THE BLOG
07/06/2011 02:25 pm ET Updated Sep 05, 2011

When Are Mother-in Laws Going to Learn?

Explain to me why women who think they are so smart demonstrate such limited insight when they are hurtful to their daughter-in-laws or future daughter-in-laws? It boggles the mind to think a mom can be so short-sighted and selfish.

A nasty email has gone viral showing the future mother-in-law chastising the fiancé about her bad manners and rude behavior. Has the mother-in-law looked in the mirror lately? Does she not think it rude that she would judge, criticize, and arrogantly put her son's fiancé in her place?

When a mother-in-law forces her son to choose between his fiancé or wife over his mother, she is always going to lose. She may succeed in chasing off the future spouse, but the resentment that will follow is monumental. In fact, some mother-son relationships never recover. What she doesn't really grasp is the degree with which she is hurting her son and questioning his judgment.

Mothers of adult children need to learn a very important rule: Keep your mouth shut! Treat your son with the respect he deserves and let him make his own decision about his future wife. Mothers may never understand why he has selected the woman he has and she will need to grieve it and get over it. He may have chosen his fiancé because she is the opposite of his mother or because his fiancé is a truly compatible fit. He may make a mistake with his choice or he may be making the best decision of his life; whatever it is, it is HIS decision!

Relationships are always more important than protocol. If handled well, this mother-in-law could have probably developed a relationship with her daughter-in-law that would have allowed her to mentor her in areas she may not have learned. Now this mother has ruined her chances of being a safe refuge for a young woman who would have loved her son well and cared for him deeply.

If an adult child asks the opinion of their parent, it is perfectly fine to share it, as long as it is given in honor and respect. If it can't be done with that type of heart, then go back to rule # 1: Keep your mouth shut!