unsolvable, but she focuses on helpful ways to improve relationships that with time and effort can be fixed.”—Publishers Weekly

“Family therapists know that the main difference between humans and animals is that humans maintain relationships with their in-laws. Ruth Nemzoff’s Don’t Roll Your Eyes is a trenchant and insightful exploration of that species-specific behavior.”—Brad Sachs, PhD, author of Emptying the Nest

"Indispensable advice! Ruth Nemzoff’s recipe for healthy in-law relationships rests on impeccable research and a wealth of real-life experience, but it is also well-seasoned with a depth of wisdom and common sense that is truly exceptional. Her straightforward strategies make this book the perfect wedding gift—not just for the bride and groom but for their parents and siblings too."—Gina Stepp, Family and Relationships Editor—Vision Media

“Ruth Nemzoff thinks wisely and deeply about family connections.  She presents a carefully nuanced consideration of this oldest of topics.  Don’t Roll Your Eyes has something to teach everyone.  It would make a wonderful gift to any family member and is an essential addition to the bookshelf of any professional working with families.”—Judy Osborne, author of Wisdom for Separated Parents

“With her characteristic wisdom and wit, Ruth Nemzoff treads into the minefield of in-law relationships, from extended families to grandchildren, money, religion, and myriad other issues. She offers examples and expert advice to help us keep in-laws from turning into out-laws. An indispensible field guide for generations on both sides of the in-law divide.”—Mary W. Quigley, www.mothering.21.com, NYU professor and author

 "Dr. Nemzoff's clarity and candor, wit and wisdom really shine through. She is not afraid to tackle any issue, any modern permutation of the extended family in the 21st century."—Joan Wise, former general counsel AARP

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230338999
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,537,059
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ruth Nemzoff is the author of Don’t Bite Your Tongue, and a popular speaker on the topic of parenting adult children and family dynamics, including at the AARP. Ruth was profiled or interviewed for many national and local papers and radio and television, including The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Jewish Advocate, and InterFaith Family. She is a resident scholar at Brandeis University's Women's Studies Research Center, and lives in Boston, MA. Find her on the web at www.ruthnemzoff.com.

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Table of Contents

Disclaimer ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: Don't Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws into Family 1

1 Why We Make In-Laws into Outlaws 19

2 Where Do I Fit In? The In-Law Parents Speak 39

3 How Many People Did I Marry? The Adult Children Speak 55

4 Have I Been Displaced? The Siblings Speak 71

5 Dueling and Other In-Law Games: The Two (or More) Sets of In-Laws 97

6 In Love, but Not in Law: Unrelated "In-Laws" 113

7 Diversity Comes Home: Intermarriage 127

8 Whose Child Is This? Grandparents, Parents, and Grandchildren 145

9 More Money, More Problems, Less Money, Still Problems 169

10 Until Death Do Us Part: Prepare for Illness and Death 187

11 Do Unto Your In-Laws 203

Appendix 1 Films and Videos 211

Appendix 2 Suggested Websites 215

Notes 219

Bibliography 229

Index 237

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