Here at AgingParents.com, we see a lot of problems involving families of aging parents and their adult children. Often, the daughter or daughter-in-law is the one asking for help. Daughters-in-law sometimes tell us that they feel that they must walk on eggshells. Their spouses may not have a good relationship with mom or dad.
They are the conduits for help and good communication. It is sometimes surprising to see how a daughter-in-law, and sometimes a son-in-law has a better relationship with the aging parent than their spouse does.
Maybe the complexity of relating to parent is less for those who came to the relationship with the elder later in their lives. Maybe the in-law adult child has fewer issues, more courage, and possibly, feels there is less to lose by speaking out. Sometimes sons have trouble taking charge of Mom.
They have resistance to dealing with the fact that Mom’s competency is failing. Whatever the reason, we have the deepest regard for those dutiful, respectful daughters-in-law (or sons) when we meet them. They are true peacemakers.
We think the daughter or son-in law’s voice does indeed count. Often as not, they are the ones who want to get a conflict out in the open and to work on it. We have yet to see a son coming to AgingParents.com for help with conflict resolution, a service we offer families. It’s always been the daughter or daughter-in-law.
For those out there who are in that role, keep reaching out, keep being the voice of reason, keep looking for ways to solve the family’s difficulty when your spouse can’t seem to get off the dime. Your mother/father-in-law is lucky to have you.