“Build a bond with your mother-in-law” 3 July 2022

A Teacher.

Q. There is my student named Yukta, she is having relationship with a boy and her problem is that she is not able to focus on her studies. Yukta’s mother came to me complaining that Yukta is not doing good in her academics and she is distracted and also she talks with a boy which I don’t like. I feel she needs to focus on her studies rather than these things. Yukta came to me crying that I am trying to focus but still I am not able to do anything and I feel left out as my parents are not able to understand me, my mother beats me, abuses me and I feel sick of that and because of all this I feel hopeless how should I manage things? Should I send them for counselling?

Ans. Yes, please do the child and parents for counselling. We need to sort out a few things between them. Firstly, we need to curb the violence, verbal and physical which the parents are subjecting the child to. Abusive behaviour will not help and solve the problem. Secondly, the child needs to curtail her distractions and focus on education. It is perfectly okay to have friendships with boys but relationships to the point of distraction is damaging her self- interest. There may be some substance in what the parents are saying about ‘not liking the boy’. Parents can better judge youngsters. Thirdly, she needs to learn how to prioritise her needs and focus on the career, and learn to concentrate. Giving priority to emotional needs at this point will lead her nowhere. Fourthly, the communication between the child and parents has to be more effective and meaningful. After all, they should create a healthy relationship and a healthy environment. Give the child more understanding and love and sense of discipline and control on her own life.   


Q. My mother-in-law is very dominating, she has suffered a lot when she got married and I feel that she does the same thing with me. She tries to control me for what I wear. She asks me to do things which I don’t want to do, also she is very aggressive at times for no reason. Even if I try to be a good daughter-in-law she uses bad words & abusive words. I try to be calm and patient with her, I try to make her understand that don’t do it because it hurts me. For sometimes she acts fine and then she becomes the same again. She does not let me eat food like Cheese, Butter and Milk. I sometimes feel what have I done that she behaves in such a way with me. I really don’t understand. On other hand my husband does not take any stand for me and if I try to tell him what his mother has done so he never accepts the fact that she might behave in this way. I really feel I am stuck here and I don’t really understand what to do. Please help me.

Ans. This is so typical of an Indian home! The eternal ‘saas-bahu’ drama played over and over again over centuries perhaps! But let us look at it from a neutral perspective. Maybe, you have not tried hard enough or maybe you have not understood what she wants. You need to talk to her more like a daughter and build a bond with her. If you are wearing negative lenses, you will see her in a negative light all the time. Every action or statement of hers will be misinterpreted. Try to understand her feelings and emotions and handle her emotionally. Talk to her heart to heart and have open discussions. But be careful, not to raise your voice and not to argue with her. Feel her emotions and sympathize with her. She must be hurt in the past by her MIL- listen to her stories and empathize. Take her out for coffee and lunch-only the two of you and do things to give her a good time. Make her forget the bad past by making the present a pleasant one. If she is happy she will dote on your children and take care of them. A very important point is to have a direct relationship with her and through your husband. Do not complain to your husband about her and make him a sandwich! Deal with your problems directly without wanting his intervention (which he does not like anyway). It’s time the modern ‘saas-bahu’ became like mother and daughter and respectful friends.  

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