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1 Nov

In-Laws From Hell? Here Are Solutions!

It’s wedding season and Thembi Monametsi wants to make your life easy as a new addition to a new family. Read up on our chat with her and how to deal with your in-laws.

Who’s Thembi Monametsi and what led you to write the book, Makoti and the In-Laws? 

I am an Award-winning author, Mrs. Africa Global United 2020, Media Personality, Inspirational Speaker and a founder of Thembi Tea Talk. I believe I have a unique way of reaching people who are seeking to make peace with their past, maximize their present, and deepen their relationship with God.

For the longest, I was tempted to allow my  journey as a woman battling insecurities, low self-esteem, toxic relationships, and depression to define the rest of her life. It wasn’t until I was in her darkest moment that I realized I only had two options: settle or Rise up. My passion is to utilize my experiences, insight, and influence to help every soul I encounter to become the best version of themselves.

What inspired me to write the book? 

It is through my experience and a desire to equip married women with wisdom and the tools they need on how to get along with their in-laws. Getting along with your in-laws can be one of the biggest challenges of married life. Nearly 60 percent of all marriages suffer from tension with mothers-in-law and Sisters in law. normally between the daughter-in-law and her husband’s mother and sisters. Somehow the stereotype of the nagging, meddling mother-in-law can seem like a normal part of life. Although it is not necessary to become best friends with your your-in-law, it is important to be on good terms with them.

Before getting married, what do you need to know about your in-laws? 

Building a relationship with the in-laws takes time and sometimes is tough. Relationships can bring out the best and the worst in people, and so it is important that you determine what is important

Things that you need to know before getting married 

      1.You are becoming part of a new family. You will have many differences with the new family. Whether these are cultural, religious, geographic, or social differences – communication is key!

  1. DO understand how your spouse relates to his parents. Listen to your in-laws, and take their advice on these particular things.
  2. Things will not always be easy. At least initially. No matter how easy-going they seem to be, you are now going to enter a new family and things may be difficult. But I also know that it is not easy for them either. So keep calm and learn to adjust to your new family.
  3. Not everyone will love you from the very beginning. There’ll be certain expectations they have and you may not be able to match them, and that’s when things begin to get – umm… uncomfortable. Like they say…not everyone needs to like you
  4. You will need to set boundaries. Be lenient but at the same time, know where to draw the line.
  5. You must stay out of family arguments. Yes, you are a part of their family. They’ll fight today and patch up tomorrow, so never, ever take sides
  6. You’ll have to ask for help. You may have been a superhero all your life or you may want to prove that you can do it on your own, but when you need a hand, keep your ego on the shelf and ask for it.
  7. DON’T take offense easily. You may just not understand the family dynamic
  8. DON’T criticize your partner’s family. Rather, ask for explanations of things you don’t understand

What usually causes a conflict between a young makoti and her in-laws? 

Conflicts with in-laws are a common issue. They arise out of differences in personalities, perspectives and expectations that both you and your in-laws have, as well as different life stages and experiences. Having conflicts is not necessarily bad but the inability to manage them is. 

There are five common reasons for conflict between in-laws:


Preferences in parenting and upbringing styles in relation to developmental needs, disciplinary methods, as well as what works and what does not may be viewed differently by both you and your in-laws.

Differences in perspectives 

Your views on certain issues may differ vastly from that of your in-laws due to the different life stages and the different experiences that both of you have gone through. For example, you and your spouse may feel that absolute candor and voicing out your disagreements on a regular basis helps with open communication and is a way to strengthen your marriage. However, your in-laws may disagree and encourage both of you to give in to each other to avoid any arguments which may harm your marriage in the long run.

Level of connectedness of family of origin  

People from families that are more connected and close-kit tend to value family routines which allow them to spend time and do things together. For example, your in-laws may enjoy speaking to you and your spouse over the phone every other day and insist on family dinners every weekend to spend time together as a family. On the other hand, people from families which aren’t as close-knit may observe more flexibility when it comes to family gatherings or spending time together.  Depending on your personal preference, you may find such practices and demands excessive. The difference in what is valued and emphasized in different families may give rise to conflicts.

The mother in law who does not want to be in a peripheral role often behaves in ways that are meddling, intrusive, and controlling to the daughter-in-law and her son’s marriage. This can result in a real power struggle and tug of war between Mother in law and Daughter in law.

Marrying a breadwinner – can this raise any conflict with the in-laws? 

It is important to have open discussions about money when you are married to avoid conflict. Have a conversation with your spouse This is a conversation you and your partner should have early in your marriage. Let them know why it is important for you to make a contribution to your family and show your spouse how it’s not going to affect the budget. Also discuss the percentage of salary that you want to allocate. If your spouse expresses resentment or opposes the decision, try to compromise on the extent of financial support and allay the partner’s fears about it impacting your finances or goals

What are the biggest mistakes young makotis make when dealing with their in-laws? 

  1. Being too thin-skinned
  2. Letting things slide at the start
  3. Taking a confrontational stand too quickly
  4. Expecting equal treatment as the son 
  5. Not showing respect to her in laws.
  6. Criticizing her husband family 
  7. Take offense easily.
  8. Not controlling her tongue
  9. Not setting Boundaries

Why is it important to resolve your conflict with your in-laws?

Conflict resolution in relationships is key to lasting and meaningful bonds. Friction and arguments can be uncomfortable, but they don’t have to last indefinitely. Developing specific conflict resolution strategies can help turn disagreements with your in laws into growth opportunities for both

What would you say are some of the steps you can take to resolve the conflict? 

  1. It’s not about winning or being right

The primary reason for a conflict is when either of the parties is trying to win an argument or trying to be right. It is true that one must say what’s right, but sometimes it is necessary to let go off things.When you’re involved in an argument, you’ve to take a call which is important for you – winning an argument and proving your point right or the relationship with the other person.If you think losing this battle will help you maintain a healthy relationship with the other person, then accept the defeat.After all, it’s not always about proving one’s point.

  1. Maintain calmness

The one thing that’s difficult to maintain in an argument is calmness. But, it is an avoidable conflict resolution technique. It is obvious that when you’re in a conflict with someone, you will lose your mind and will end up saying or doing things that you never wanted to do. So, no matter what, don’t lose your calmness. It will help you think rationally and will stop you from saying or doing things that you would regret eventually.

  1. Perspective

Often, when we get into a conflict, we start blaming the person. We start attacking them personally and the actual cause of the conflict is set aside. This is usual but wrong. So, when you’re involved in an argument or in a conflict, don’t blame the person, instead, look for the root cause of it. You must focus on the main reason for the conflict rather than simply blame the person for it. After all, blaming won’t help, solving a problem surely would.

4. Listen to understand not to respond

This is one of the common mistakes one makes and hence it is one of the important conflict resolution techniques. Mostly, when you’re in an argument, we listen to respond and not to understand. Our reflex at that point is to simply respond to the person rather than to understand what point they’re trying to make. The moment we will start listening to understand, things will be easy for us. We would start looking at their perspective and will be able to address them easily.

Where can people get hold of your book?

People can get hold of the book by sending email to 

Thembi Monametsi is the author of the book, Makoti & The In-laws – Love, conflict, forgiveness, and self-control 

Instagram: @thembi_monametsi 

Facebook: Thembi Monametsi.

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