Different folks? It’s a good thing. / Getty Images/Fuse
Navigating relationships with your partner’s clan can be complicated but well worth it. “Each family is its own culture, one others don’t fully understand,” says Ruth Nemzoff, a resident scholar at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center and expert on family dynamics. “In-laws can teach us new ways of looking at just about anything.” Some of the benefits of these family ties:
They're good for your health.
“Even if you’re not close with your in-laws, your lives are intertwined,” Nemzoff says — meaning they care what happens to you and often will cheer you on. Research consistently shows that having a solid support network gives your well-being a boost.
They are there in a pinch.
Need a place to stay in an emergency? Financial support in tough times? Help with child care? Your in-laws may be the most likely to help.
They keep kids steady.
Research shows that involved grandmothers tend to be a calming force in families with emotionally reactive preschoolers and can help ease tensions with preteens and teens.
They're not Mom and Dad.
“Because you have not survived years of disagreements, we often use better manners with in-laws,” Nemzoff says. You can use the wisdom gained through these more pleasant interactions when dealing with your folks.