Some people say that sisters-in-law are the new monsters-in-law, and dealing with them can actually be worse than pacifying or preserving peace with the MIL herself. Typically loathsome ones are those who are overly critical, overbearing and is constantly comparing your kids with hers – where in most cases hers tend to surpass yours in many ways. So when it comes to dealing with your sister-in-law, what can you do to avoid this unpleasant state of affairs?
When it comes to comparing children, most parents are guilty of this at one point in time or other.. You yourself may have compared your child’s development with someone else’s child in terms of appearance, physical development and intellect. While this is considered normal, constant child comparison can be harmful especially if you keep asking yourself why your child isn’t as beautiful, smart or well-mannered than other kids. In an extreme case, this may even result in resenting your own child, or a change in your feelings towards him or her. In other cases, child comparisons can also be a cause of tension in the family, particularly if a sister-in-law doesn’t relent in comparing her kids and their achievements with yours.
There are many reasons why a parent compares her children with another. For your sister-in-law, it may be because of petty jealousy, repressed childhood experiences or other reasons only she can explain.
Jealousy – She is secretly jealous of your children. Your sister-in-law may constantly boast about how well her kids are doing in school but she may just be jealous that your kids are the most popular children in their classes in school, even if they aren’t straight As students.
Repressed childhood trauma – As a child, your sister-in-law may have received the brunt of the bullying from siblings. Because she wasn’t able to fight back as a child, she may be avenging her past by picking on easy targets, i.e., you and your children.
Other reasons – Dealing with your sister-in-law is hard especially if you don’t know the reason for her animosity. However, one reason could be because your sister-in-law thinks you are better than her (financially, physically, intellectually or career-wise) and has self-esteem issues. So like a bully, she picks on those smaller than her – i.e. your children.
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Dealing with a difficult sister-in-law
Dealing with your sister-in-law who repetitively points out your children’s shortcomings or says that her children are better than yours, is a nightmare. Even though she may pretend to be joking, it is still very hurtful.
When dealing with your sister-in-law, it is best to keep the peace in the family. As much as possible, avoid any conflict with her. When she is around, be civil but minimise conversations. If you aren’t comfortable being around her, leave the room. Since avoidance can’t be done forever, start assessing her treatment to your children so you can determine if your relationship with her can still be salvaged.
If she shows compassion and love to your children, be more relaxed about her weaknesses and boastfulness about her small achievements. But if she is being hurtful, condescending and bullies your kids, it is time to confront your sister-in-law.
When dealing with your sister-in-law, keep her kids out of it – especially if their attitude is different from their mom’s. Show exceptional kindness to them and hopefully, in the long run, your sister-in-law would realise that you are not out to hurt her, or be competitive with her and her kids.
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What are your experiences in dealing with your sister-in-law? Tell us all about it by leaving a comment. Do you know how to handle a mean sister-in-law? Watch this video for ideas: