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Rewrite the Mother-in-Law Relationship: 4 ways to maintain healthy bonds

Make the mother-in-law relationship a positive one.

The mother-in-law relationship isn’t known for being easy. In fact, it’s infamously hard. There are movies and books written about its challenges.

Studio 5 Parenting Contributor Heather Johnson shares how you can re-write the narrative. Heather is helping us be “in” the family better, starting with the matriarchal role of mother-in-law.

To contact Heather for counseling, email, or visit


Rewrite the Mother-in-Law Relationship

  1. Empathy as the Foundation

Heather emphasizes empathy as the fundamental building block of any relationship. True empathy, she argues, involves setting aside judgment and embracing the other person’s truth, even if it contradicts our own beliefs or experiences. By cultivating empathy, individuals can shift their focus from self-concern to fostering genuine connections with others.

  1. Breathing Life into Relationships

Central to a harmonious mother-in-law relationship is the concept of breathing life into the bond. Heather advocates for trusting and loving a child’s spouse from the very beginning, without the need for validation. Collaboration, rather than competition, serves as the cornerstone, ensuring that favoritism is avoided, and grandchildren are not subjected to unwarranted discipline.

  1. Providing Emotional Security

Creating emotional safety is paramount in nurturing positive relationships. Mothers-in-law can establish secure spaces by refraining from speaking negatively about their children’s spouses and recognizing that the primary alliance exists between their child and their spouse. This understanding fosters a sense of security and trust within the relationship.

  1. Offering Relief and Encouragement

The role of a mother-in-law extends beyond emotional security. Providing relief comes in the form of physical support, such as childcare assistance or spontaneous visits, easing the burdens of daily life. Emotional relief stems from being open about imperfections and struggles, cultivating an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding.

It’s important to give life to relationships rather than take from them. By embracing empathy, trust, collaboration, and support, mother-in-laws can transform their relationships into thriving, positive connections.

1 comment

  • Please please … before you talk any more about in-laws for the rest of the month …
    Although it is written correctly in the bulleted sections above, Brooke and Heather continuously incorrectly pluralized it throughout the segment and it was incorrect on Heather’s typed discussion items shown on the white screen as she went through her points.

    As they both know, it IS mothers-in-law, sons-in-law, etc. It is the person that is plural, not the hyphenated phrase. It sounds as wrong as ‘aint ‘or ‘it is her’, or ‘she has drank’, or ‘toward’ with an s on it.

    I hope this reminds them how to be sure they are saying it correctly. thanks! love the show and the guests!