“I don’t like what my mother-in-law says in front of the kids. What should I do?”

What do you do when your mother -in -law lives with you, but is exposing your kids to ideas and
beliefs that do not jive with you? That is today's question on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint.
I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I help kids, teens, and families live happier
lives. I run two organizations, the group Private Practice Teen Therapy Center, and also the
nonprofit organization, Child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California.
Every Wednesday at noon, I join you on Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions. Let's
jump into today. My mother -in -law has been staying with us during quarantine. She grew up in
the 40s and still holds many views my husband and I do not agree with. The longer she is here, the
more I worry that our kids, all middle schoolers, will parrot her beliefs. I want to call her
out, but she's also my mother -in -law, so I don't want to create a rift in the family. Is it appropriate
to pull my kids aside and just

talk to them about her? Well, there's a lot of families going through this, especially during
quarantine. First and foremost, I encourage you to talk to your husband. It's his mom. He's
known her his whole life. He's known how to deal with her his whole life. Make sure the two of you,
you and your husband, are on the same page. If you start calling mother -in -law out or saying
things that mother -in -law takes the wrong way, now husband is caught between my wife and my
mom and I wasn't prepared for this and I don't know what to do. Make sure that you two are talking
so you guys are handling this the same way. You guys are doing the same way possible. Whether
you guys feel it's best to sit mother -in -law aside and say hey grandma we love you but we're trying
to teach our kids this. We appreciate you don't talk about that. That's one thing. Of course
mother -in -law may say I'm gonna say what I want to say. I'm 75 years old and I can do what I want.
Well you're not to stop her. It's harder

to stop old people from doing anything if they don't want to do it. So, you know, you just have
to live with that. So, in that case, you probably need to realize that your middle school kids
or high school kids or adult kids are all going to be exposed to ideas and thoughts and beliefs
that don't jive with you anyway. In fact, the older your kids get, they're going to have differing
opinions. They're going to have different political beliefs, different religious beliefs,
different social beliefs. That is common. That happens in our society. Very few of us have the
exact same opinions that our parents have. And very few of our kids will have the exact same opinions
that we have. But there may be some crossover, right? So I think the more you shine a light on these
ideas and let your kids be exposed to them, but then talk to them later. Say, hey, grandma was
saying this. What do you think about what she said? How does that make you feel? Does that make
you feel good thinking this way? Are

there other alternative ways to approach this? You know, expose them to other ideas and And
letting them have a choice. I think the more agency they have, the more they can have critical
thinking about what their beliefs are, the stronger their beliefs will be instead of just following
blindly whatever grandma says or what you say or what someone else says. It's important to hear
many beliefs, even ones that you disagree. And I think middle schoolers are able to start hearing
some of those things. Now, do you need to protect some kids because their maturity level's not
there yet? Maybe. You know, you gotta decide for each child what their maturity level is. and
how to approach these things. And I think the more thoughtful and engaging you are in that conversation,
the better. There are books out there about almost every topic, race, religion, politics,
you know, et cetera, that you can find at your child's age appropriate level. You guys sit, talk,
read about, have conversations. Because

if you have this, if you nurture a safe place to have disagreements in your family, Thanksgiving's
gonna be a lot nicer in the future. Because, you know, imagine, if you will, a family with Democrats
and Republicans, easy example to use, sitting together and enjoying a meal and talking politics
and not getting angry and understanding the other person's point of view, but still respectfully
disagreeing. We don't want your family to look like what Facebook looks like. You know, when
people start ranting and saying, if you don't believe what I say, you're bad. Well, there's
a lot of ways to believe things, right? So I think it's important to have debate, have talk, make
sure that everyone is able to be heard, because your kids are eventually going to disagree with
you and when they disagree with you it's important that you guys are able to maintain a healthy
relationship just like it's important to have a healthy relationship with grandma even if
she's got some cuckoo ideas. Anyways, that's

our question for this week. Thank you for tuning in. Thank you for emailing us your questions.
Keep them coming. Again, our email address for new questions is tipsonteens at teentherapycenter
.com or you can direct messages right here on Facebook. We love hearing from you, and we'll see
you next Wednesday at noon. Bye -bye.

No one wants conflict within the family—especially when you are all living under one roof. So what do you do when there’s a disagreement between family members? This week’s Tips On Teens question comes from a parent who wants to talk to their mother-in-law about problematic behaviors, but isn’t sure how to:

“My mother-in-law has been staying with us during quarantine. She grew up in the 40s, and still holds many views my husband and I do not agree with. The longer she is here, the more I worry that our kids (all middle schoolers) will parrot her beliefs. I want to call her out, but she’s also my mother-in-law, so I don’t want to create a rift in the family. Is it appropriate to pull my kids aside and just talk to them about her?”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.